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groupon Complaint - Unreasonable Hassle Out of a Simple Request
groupon Complaint

groupon Complaint

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Unreasonable Hassle Out of a Simple Request


I own a music lesson business. We provide lessons in a studio, in students' homes, and online. I started two deals with Groupon hoping to get more clients. Most of them did not come from Groupon, but ten of them did, and I had no room to accept more, after the promotion had been running for over a year.

Groupon merchant accounts give you zero control over your own account. You can't edit a deal after you post it, and you can't change your email address or other contact info. If any of that needs to be done, you have to contact Groupon. The Groupon website gives an email address to cancel deals. There is a phone number, but that is given for "pausing" deals, which is apparently a different process. So, I sent the following email to Groupon, personal and proprietary information redacted.

"Hello!

My name is [My Name]. I am the owner of [My Company], and I have two deals currently running on Groupon. The email address from which I am sending this is not the email address I used to open my account. This is the login information for my account, to confirm:

Username: [Username]
Password: [Password]

That email address no longer exists, but I could not seem to change it. I hope the fact that the domain for this email matches the domain for the website and the name of the company in addition to the fact that I have the username and password will stand as reasonable proof that I am, in fact, the owner and therefore authorized to make this decision.

[Link for first groupon]
[Link for second groupon]

I plan to replace them with new deals to try to promote other services in the near future, but I would like to cancel these deals because I am almost out of space for more clients, and I do not want to take the risk of a Groupon being sold and not being able to honor it.

Thank you."

I consider that to be a very polite and reasonable request, given the frustration I had already experienced. Note, that email was sent on October 19. I received this response the same day.

"Hi [My Name],

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, any request to pause your deal must be handled through a phone conversation, if you would like to discuss this further you can reach out to our Merchant Support Team who would be happy to discuss this with you.

They can be reached at (866)956-1276 Monday through Friday 8am-7pm CST

Regards,

[First Employee's Name]
Groupon Merchant Services"

Notice that this email references pausing a deal, which is not what I requested and, according to the Groupon website, is not the same as cancelling a deal. Also, notice that "your deal" is now singular, not plural. I work irregular hours, and there is no physical phone in my studio, so that it will not ring and disturb lessons. This makes phone calls very difficult for me, and email is therefore my preferred form of contact. I got extremely irritated when I was provided with one form of contact only to be told to use a different one, for something other than what I had initially requested. This was my response, also sent on October 19.

"Ok. Well, calling is not convenient for me, but I will see what I can manage to fit into my schedule. You have also been running this campaign for much longer than what I understood you would when I agreed to it. Do you realize that your website actually states to email support with requests to cancel and does not give a phone number, at least on the page where I found that information? Also, there is actually nothing I can tell you by phone that I cannot tell you by email, so I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind such a requirement. Thanks, anyway."

I received this response two hours later:

"Hi [My Name],

Thank you for your email.

We do understand your concern. But please be informed that any request to pause your deal must be handled through a phone conversation, if you would like to discuss this further you can reach out to our Merchant Support Team who would be happy to discuss this with you.

They can be reached at (866)956-1276 Monday through Friday 8am-7pm CST

Regards,

[First Employee's Name]
Groupon Merchant Services"

I had tried to correct "pause" to "cancel," but this employee still seems to be oblivious. I responded again, in an attempt to clarify. I went to the singular form myself, picking my battles and I figuring that was one I could correct later if I ever got passed to a supervisor (which never happened).

"I do not think you understand. I never said anything about pausing a deal. I want to cancel the deal. I do not wish to resume this specific deal at any point in the future. I want to kill it because what I was trying to accomplish by running that deal has been accomplished, in spite of the majority having be accomplished through other sources of marketing, so I no longer have need of it, and continuing to run it is hurting my company. I want it to be canceled because I want it to go away, forever. I do not know how I can be more clear about that.

This is a direct quote from your website:

'If you would like to cancel your deal, please contact Groupon Merchant Support at merchantsupport@groupon.com to discuss cancelling the promotion.'

That is what I want to do. I want to cancel this deal, so I contacted Groupon Merchant Support at merchantsupport@groupon.com to discuss cancelling the promotion. Now you are directing me somewhere else and refusing to discuss it further.

This is the link where I found this quote:
https://merchants.groupon.com/#faq/question/optimisingCampaign-3

A screenshot of the page is also attached. There is no reference to a phone number in order to cancel a deal. It is just an email address, and that is the email address I used.

So what you are informing me is that your website is incorrect? Because if that is so, you should correct it, and meanwhile if your policies conflict with the website, you should honor what the website states. I did what I was told. You have an obligation to honor your end of the bargain.

