Last week I posed the question, “Is Groupon a Good Deal?”, in which I found that all these deal sites (Groupon, LivingSocial, etc), weren’t necessarily offering good deals at all. A few days later I went on to post a raving review of the NYC Chocolate Tour, which I bought through Groupon. So which is it? Groupon good or Groupon not so good.
The answer is… it depends. So how can you be sure you’re getting a GOOD deal?
1. Read the Fine Print.
Every deal or coupon from every site is accompanied by a paragraph (or two) of fine print. Read it carefully and make sure the restrictions won’t restrict your ability to use the deal.
For example, you may be restricted to using your coupon on a specific date. If you’re going to be out of town or have a prior commitment on that date, the deal isn’t going to do you much good.
The restrictions may also affect your experience. For example, many of the restaurant deals will only allow you to order from a limited menu. $40 for dinner for two at the swankiest place in town may sound like a steal, but not if the “Groupon menu” only offers pasta with garlic and olive oil.
2. Research the Business.
I ALWAYS google or yelp the business offering the deal. You’d be amazed at how many of these places have terrible reviews (I’ve noticed this particularly with massages and spas).
By looking up the business ahead of time, you’ll also find out what they regularly charge for the service you are considering purchasing. Perhaps they offer their own discount that works out to be less than the Groupon price.
3. Call the Business.
You don’t want to purchase a Groupon for a service that expires in three months then find out there are no available openings or appointments before that time. Some businesses over extend themselves when offering these deals. They book up and suddenly you’re stuck with an expired deal through no fault of your own. I like to call the business BEFORE I purchase the Groupon to make sure I’ll be able to use the deal.
While I’m on the phone, I may mention I’m considering purchasing their Groupon. The business will often allow me to book directly through them for the Groupon price or … they might offer me a better deal!
Remember, when you purchase through Groupon the business only gets HALF of the already discounted deal price while Groupon collects the other half. You can use this knowledge to negotiate an even better deal.