What to watch out for with group-buying websites

When is the deal available?

Most deals usually have a six-month (or sometimes shorter) lifespan and they aren’t guaranteed for a set day, so it’s not recommended if you’re looking for a voucher for a specific date. And if it’s a popular deal, it will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you’re worried about when to book, it may be worth calling the company that is offering the deal to ask what the likelihood of booking on a specific date will be, before you actually pay.

As companies can limit the number of vouchers sold, you should never be in a position where you can’t use the voucher before the expiry date.

Read Nathalie Bonney's blog: The perils of Groupon

Is the company any good?

Beauty deals, such as teeth whitening, are common on these websites, but if you’re thinking about purchasing something like this it’s worth remembering that a company that offers huge discounts may not necessarily provide the level of quality needed.

So before you buy a deal, make sure you do some research on the company. User reviews online should give you a good starting point.

How can i get my money back?

If you buy a deal and it’s not what was advertised, you should contact the group-buying website directly and it should then offer you a refund.

As you’re buying goods or services online, you’re also covered by distance selling regulations, so you’re entitled to a ‘cooling-off’ period, which is seven days, during which you can cancel your order and get a refund if you change your mind.

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I and my husband have fallen victims of Groupon offers. My husband paid for a days canoeing with instruction along the river Wye. When he phoned and booked up, he was informed that it was infact just half a day. I paid for a highly professional hair cut and conditioning treatment to the alleged value of £80. Immediately he finished applying the so called conditioning treatment, he then rinsed it off. My hair felt no different after such 'treatment'. Even your standard hair conditioner remains on your hair a couple of minutes. I was most dissapointed and too upset at the time to say anything. And to think it took me 50 minutes to travel to them. Never again!