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Sitting comfortably? Groupon advertises the wrong beanbag

Groupon website

We’ve been experiencing a mini Twitter storm all day after being alerted to a mis-advertised offer on Groupon. The product featured in the group buying site’s email this morning led us to an entirely different product.

This morning Lucy Marcus (@lucymarcus) alerted us to a Groupon offer for a ‘Fatboy Buggle Up beanbag’ on Twitter. She didn’t contact us because of its tasty 60% discount, she got in touch because the product on offer wasn’t the one advertised, making the new £89 price a little hard to swallow.

Clicking on the email deal would take you to Groupon’s website, where the product was named as a ‘BigDaddy beanbag’. The beanbags certainly looked similar, but as Lucy explained, it wasn’t made by Fatboy.

And Fatboy beanbags are apparently a much-coveted product, with over 500 snapped up over the course of just a few hours. However, Twitter user Julie Broadfoot (@juliebee) didn’t fall for the offer, telling us that ‘It’s definitely not the same product. I’ve wanted a Fatboy one for ages.’

Following a number of complaints, Groupon’s UK Twitter account quickly told us that ‘We can confirm this deal is legitimate’ and then followed up with the hollow tweet, ‘We will take your comments on board. Thanks.’

At last, Groupon removed the offer

The deal had been available for a good 10 hours by this point, and Groupon had failed to give us a definitive response as to whether the beanbag was a legitimate Fatboy or not, despite challenging them to do so. Thankfully, Fatboy, the manufacturer whose name had been used to advertise the incorrect product, responded:

‘We had nothing to do with the Groupon deal. Weren’t genuine Fatboy articles. So, at this point, Groupon has decided to withdraw the offer.’

That was certainly good news, until we found that the offer was still available to purchase through the email. It took Groupon until 3.30pm to remove it completely, despite the group buying site being aware of this issue for most of the day – allowing hundreds of customers to put up hard cash for it.

After contacting them over the phone (and being on hold for a good 10 minutes) Groupon’s customer service team confirmed that all customers who had purchased this beanbag would be given a full refund. It’s just a shame that it couldn’t let us know immediately through Twitter.

When our Money researcher Nick Frankcom wrote about group buying sites earlier this year, a small majority (38%) of you said that you didn’t use group buying sites. Perhaps it’s errors like these that have put you off. Have you ever suffered any issues with buying from Groupon or other group buying sites, or was their customer service up to scratch?

Comments

We purchased a pair of headphones as a gift for our daughter via a Groupon offer. Three weeks later, the headphones arrived. The next day we decided that they looked a bit crap and that they really wouldn’t be “cool” enough for her. I could find no information regarding what the Groupon returns policy was, so I emailed them. Almost a week later I got a reply from them stating:
“Unfortunately, after the 7 day cancellation period, we only issue refunds if there is a problem with the product or some other extenuating circumstance. I’m sorry to say on this occasion, this seems not to be the case therefore we are not obliged to give you a refund. Remember, you can still give this away as a gift if you decide it is something that you no longer would like to use.”

As I advised them by reply, I emailed them the day after the headphones were delivered and thought that this was in accordance with my rights under the distance selling regulations. I couldn’t reject them any earlier as I hadn’t yet had the chance to inspect them.

I then got a reply stating:

“Please note our 7 working day policy starts from the day after you receive your Groupon as per our terms and conditions stated on our website and allows customers to reconsider their purchase or request a refund. As you have redeemed your Groupon and received the goods (you have also confirmed the product is not faulty) we are unable to process a refund for you based on the reason your daughter was unsatisfied with the gift you purchased. You may wish to contact the supplier directly to see if you are able to come to an agreement regarding a replacement product.”

After waiting for Groupon to reply, it is now over 7 days since the headphones were delivered and I am not sure exactly where ones rights are in this situation.

I’ll certainly think twice before using Groupon again.

raymond says:
6 August 2011

on using my groupon voucher at an italian restaurant i was disappointed by the offhand manner of some of the staff. could it be that because my spend was so low the staff member was just not interested, anyway there was attitude as soon as i presented the voucher which was a pity for the restaurant ,because had this senior staff member been pleasant i would have purchased extras, has anyone else had this experience?

Teamforman says:
6 August 2011

I have been using Groupon for a while now, and would say that they are pretty fair overall. Only one deal we bought has gone wrong, and they notified us immediately and arranged a prompt refund. Of the rest of the deals we have signed up for, the goods / services have been exactly as described and very good value for money. It has also allowed me to try things I probably wouldn’t have done at full price. From what I see here, they got one deal wrong (mainly due to what seems to be misinformation) and they have had to withdraw and arrange refunds – they may have been a little slow to fully handle the situation, but be fair: they have offered refunds without a quibble.

