The truth about Groupon
Group buying websites promise to save you money, but do they really work or will you just end up spending more money on something you wouldn't have bought in the first place? Rebecca Rutt investigates.
Group buying websites are becoming more and more popular but be wary – some of the deals are definitely too good to be true.
I've experienced this first hand.
On Groupon a £2.50 plant caught my eye, and worrying about losing out I bought one straightaway. In the rush I didn't notice the £5 delivery charge, and when it arrived it looked nothing like the photo.
I'm not the only one with a bad experience and there have been so many complaints that Groupon is now under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading for unclear advertising. The truth is these sites only work if you buy something you already wanted and as most of these deals are for luxury items – like holidays or meals out – they're not really saving you money but just tempting you to buy things you don't need.
If you use them, watch out for exclusions and read the small print – for example, don't assume you can book a fancy restaurant for your birthday just because you bought the deal. And be wary of buying anything too intrusive, such as teeth whitening or botox, and check out the company that offers the deal first as the quality may not be up to scratch.
Group buying websites can save you money if it is used properly but on the whole the exclusions and small print mean they will end up costing you more.