Group Discount Sites, Are They Worth It?

July 16, 2023


Image: Duane Brown

Group discount sites such as Groupon, Groupola and Living Social have become increasingly popular to many in recent months with thousands taking advantage of daily deals to try out something new or save money on luxuries such as spa days and holidays abroad.  However with increasing popularity comes an increase in bad press.  With many making claims of bad service, scam deals and lost money, the question is are these just an unlucky few or are daily discount deals too good to be true?

The basic model of Group Discount sites is simple, via the site Businesses can offer aggressive discount vouchers to customers, only available online for a limited time customers can purchase the vouchers from the website and then redeem them with the participating business within a given time scale.  These offers can only become available to the customer if enough people choose to take up the deal otherwise payment is not taken and the vouchers are not available for use.  Similarly problems arise if too many people purchase a voucher, with many of the businesses participating being small or start up there is often too much demand for an offer for the scale of the company to cope with.

The benefits and subsequently the draw of sites like these are that they allow people to indulge in luxuries that they may otherwise not be able to afford.  With many of the deals available slashing up to 50% and sometimes more from the cost of their services and products, who can resist for example a spa day for only £20 or a holiday in the sun for half price.  It is also a great way for people to try something new without having to spend a fortune doing so and if they don’t like what they’ve tried they can at least take comfort in knowing they haven’t paid full price.

The problems arise however when you have bought your voucher and try to redeem it.  In most cases it is as simple as phoning the company involved to book an appointment or going along to the restaurant or store with your voucher in hand.  However it is understandably disappointing when the situation arises that you are unable to redeem your voucher.  Reasons for this have ranged from there being no appointments available within the time scale of the voucher, there being no Steak left in the restaurant offering 2for1 steak dinners and in some cases the company offering the voucher just doesn’t exist.  In the majority of these cases people are offered a refund or credit for a further voucher.  So is it all worth it?  There are many who swear buy their chosen discount site but there seem to be an increasing number who vow never again to be taken in by a deal which is just too good to be true!

It seems to be the case that the benefit comes to those who use these sites with caution.  It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of amazing deals and to snap up an offer without thinking it through because if you don’t buy it now it might be gone, but here in lies the problem.  My advice to anyone interested in using a group discount site would be to take the time to check out the company and the deal.  If you look up the business and it’s a small salon and on further inspection the deal has already been bought buy 500 hundred people, the chances are you won’t get an appointment.  Similarly those who have been caught out by non existent companies have often not taken the time to check out the company before clicking the BUY NOW button.  Essentially, a good rule of thumb for this sort of site is not to buy anything just for the sake of getting a good deal, if you wouldn’t normally buy something then don’t.  Impulse buying is what causes the high volume of demand for these deals, if people were to show more constraint, only buying vouchers for things the have a genuine need or interest in, when taking up these deals the chances are there wouldn’t be thousands of people all trying to grab the same deal.  There is also less chance you’ll be left disappointed and feeling stupid because you didn’t really want the item/service any way.

Do you have a Group Discount horror story? Tell us about it in the comments section below!



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