Buyer Beware: Advice For Daily Deal Buyers to Ensure Your Daily Deal Makes Your Day

The Commerce Commission has just reported that the number of complaints they receive about Daily Deal sites has gone done from 22.5 per month in early 2011 to 10 per month near the end of the year.

I have also noticed a decrease in complaints posted to www.LoveOneDaySales.co.nz.

No-one wants a deal to go bad. Here’s 5 things you can do to ensure your daily deal makes your day (rather than turning it into a bad day):

  1. Read the whole deal (not just the headline and price), including the small print and conditions. Unpleasant surprises after purchase include:
    • Freight is $50 when you were expecting $5!
    • Delivery time is 3 weeks when you were expecting overnight!
    • Your restaurant voucher is not valid on the weekends!
  2. If it’s a product, check the retail price at other online stores
    • Is the daily deal site inflating the normal retail price to make their deals look better?
  3. Be aware of the psychological techniques they are using to get you to buy:
    • A countdown timer and stock level meter to create a sense of scarcity and immediacy
    • Huge discount percentage created by the discounted price and an inflated normal retail price
  4. Look for a discussion about the deal (either on the deal site itself, or on their Facebook page), read those comments first
    • Others might have spotted a potential problem that you might of missed
  5. If you purchased an experience, make your booking immediately (the same day, or, even better, within an hour)
    • You’ll beat the rush and you’ll get a time that suits you
    • You’ll minimise the chance of forgetting and wasting the voucher when it expires

What Can You Do When The Deal Goes Bad?

  1. Locate their customer support system on their website
    • Usually this is an email form
    • or a “support ticket” system
    • or sometimes just an email address
    • If you are really lucky they’ll be a phone number (this is rare)
  2. Describe your problem and ensure you include any reference numbers, receipt numbers, date and time etc so it’s easy for them to find your purchase
  3. Include what you want to happen next Eg a replacement? a different item? a refund?
  4. Include your expectation of when you would like a result Eg “Please provide a replacement product by Friday the 20th of Jan”
  5. If you don’t hear from them, or the date you set for them passes, fill in the contact form again
  6. If that doesn’t work, let me know via this website and I’ll see what I can do
  7. You can also contact the Commerce Commission and make a formal complaint

What Else?

What advice do you have to other consumers?

What has caught you out in the past?

Tell your story in the comments below.