Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Customer Service

I am a little obsessed with daily deals.  I don't necessarily buy them all the time, but I love to get them in my inbox every morning and then check out the other ones nearby.  We've bought a fair number of vouchers when they are relevant to us and have had a lot of positive experiences so far.  For example, we have gotten discounts on local restaurants and services, including cupcakes! and never had an issue.  This week, though, I've had reason to call customer service for 2 daily deal websites, so here are my thoughts.

Groupon:  The first deal site I signed up for, and probably the first one you did too.  One of the best deals they ever offered was $25 for $50 to The Gap last fall.  I bought 3 deals and used 2 of them, but didn't keep track of which ID numbers had been used.  Since I have an 8 month old and the days of just quickly running to the mall are long gone, I ended up letting the 3rd deal expire sadly.  But, you can take the expired deal to any store and get a gift card for $25, so I didn't really lose anything.  Which deal to present at the counter is now the question and rather than look like an idiot by handing the cashier 3 pieces of paper, I wanted to figure out which one was correct.  I called Groupon's toll-free number and got to an agent very quickly with their user-friendly menu of options.  He told me that the vendor actually keeps track of the used ID numbers and said I'd need to call The Gap.  He was very pleasant and apologetic that he couldn't help me himself.  I called The Gap, was taken care of quickly and figured out which voucher had not been used.  The following weekend, I redeemed my voucher for the gift card, as listed in the fine print, and went on my merry way.  Painless and pleasant.  10/10.

Living Social:  My dad generously bought us a photography package a couple of months ago and we contacted the photog a month or so before the deal expired.  She was a pain and a half to get a hold of and was very vague when I asked about times and locations.  We came to the week before our agreed upon date and she had not let us know a time or where to meet her, even though I emailed her a week ahead of time, and I was getting really frustrated.  Again, having a baby makes planning a necessity.  I looked at her reviews on and they were terrible, with many citing poor scheduling communication, which just confirmed my suspicions.  So I called Living Social and they were very nice on the phone and said that the account holder would have to call, but that they could issue a credit, not a refund, since the deal had expired.  My dad called and had this done very quickly.  Then I emailed the photog and told her we would not need her services and lo and behold, she emails an hour later, apologizes and said she's still available if we want to shoot.  Uh, no, but good try.  10/10 for Living Social, 0/10 for the photog who shall remain nameless.

I will continue to buy deals from these sites when they are relevant and am happy to know that concerns get cleared up easily.

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