Monday, November 28, 2011


Groupon (a blend of the words “group” and “coupon”) is a deal-of-the-day website featuring discounted vouchers or gift certificates redeemable at various merchants. The Groupon craze began in 2008 in the United States and hit the Philippines in late 2010. I guess it proved to be a success because a lot of similar websites mushroomed. The idea of a group coupon is that, the website offers products and services at insanely discounted prices (seriously, discounts could reach as high as 90% off!) called “deals” and promises the sellers a minimum number of buyers in return. The sites earn by getting a profit sharing with the supplier, depending on the amount of the deal.[1] Usually, the deals are offered for a limited time and sometimes, even for a limited number of buyers only. The deals offered range from vacation packages, home furnishings, restaurant buffets, gadgets, toys, food products, spa services, bags, shoes, language lessons, watches, Christmas lights and a whole gamut of other products and services. These deals are easily purchased via online credit card payment, PayPal and even over-the-counter bank deposits.

I’ve discovered groupons only early this year and since then, I have bought a lot of deals already: a professional haircut, buffet dinners at a famous hotel, a diaper bag for my baby, hotel accommodations, restaurant vouchers, a photo book, and a lot of other stuff given as gifts for friends and family. I was generally satisfied with all of my purchases -- all except with the item I recently bought: a 10-meter warm white LED Christmas lights set. (Yes, I know, why buy online when these items are all over department stores? My answer is: The price! It’s so cheap!). This recent purchase of mine came in a tattered box and there were no safety / quality testing seals on the product! I read in the news that the DTI requires all vendors of Christmas lights to affix the Import Commodity Clearance and Philippine Standards seals on such products to assure the buyers of their quality and safety. It may seem paranoid, but there’s no way I am using those Christmas lights. I wrote a complaint letter to the customer service department of the website I bought the item from and as of writing this post, I am still awaiting their reply.

Irked by my experience, I searched online for other ‘mishaps’ in buying from said groupon sites. I came across a blog entry which made me laugh (not because of the buyer’s plight but because of the very disturbing portrayal of a famous group of animated birds). See for yourself:

As advertised:

What the buyer got:

Caveat emptor, in a sense, I guess.

Agnes M. Santiago, Entry #1

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