Calling is not convenient because geography separates me from my office phone during your limited business hours. I want you to cancel the deal, and if you don’t comply, then when I do alter my schedule and hurt my business further in order to call you, I will be cancelling my account. I might just do that, anyway, since you have already failed to honor what your website states and made this excessively difficult."

I received no response to that email, and nothing was done to cancel those deals. On November 5, after confirming that the deals were still running and that Groupon is a BBB accredited business (with an A+ rating, by the way), I sent this email:

"I have not received any response from my previous attempts to cancel the deals I have with Groupon, except for one that insisted I was supposed to call if I wanted to “pause” my deals, during limited hours that conflict with my appointments with clients. I do not wish to “pause” these deals. I want to cancel them, and your website clearly states that I can cancel them by emailing this address. This is the quote from your website:

"If you would like to cancel your deal, please contact Groupon Merchant Support at merchantsupport@groupon.com to discuss cancelling the promotion.”

When I pointed that out previously, I received no response. I do not appreciate being ignored, nor do I appreciate being told to use one form of contact only to be told I should have used another. If your website provides an email address to cancel, you need to cancel by email, not give me a phone number. The links for the deals I want to cancel are below.

[First Link]

[Second Link]

They have been running too long, and I would like to move on and offer different promotions, but I can’t as long as these still exist. One has been running for over a year, so I do not anticipate performance to change. The email address I used to open the account does not exist, anymore, and I cannot find anything in my account settings that allows me to change that. If you do not cancel my deals by the end of the week, I am going to report you to the Better Business Bureau because it is ridiculous that you are making such a simple request so difficult. "

I received no response to that email. So, on November 10, after checking the links and confirming that the deals were still running, I decided to start playing dirty, hoping that if I became annoying enough, someone would pay attention to me.

I sent this:

"Your week is almost over, and you are still ignoring me. This is a highly inappropriate way to conduct business."

And this:

"You are also wasting money on marketing the deals for my company because I have no more space to accept clients. That means I am going to have to send people back to you for refunds. You need to cancel these, now, because continuing to run them does not benefit anyone."

And this:

"Are you even receiving these emails? Seriously, I can’t figure out how a business continues to operate if they refuse to take client complaints seriously."

And this:

"I have seen ads for my deals running all over the internet, which means you are wasting marketing efforts by advertising deals that cannot be honored. Why does that not matter to you? "

Then, I sent this eight times:

"Maybe if I keep annoying you with emails, you might actually respond."

Followed by eight of these:

"Annoyed yet? I will stop flooding your inbox if you help me."

And three of these:

"Aren’t you getting tired of these emails? Kind of like I’m getting tired of waiting for you to honor your agreement."

And one of these:

"Ok, I’m done. If you think ignoring someone who has been trying to contact you for weeks is acceptable, then I’m obviously not going to get anywhere with you. Time to go tell someone who cares. I know you are concerned about the Better Business Bureau, or you wouldn’t be paying for accreditation through them. Maybe someone over there will care that you are ignoring me."

Six hours later, I finally received this:

"Hi [My Name],

Thanks for the email and sorry for the trouble caused.

I have looked at these deals and can confirm that they have already been stopped.

If you're looking to set up a new campaign with us, then the best way to go about this is to use the deal builder section on your Merchant Center.

Alternatively, you can call our Sales Team who would be happy to discuss this with you. They can be reached at 888-582-4354 option 3 and are open Monday through Friday 8am-7pm CST.

Should you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

Regards,

[Second Employee]
Groupon Merchant Services"

It has been my experience, both as a customer and an employee, that at many companies it is the customers who cause a disturbance who actually get served. This is not fair to the customers, nor is it fair to employees who inherit the damage other CSRs have done. I acted the way I did in this case to protect my company and my customers, but there is something seriously wrong with the fact that I had to act that way to get service on what should have been a very simple request - or better yet, something I could do myself from within my merchant account, without having to contact Groupon at all. This was my final email to Groupon:

"I see that now. Thank you for finally ending these for me, but I will not be using Groupon again. I do not appreciate the treatment I have received or the hassle involved in cancelling these deals, not to mention the way I was blown off by the first person I spoke to or the two weeks with no response that followed that, so I do not trust Groupon with my business. I should not have to stoop to the level I did in order to manipulate someone into complying with something that was, originally, a simple and polite request that clearly followed the instructions posted on your website, the instructions I quoted and took a screenshot of when I was told that I was going about this the wrong way. I don’t like being manipulative, so I detest companies that require me to do that in order to protect my company."

I am complaining so others can see this, not because I expect anything else from Groupon for me or my company but because this is a ridiculously tedious process for something that could just be a mouse click, and I feel other merchants and customers need to know that.


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