OFT warns Groupon-a-likes over inflated prices
We know how you chaps love Groupon and other copycat sites (like our beloved Wowcher) and how dismayed you were to learn that earlier this year, the OFT rapped Groupon’s knuckles over (amongst other things)imaginary prices so large that customers could not believe their eyes. And rightly so.
Now the OFT has got off its collective backside once again and has sent stern letters to 35 other discount voucher sites asking them to “review their practices” after it found that consumers were often saving much less than was being claimed. Again with the Baker Street detective straining in the john.
Besides wondering at the sheer amount of jumping-on-the-bandwagon sites in the UK, and spending a good few minutes of our life that we are never going to get back trying to name them all, we were shocked to learn that some sites advertise discounts of up to 90% on goods and services, but such huge discounts are only based on their quoted prices. However, the OFT told the Sunday Times that many of these too-good-to-be-true deals carry restrictions on when they can be claimed while others are pimped as ‘time limited’, when they are actually available for longer, pushing poor unsuspecting consumers into rash decisions they may later regret. The OFT also takes a dim view of “bait pricing’, which tempts consumers with offers that cannot be fulfilled. Bit like putting your 16 year old niece in your Amsterdam window when you are a 56 year old saggy harridan.
The OFT said it had “ informed the daily deal companies that the Groupon undertakings set a clear standard for the entire sector. The OFT is monitoring complaints about unfair commercial practices in this market and, where necessary, will take targeted national enforcement action against firms using practices that constitute serious breaches of the law.”
While we are all in favour of shoddy discount deal sites being asked to pull their socks up, we marvel at the fact that Groupon is now being held up as an example of good practice. Little bit more ironic than rain on your wedding day…