Consumers are sounding the alarm bells against Groupon South Africa (Groupon SA), with floods of complaints on websites such as HelloPeter and MyBroadband forum. The complaints typically relate to not receiving goods paid for, not receiving refunds as promised, and very poor after-sales service.
There have also been successful complaints lodged against Groupon SA with the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) about misleading advertising. Similar concerns were expressed on the MyBroadband forums.
There have even been complaints that users find it challenging to be removed from the Groupon SA mailing list.
One HelloPeter user said that she did not receive the products purchased. “I bought a subscription to Readers Digest. I tried redeeming the voucher but it was unsuccessful. I have logged calls with Groupon customer service for a refund but have only received automated responses with nothing actually being done,” said a user going by the name of “ranchosolano”.
“I have ordered a derma roller from Groupon and I am still waiting for delivery! It’s almost 2 months now! I have sent a complaint to Groupon several times and no delivery as yet! They also charged me for 3 derma rollers when I only wanted 1 so I am still waiting for my refund too,” said Lizelle78.
Some users were less diplomatic about Groupon’s service. “As I said in my past 7 or 8 complaints about Groupon, I am tired of your pathetic excuses and I want my money, just plain simple and easy, but I guess you don’t do that because you are such an uncouth, unresponsive and complicated lot at Groupon,” said Mrs VR on HelloPeter.
Groupon SA was asked about the overwhelming evidence that many Groupon customers are not receiving the goods which they have purchased, and have trouble getting refunds when problems are encountered.
Groupon South Africa blamed their merchant partners for the poor service levels, explaining that some of their merchants struggle to deliver when there are high sales numbers.
“Groupon rely on the respective product merchants to ensure delivery of the product is made. Groupon realize that this has the potential to cause customer service concerns as they cannot control when or how timely these products are delivered,” said Wayne Gosling, CEO of Groupon SA.
“One of the business’s key priorities is to spend time before each feature with the vendor to educate them on the process and guide their expectations in terms of customer service and capacity planning,” said Gosling.
Gosling added that they have decided “to bring logistics in-house by partnering with logistics providers enabling the business to oversee the process much better and decrease product delivery time and customer queries significantly”.
“The challenge remains with some vendors still choosing to deliver themselves and some products being sourced internationally which causes delays due to customs, foreign exchange problems and incorrect or ambiguous address details,” said Gosling.
“Groupon are actively addressing this by continuing to bring 100% of our product deliveries in-house, increasing the internal process efficiencies around product deliveries, creating stringent SLAs with our logistics partners and above all staying in constant communication with our customers regarding their delivery.”
Numerous Groupon SA customers have also complained about not receiving refunds as promised by the company.
Gosling said that Groupon has a standard refund policy that must be adhered to 100%. “Being one of the largest ecommerce players in South Africa opens the business up to a significant amount of fraud and therefore any refund request must be scrutinised to ensure 1) the transaction was valid and 2) the refund is warranted. If these criteria are met Groupon will always refund,” said Gosling.
Gosling did not say why some Groupon customers had not received refunds, and why some customers had to resort to online platforms to try to get refunds from the company.
Gosling also did not explain why support emails from customers were not answered.