Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Used to Love Groupon

I've purchased a number of Groupons proper -- essentially discount certificates for restaurants, attractions, events, etc. -- without incident. The Groupons always worked and I was always satisfied.

Memory dims over time, but I'm pretty sure I've ordered a thing or three from "Groupon Goods" over the years. These are actual physical objects, offered for a nice price and shipped direct. I don't go to the site to shop on my own -- normally my first online stop for things I want is eBay, followed by Amazon for some things, NewEgg for others, etc.) -- but if I see something "on special" via email and it's something I want, I'll click thru.

So this morning I got the second or third in a series of Groupon emails:


I clicked thru, and among the things advertised on the landing page were "Groupon Goods" type physical things (clothing, jewelry, electronics, etc.).

There's something I've been planning to buy for Tamara -- she's been wanting a "fitness tracker" bracelet for some time now -- so I searched on the term "fitness tracker," selected one for $16.99, clicked "buy," entered the coupon code ...

"Sorry, this coupon cannot be applied, check the code rules." There's no link from the email to any "code rules."

So I think to myself, maybe this deal is for a limited set of things. Instead of searching, I'll go back to the email, click through to the landing page, and click on the links Groupon actually shows me to see if those things include any fitness trackers.

So I end up at a fitness tracker that way, and the good news is it includes the same desired features AND is $10 cheaper -- just $6.99. Which, with $10 off, no minimum, sounds like "free." Heck, I might just buy two, that would be only four bucks out of pocket, right?

Except that there's no way to tell it I want two. Click "buy" and it goes straight to payment.

And except that, again, "Sorry, this coupon cannot be applied, check the code rules."

And except that it's $6.99 + $5.95 shipping, so now we're talking $12.94.

But what the hey. I have been meaning to buy something like this for someone I care about, and $13 is a very nice price for a bluetooth fitness tracker that includes sleep analysis and such. Click. Buy. Done.

Oh, except during the payment phase, it keeps insisting that my address isn't one they can ship to. Turns out their "cartographer" thinks my street address ends in "Lanes" rather than "Lane."

And except when the receipt email arrives it turns out that there's $1.29  in sales tax that wasn't mentioned on the payment screen. So now it's $14.23. Which is still a pretty good price.

But it's also the sixth ass-chapping little problem in a single transaction. First the code doesn't work for what I select. Then I go back and jump through hoops to find something the code works on and it still doesn't. Then it won't let me buy two of something I'm willing to pay full price for. Then it wants nearly six bucks in shipping on a seven dollar purchase that couldn't possible cost more than one dollar to ship. Then it basically tells me that I don't know my own address and it does. Then it charges me an extra $1.29 without telling me first.

I'm guessing I won't be clicking on extra-super-special Groupon deal emails in the future. Even writing off all the ADDITIONAL problems, the FIRST problem made the price of my purchase $10 more than it was advertised as.

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