Martin Blade says:
6 August 2011

Have to agree with you – “Which” are 100% correct as usual, Groupon should have pulled the product immediately, however – don’t you now think that because Which have highlighted this problem reference Groupon’s unacceptably slow response (i..e if I am left waiting for an eternity on an 0800 number then I don’t mind so much…………..but if it personally costs me to complain or stand up for my rights then I am annoyed before the Customer Representative answers my call if especially I don’t receive the response that I’d hoped for) that Groupon will have benefited for both themselves – but more importantly their Customers, i.e. we the Consumers, don’t forget that I’ve displayed on here today glowing feedback for Groupon by the way from my own personal experiences.

Martin Blade says:
6 August 2011

I am a “Groupon” addict for the Restaurant deals as I’m signed up to York, Leeds, Hull & Newcastle. Since 08/01/11 I have purchased 14 of these dining Vouchers (the latest expires in 01/12) & 6 of them I have used to date without any problems. You have to realise that you have to advance book your table by phoning the establishment – as stated on the voucher – (not as some individuals do, just turn up & expect to be allocated a table immediately) as the number of Groupon allocated tables per evening is naturally limited. If the Restaurant are part of “Tastecard” however your discount through Tastecard can be greater than the Groupon discount (especially if there are more than 2 of you dining). The Restaurant does not receive any monies from Groupon until they submit the Vouchers to Groupon whereby (an Indian we went to in York stated) they then receive £5 per voucher from Groupon. For my wife’s Birthday on 30/03/12 I’ve booked 1 nights accommodation for the 2 of us, includes 3 course Meal & a bottle of wine + full English Breakfast for £59 @ “The Sidings” within the York area through Groupon. To date I’ve had no reason to make contact with Groupon to complain so I can’t comment upon their Customer Service whenever a problem is realised.

Sue Reade says:
6 August 2011

I bought my son an hour’s lesson with a golf pro for when he retuned to the UK for my daughter’s wedding. He phoned and booked a lesson and completed it but the coach told him that his normal charges for an hours lesson are £30 but I paid £50.
This was at a golf course in south Manchester.

Colin says:
7 August 2011

Offer back on groupon Sun 7th, changed to big daddy in main text, but URL (website link) still has fatboy – bit misleading!

Tom says:
7 August 2011

I think Colin means the URL of the deal itself on the Groupon website (as sent out in the e-mails).

Leendert says:
8 August 2011

Hi all,

Check out the Smoothy de website (www.smoothy.de). It sells the exact same outdoor beanbag, but for only 117 pounds. So much for getting a fab discount of 60% on Bigdaddy beanbags!

Eddie says:
8 August 2011

I’ve been using Groupon for a long time. Most offers have been honoured with no problem and offered great value. On one occasion we did have trouble booking with a restaurant and when I complained to Groupon my money was refunded without a quibble. Another time I couldn’t use a voucher on a golf course because there were no available tee times and the voucher was due to expire. Again after a few email exchanges my money was refunded. As long as you pre book and don’t leave it too late you will benefit from great deals.

raymond says:
8 August 2011

hi already made comment

Nigel Chapman says:
8 August 2011

Nothing but praise for Groupon, Just came back from a family weekend in Cornwall for £19, Missus went to see Bon Jovi live for £25, Numerous other deals all honoured without issue, On one occasion that they couldn’t accomodate the dates I required and I was refunded quickly without fuss, Would highly recommend, (Which I often do as you get £6 to introduce a friend) Great stuff.

Janice, Motherwell says:
11 August 2011

Re Groupon, I have purchased many items through the Groupon sight and have never had any difficulties what-so-ever. I have also enjoyed many meal deals and again been very pleased with the offers. Only one thing, I would like to see more offers in the singular (i.e. meals for one). I have two friends and we often have to by two deals when there are only three of us. Still a good deal even if we don’t invite someone to take up the fourth place.

Hi,

So like all of us we bought the first option and were then disappointed. We then reordered still not really appreciating that what we had ordered wasn’t the cool Fat Boy we had seen elsewhere.

Anyway, over 4 weeks on, still no delivery. Has anybody on this forum actually received this FatBoyBigDaddyWhatever it is yet?

