Thursday, March 24, 2011

Groupon Philippines Experience

Once there was a deal site. It was located in the Philippines. Its name was Beeconomic. It was one of many sites online which offered deals on just about everything -- food, fashion, gadgets, beauty, travel... Beeconomic went up here - http://www.beeconomic.com/philippines/Default.aspx. I registered for an account because I'm quite addicted to online deal shopping.

Groupon Philippines reviewNot long after, Groupon, the US-based company which started the deal fever, bought Beeconomic. Beeconomic officially became Groupon Philippines.

Groupon Philippines new siteGroupon Philippines put up a new site, it was to be the official one. You can access it at http://www.beeconomic.com.ph. They also had a lovely launch event at Robot Restaurant which I attended. I got a Groupon Philippines GC as a token. Being the deal addict that I am, I was very excited to try it out.

For some reason, the credits on my GC was loaded onto the old Beeconomic site. The problem was, it was no longer well-populated by members because everyone was migrating to the new site. Hence, when I tried to buy a deal using my credits, the deal would not activate whereas the same deal would turn on quickly at the new site. I emailed Beeconomic's support group for help. I got an answer after a day, I was quite impressed too as Groupon Philippines President herself Lori Villafuerte got in touch with me. She told me that she would help me buy the deal from the old site and then transfer my remaining credits to the new site. I was quite happy with the response.

Groupon Philippines reviewAnd so I tried to purchase deals on the new site. The problem was, every time I would click on "Buy Now" I would get this error screen. I thought at first that maybe the site was overloaded or something. I tried clicking "Buy Now" on a daily basis. After a week of that, I was still getting this error screen. There was this hair removal kit I really wanted to buy so I emailed support again. This time, another person answered, after more than a day. The deal was over by the time I got her response. She told me that I tried buying at a bad time when everyone else was also buying so my purchase couldn't go through. Then she said sorry but I missed the deal already.

I emailed again, I told them that timing was not the problem because I had been trying to purchase something more than a week already and I kept getting that error screen. To make a long story short, they finally fixed my account and I can now buy from the new site problem-free.

Groupon Philippines reviewAnyhow, I got to successfully purchase a Groupon for Burger Avenue. Four of them in fact. It was priced at P65. I could redeem P130 worth of food and drinks with it. Each person could buy two and then give two as gifts. So I bought two for myself and two as a gift for my hubby.

Finally, hubby and I got to visit Burger Avenue at A Venue Mall. Since the rules state that you could only use one groupon per visit, we decided to line up separately and get take-out. See, we don't live anywhere near Makati City so we just wanted to use our groupons in the most convenient way possible.

I gave hubby the gift groupon with his name on it while I held on to mine. He went ahead to the counter and ordered. The cashier opened a folder containing a list of all groupons purchased and asked him to sign. When my turn came, she did the same. Then there was a problem. She told me that it turns out I was the one who bought hubby's and my own groupons. They were all considered as mine so we could only use one that day. I told her that I gave the other groupon as a gift and had my hubby's name printed on it. She said on their records, all the purchases were made by me so they are all officially mine. I was pissed off to say the least. So if for example, I gave groupons to another friend and then we coincidentally visit Burger Avenue at the same time, one of us would have to walk out empty-handed. What was up with that? How can something I gave away as a gift still be considered as mine???

I was seething at this point so I decided to just walk out and get food somewhere else. I was ready to give away my remaining groupons to the janitors at A Venue Mall but hubby stopped me, saying we can just go back another day. But I never want to go back to Burger Avenue. What's the difference anyway? If I do go back some other time they would still have to honor the groupon I have so they are just prolonging the inevitable.

Just a word of advice to merchants: If you're really not willing to honor the deal, don't even offer it. It sucks when customers have to have a hard time because of a technicality like this.

So what now?

  • Groupon Philippines should migrate everything to just one site to minimize problems.
  • Faster response time from the support team would be appreciated, as is it takes them more than a day to respond to concerns.
  • They should probably coordinate with their merchants better too. Or maybe they should record gift coupons under the receiver's name instead of the buyer's name when passing the list on?
I still have groupons for belly-dancing classes and yoga classes from Groupon Philippines. I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE: Beeconomic / Groupon Philippines responds to my concerns.


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