So it would appear that group deals are all the rage now. Every other day, we see a new online company pop up offering group discounts. If you aren’t familiar with it, this is basically how it works.
- Group deal company gets merchant to offer a special discounted deal to its members. It could be for food or services.
- Deal goes live online but will only be available if a certain number of people have purchased it. We never know how many is this magical number. I’ve seen deals go live with as few as 1 person purchasing it.
- Customer buys the deal online and is issued an online voucher which can only be used between certain dates. If the deal doesn’t go through (too few people buying) then you get a refund (so they say)
It is usually advisable for you to make sure the time within which you can use the vouchers is suitable to you or that the location is near enough for you to get to. No point living in KL and buying a voucher to be used in Subang Jaya unless you go there often or are prepared to make the trip specially. I have purchased a few of these group deal vouchers for food and services so let me share some of my experiences with you to see if these group deal thingys are worth trying, and then you can share your story too 🙂
Group Deal – RM59 for 2 hour Spa session worth RM280 at Jari Spa (Dealmates)
You can read my experience at Jari Spa using this deal. Worth it? Not one bit. Imagine if I had paid full price! Perhaps the ones who did pay full price had a better experience? Its hard to say.
Group Deal – S$23.80 for Segway Eco-Adventure at Segway Sentosa worth S$38 (Groupon Singapore)
I wrote briefly about my experience with Segway Sentosa. Worth the deal? A little. Maybe S$10 worth for the experience. The shoddy rude service I received made it NOT worth my while. Imagine if I had paid full price! I did receive an apology about 2 weeks after I wrote in with my complaint.
Group Deal – RM68 for 2 hour Facial session worth RM337 at Absolute Beaute (Groupon Malaysia)
You can read my experience at Absolute Beaute using this deal. It was alright as far as a facial goes. I don’t think it worth RM337, but I’d have paid the full price for the facial only, and might have signed up for a small package, if the location wasn’t so far from where I live.
Group Deal – RM7.50 for food at Coffee Chemistry (OneDiscount)
This one was an excellent deal and a very good introduction to this cafe. Coffee Chemistry Cafe is a very nice place serving very good coffee with pretty coffee art, and decently priced cafe food. I’d happily return for the coffee and food if I’m in the area (Sunway Giza).
Group Deal – RM38 for Sang Har Meen for 2 at Four Seas Chinese Restaurant (Dealmates)
I quite enjoyed this deal. The sang har meen was decently good, and I was introduced to a new restaurant I’d never have known about but for the deal.
Based on my experiences, I had a better experience with food deals as opposed to service deals. Some people haven’t, getting poor quality food or smaller portions. Here are my tips you can take on board if you want to purchase a group deal:-
- Check out the facebook page of the company offering the deal for feedback. Sometimes, those who have bought previous deals will document their experiences with the vouchers purchased. Sometimes, if you are considering the deal, some other people might have done your homework for you and may even save you money. e.g. I was interested in a deal to experience paramotoring at RM75 instead of RM150 offered on Groupon Malaysia. It promised “Up to 3 hours of ground training and flying.” When I checked out the Facebook page, I saw that some people had called up the merchant and found out that you get only about 15 minutes worth of flying time. Not worth it for me!
- Check out the merchant offering the deal. Google is your best friend. Do a quick search on the merchant offering the deal. Sometimes, people who have tried it might have shared their experiences. These merchants sometimes offer repeat deals with different group deal companies. I always wonder why this is so. Or perhaps those who have been for the service or to the restaurant will have reviewed it pre-deal. As with everything, do your homework.
- Is it the deal offered from a merchant new in the business? Based on experience, the two spa services were from very new spas. Teething problems are to be expected in terms of time management but poor service should never be a compromise. I’ll never go back to a spa or any service that offers me a poor service the first time.
- Can you get better deals by just walking in? I have actually seen some people complaining that after they bought the deal for a hair salon, and went for the service, they found that they could get it cheaper with a “first trial promotion” the salon was already offering. Suggestion: Call up the salon or spa offering the deal and see if they have first time promotions and do your comparisons to see if its worth while.
- Brace yourself for bad service and hardsell Some people have reported awful experiences at hair salons (I’d never take on a hair salon deal. EVER!) and I’ve had poor service at a spa. Be prepared that your “deal” may cause you more mental trauma than its worth. Also be prepared for hardsell in salons or beauty services. They are trying to get a repeat customer and the deal is the sweetener.
- Make your service booking early. Sometimes, these merchants over-commit themselves with their deals and they could be inundated with hundreds of customers. Also, such deals have an expiry date which may be sooner than you expect. Get your foot in the door early or risk your deal expiring before you can get an appointment.
- Don’t bother with slimming salon deals. I’m serious. You’re just setting yourself up for a hardsell. Most “reputable” slimming salons already offer cheap deals for “first trial” or even free trials. Paying RM18 for RM400 worth of a slimming service doesn’t get you anything. If its free, at least you don’t feel as cheated 😛
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. As with every “deal” you come across in your life. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Will I buy group deals again? After these few experiences, I’ll say “I’ll think about it”. I’m not about to close the door and say no because I might still be surprised, or I might actually get a deal I enjoy. But for now, its No. In fact, I’ve unsubscribed from all the group deal websites I’d been subscribed to before. I just think it more hassle than its really worth. Vivawoman discussed this phenomenon recently too from a beauty service angle.
After I drafted this post, I noticed an increase in the number of holiday group deals. I personally have not tried them but I’m very reluctant to unless its for an established hotel. I might buy a hotel deal after I’ve done my homework, but never a tour package/flight deal. I don’t want to be stranded in a foreign land! 😛 Also, if its a deal to buy something from a website, I’m less likely to purchase it unless I’m very familiar with the said website. Even if its a discounted deal, its still money!
Your Say: What do you think of Group Deals and have you had any regrets? Have you bought a deal that was a dud? Or perhaps you bought a gem of a deal? Feel free to share your experiences or advice below 🙂