Cheers

Rod

Sophielondon says:
13 September 2011

I emailed ILocal on 30th Aug asking when I could expect delivery, They replied on 6th Sept and told me “Your item is being processed and is due to be shipped in the next 7 days. We will send you the tracking number as soon as it is shipped.”
On 8th Sept an email advised me that my order was being processed – but I don’t have a tracking number yet…
I will follow up with ILocal tomorrow. I placed my original order on 8th Aug so am hoping to receive it soon!
Interestingly the Ilocal website (for normal purchases) indicates shipping by courier within 2 days of order… Clearly Groupon are being treated to substandard service?

Received, if just a little late, and over the moon with the product. It would appear to have more adjustability than the ‘fatboy’ and have a similar high quality of finish.

All good for this warm September we are having ;0)

Sophielondon says:
8 October 2011

Unbelievably the item was finally delivered on October 4th – without the straps! I have communicated this to Ilocal who advise they’ve now despatched them separately. So it’s been over 2 months from order date but I still don’t have a completed order. To be honest I could not recommend Ilocal to anyone after this debarcle and am surprised to see GroupOn has run further offers with them…

Sophielondon says:
14 November 2011

OK – 5 (?) emails + 2 phone calls + complaint direct to GroupOn and I was told today that the blue straps are leaving customs today and will be with me by Friday – think this is a record for slow delivery as I’ve had the rest of the beanbag since 4/10…. I cannot recommend anyone to do business with ILOCAL as my experience has been utterly poor. The only thing I can say in their credit is that today they offered me a p&p refund as a gesture of goodwilll.

natalie says:
14 November 2011

I have had the exact same problem with ilocal, received the beanbag late with a strap missing, emailed numerous times to be told its on its way, then its awaiting stock, then its on its way again etc etc! This has gone on for 2 months now, eventually got in touch with groupon and they offered for me to return the item (which is more hassle than its worth due to the size and discarding the original box) and refund but I would rather have the strap! Groupon really should do more research into the companies they deal with, I have had some great deals and very few bad experiences with them but not happy with this one at all!

ruby2shoes says:
19 December 2011

What about the Infurn Bean Bag offer on Groupon? Anybody that purchased recieved this yet? Was quoted as 6 weeks delivery on Groupon – ordered at start of November thinking that gave 8 weeks ’til Christmas – now been told to expect delivery in the second week in January – nearly double time stated. No use as a Christmas present now.

Soos says:
13 January 2012

Hi Ruby2Shoes

I purchased 4 “BigBoy” Beanbags from Groupon at a cost of 156.00 plus a further 51.80 p&p to Infurn, orders confirmed 4 November for delivery in week 49…………delivery was put back to week 02 in Jan12 so following several emails I cancelled the order in week 49.

Guess what………..I’m still waiting for a refund from both Groupon and Infurn!!!!!!!!!!!! I have emailed and emailed as calling them is a complete waste of time, message only service and no-one calls you back – surprise surprise……………
Poor customer service from both parties, both blaming each other and both just need to face up to things when it goes wrong 🙁 so don’t expect your beanbag any time soon if this is anything to go by……………

I also purchased one, apparently in transit since 12th jan! DHL can’t investigate until infurn tell them to. Infurn are not responding to my emails, groupons are also not responding to my emails. Can’t I contact trading standards or something, I’ve been well and truly cheated. This was a Christmas gift for my girlfriend, maybe she’ll get it for next Christmas. Totally frustrated and gutted by all this.

Adey says:
18 March 2012

If you buy from these sites and get a poor deal its really your own fault… caveat emptor. No discount is ever really exclusive and if its heavily discounted its going to be for a restricted/poor quality/previous model… I bought some Japanese knives from KGB for £70. I would buy significantly better knives from a catering shop in central London for that price and just one medium sized knife by Global Knives would be significant better value. Whose fault? Mine. You pay peanuts…

Jemma says:
20 June 2012

I purchased the Groupon in November for a Big Boy beanbag. Delivery was confirmed before Christmas. When I didn’t receive my beanbag on the date they had said I was told that it had been pushed back to February. I was annoyed to say the least as it was a Christmas present. I waited and the beanbag didn’t arrive in February so I divided enough was enough and demanded a refund from Groupon. I got a refund from Groupon no problem but Infurn is a different story. They told me that it would take up to 30 days from I received my refund from Groupon. Again I waited and the 30 days passed and still no refund. I contacted Infurn again and got no reply so I went back to Groupon who gave me £12.95 in credit as a gesture of goodwill but I refuse to accept this and am still trying to get a refund for my postage from Infurn as the way I see it is I paid for delivery using my MONEY not Groupon credit.

Is anyone else out there still having problems getting a refund or have you just given up?

Jemma says:
21 June 2012

Hi Patrick,

By ticket reference number do you mean the code from the Groupon that I used to get the discount?

Jems