Buyer Beware: That Groupon Deal Might Not Actually Exist

Hello Lovelies,

I wanted to write this post for you all today because I have seen a number of incidences of Groupon spa days and experiences trips which later failed to materalise into anything even remotely close to the offer that was promised.

Everyone loves a good deal, and so many of us take to hunting for good deals on Ebay, scouring Amazon on Black Friday or browsing Groupon in the quest for a bargain outfit or an affordable dinner for two. Unfortunately, if the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that you might not get what you bargained for. From my own experiences, these are four stories of Groupon purchases that ended up being not quite such a good deal:

The Forgotten About Father

A few years ago, my husband and I arranged for my father-in-law to go on a photography tour around Bristol. The tour guide is provided, you just turn up with your camera, walk, learn and take pictures. We read the small print through carefully and, when we were given dates for this tour, we picked one that would best suit my husband’s father. When he got into town, he was the only person there. Even after waiting around for an hour, the tour guide failed to appear. We were later told by y father-in-law that the tour had been cancelled early because of a lack of numbers. He did not specify as to whether he was given a different date.

Thomas The (Diesel) Engine

Father’s Day again, and this time we decided to sent my husband’s father on a carefully thought-out steam train trip with his beloved fish and chips for dinner. The ticket was booked and again, my father-in-law turned up fine. However, on this occasion, the train that was pulling the passenger cars wasn’t a steam train at all, but a diesel locomotive. The ride wasn’t a trip through rolling scenery but a ride to the end of a stretch of track and back and the fish and chips were provided by a local takeaway. When we called for an explanation, we were told that as my father-in-law had eaten the food and ridden the ride in full then we weren’t entitled to a refund!

Our Dinner Date Disaster

Wolfie and I spotted a 2-for-1 on 2-course meal’s at the popular Bella Italia so, being lovers of Italian cuisine, we decided to spoil ourselves to dinner. Having eaten our meals and dessert, we presented what we thought were redeemable vouchers, only to be told that the offer expired two weeks ago and Groupon obviously hadn’t updated the offer. The barlady spoke to the manager and they gave us 2-for-1 on our desserts as a gesture of goodwill, but our affordable dinner date ended up being a little less affordable!

Photo by Alesia Talkachova on

The Missing Massage

The most recent story happened only two weeks ago when my mother’s lodger presented her with her Christmas present; a booking for an hour long massage which he had ordered through Groupon. When she attended yesterday. the parlour had no record of the booking for her massage and offered a half-hour session instead. My mother declined, and her lodger is now pursuing a refund from Groupon.

It’s always worth reading the small print on these deals, and nearly always there is some sort of catch (like having to go for dinner at 5pm on a day that your husband isn’t working, for example) that makes the deal not quite what you had first envisioned. With that in mind, here are some other things that you may want to consider prior to checking out:

  • Call up and check – It’s always worth calling up to check that the deal is currently on offer. At best, you can ask for their name and quote the assistant as confirmation, and at worst, it saves you money and the embarrassment of a gift that goes wrong.
  • Research the venue – Sometimes, if you read reviews, you can find mentions of Groupon deals that have or have not been adhered to. Most customers will be happy to brag about what a nice time they had and how much money they saved, or how disappinted they were if their voucher was refused. Used their experiences prior to coughing up the cash to help you avoid any disappointment.
  • Check their offers instead – Okay, so 10% off of dinner with a loyalty card isn’t the same as 2-for-1, but sometimes even a modest saving is better than shame and embarrassment, right? Sometimes, we have to suck up and accept that if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

I’m not saying that all of Groupon is bad and generally their products seem to be much better than their experience days. I for one order a Vax floor cleaner through Groupon which turned up within a week. It seems that if it’s a physical item which you can have delivered then you should encounter little dificulty, but if it’s a purchasable service then you have little hope of getting what you ordered.

Have you ever booked an experience day or a pamper session through Groupon? How did it go? I’d be interested to hear your stories in the comments.

Thankyou for reading!

Helen xx

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