Groupon vs. Businesses Vs. the customer – Round 1

So, Groupon and the InterContinental Spa seem to have pissed off a load of people with their latest deal. Maybe not a significant percentage of the 2,000+ purchasers of the deal, but enough.

Here is the deal:

http://www.groupon.com/deals/the-i-spa

And here is a screenshot of the Spa’s website (in case they change it – which I hope they do)

Services offered at the Intercontinental Spa

Services offered at the Intercontinental Spa

As you can see, there are a number of things listed under “Services”.

A groupon, according to their website, Universal Fine Print, and FAQ’s

  • Is valid for *any* services at the establishment, unless specified otherwise in the deal or the fine print on the groupon
  • does not include  “Taxes, tip or gratuity”. We get that.

My girlfriend bought one of these with her friend to go celebrate her birthday. When she called the spa, she got told completely the opposite:

  1. She could only use the groupon for herself, and could not use the value of the groupon on services for multiple people (this is not stated in the deal, or on the groupon site)
  2. It is only valid for a few of the services listed on the website. Not all of them. Anything listed under “packages” is not eligible for the groupon as the spa considers those “discounts”. Well, they aren’t listed on the website as other ‘deals’ or ‘specials’ but listed as regular services. This would be like receiving a coupon for buy one meal, get one free at a restaurant, and they told you that it’s not valid for a full meal, but only for appetizers, and the 2 meals have to be eaten by the same person in one sitting.

So apparently the spa does not understand that when a user pre-pays for these services from them, they are entering into a contract with the customer to provide a certain value of services for a pre-set price. The only stipulations or restrictions that are valid on the deal are those stated in writing on the coupon. They are not allowed to further restrict the use of the coupon after-the-fact and without specifying such stipulations therein.

Here is the thread – It is a good read, and an example for how businesses should NOT respond to their customers in a public forum.

http://www.groupon.com/community/discussion/20541/topics/43746?forum_id=20541&page=5

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