Websites offering daily deals and discounts generated €46 million in Ireland with consumers enthusiastically embracing the likes of Groupon and Living Social.
Groupon and Living Social rank first and second in terms of spend with Pigsback, GrabOne and BoardsDeals following in popularity.
Health and beauty are the bigbest earners followed by retail, services, food and drink.
You can buy everything from hotel stays and restaurant meals to home maintenance and yoga classes or language lessons and even holiday breaks, with an average discount of 60%.
More and more practical deals have been appearing over the nine months, with deals for services like gas boiler servicing, handyman services, room painting etc. Recently deals have appeared for non-cosmetic dental services and even laser eye treatment. And there is also an increasing number of product deals available, whereas it originally it was mainly service based deals.
If you’re after a bargain and have a smart phone you can now download apps for best deals or go to an aggregator site like mydealpage.ie or d3als.ie.) where you will find all the deals in one place, rather than receiving many emails to your in box everyday.
Be smart when using the daily deal sites
o Remember the strong psychological lure of the sale sign and limited window of opportunity and try not to buy just because it is discounted. Buy it because you want or need it, or it’s something you were planning on buying or doing anyway.
o You should also search for information on the business in question to make sure you like what you see and check other similar businesses to make sure you can’t find a better price elsewhere.
o It’s a good idea to check with the business for available dates (if it’s a service) before you buy an offer where a lot has already been sold.
o Use the voucher as soon as possible. This is because with heavily booked deals the day or time you want may not be available as businesses try and spread the custom.
o Make a note of the vouchers you’ve bought and put an expiry reminder on your phone or calendar so it doesn’t get wasted. After all a discounted deal is not good value if you don’t use it.
Your rights and how to deal with complaints
As with any business there will be problems and complaints, but you should know what rights you have and who to turn to.
The main reasons cited by National Consumer Agency research for dissatisfaction was the product/service was not as described, poor product quality and issues with the terms and conditions
There should be no difference in the quality of the product or service offered compared to buying directly from the provider at full cost. Your consumer rights do not change because something is on sale.
The product or service should be ‘as described’ and all the information contained in the voucher description, that leads you to buy, should be accurate and not misleading. If it is, the deals site should give you a refund.
Because you’re shopping online you are legally entitlement to a ‘cooling off’ period of a minimum of seven days when you can change your mind and pull out of the voucher deal. If exercising this you contact the deal site.
If you contact the retailer / service provider and for some reason they cannot provide the service or don’t deliver the product, the deal site should remedy the situation i.e. provide a refund.
If you redeem your voucher and avail of the service but are not happy with it, your complaint should then be made to the retailer / service provider, who are legally obliged to provide what was promised to you. You should also inform the deals site so they are aware of your negative experience.