The truth about Groupon

Group buying websites promise to save you money, but do they really work or will you just end up spending more money on something you wouldn't have bought in the first place? Rebecca Rutt investigates.

Group buying websites are becoming more and more popular but be wary – some of the deals are definitely too good to be true.

I've experienced this first hand.

On Groupon a £2.50 plant caught my eye, and worrying about losing out I bought one straightaway. In the rush I didn't notice the £5 delivery charge, and when it arrived it looked nothing like the photo.

I'm not the only one with a bad experience and there have been so many complaints that Groupon is now under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading for unclear advertising. The truth is these sites only work if you buy something you already wanted and as most of these deals are for luxury items – like holidays or meals out – they're not really saving you money but just tempting you to buy things you don't need.

If you use them, watch out for exclusions and read the small print – for example, don't assume you can book a fancy restaurant for your birthday just because you bought the deal. And be wary of buying anything too intrusive, such as teeth whitening or botox, and check out the company that offers the deal first as the quality may not be up to scratch.

Group buying websites can save you money if it is used properly but on the whole the exclusions and small print mean they will end up costing you more.

Your Comments

Why are you regurgitating the same old video blogs?
This one, for example, I've seen twice before over a period of 2 or more years.
You said Groupon was being investigated then, saying it again now gives the impression that it's hot breaking news.
If I was the presenter I'd be too embarrased to admit that I ordered something without checking delivery charges....she's an investigative journalist for godsake!!!
Richard R

I have used Groupon several times to both buy goods and mini-breaks. I have been happy with all of them and great deals. One item I was not happy with, Groupon advised me how to return it and I obtained a refund no problem. I have noticed a few offers that are not really offers and if this became commonplace it would deter me from being interested, but so far so good, though the emails are too frequent so I have stopped them and look them up as required.