Agony of a Groupon India deal-trapped customer

A few days back, I requested one of my colleague to plan a small informal get together of all the intl. quality heads. We are always very prudent in our expenses and we bought a deal from groupon for unlimited drinks + dinner at ‘Park Plaza Shahdara‘. In the past we had taken similar deals for ‘Park Plaza, Noida’ and we had reasons to believe that it would be a similar experience. To ensure that things work well, my colleague also called up ‘Park Plaza’ a couple of times before going ahead with the purchase. It was not a big purchase (about INR 7K odd) but that is the usual process-drill. 4 of them were Beer coupons and 2 were IMFL coupons. We love our hard earned drinks and as per protocol we hired a big cab and it was all set.

Finally last evening after a long day, our group of 6 reached Park Plaza. When we shared our deal receipt with them, we were offered following

For unlimited beer+food offer, they would serve King Fisher Strong (and thatโ€™s it, no other brands)
For the IMFL, they had ‘Rowson Whisky’.

The great Rowson Whiskey
The great Rowson Whiskey

None of us drink strong beer and I would not have let my colleagues take some Rowson Whisky, credentials of which are still investigated. We tried to be polite and requested them to check again. On requesting an access to a floor manager or GM, I was introduced to a colleague (a trick I knew very well). And so on. I took their business cards incase I ever run into a ‘Sarovar’ guy on how their junior staff is acting like GMs. In the end, they brought their Manager-IT as GM. Funny. Anyway, I am not their customer here so lets move on.

In the end, we were offered a couple of other brands (as a good gesture (Bud), and another whisky (BP), more good gesture) after we called foul. Interestingly, we were told that ‘Groupon’ knows very well and we should talk to Groupon since we have paid them.

Why would ‘Groupon’ promote these deals where Strong beer and Rowson Whiskey are the only two things on offer ?

We called up group-on and were told (it was at/around 8 PM, by #s4n4u) that we are calling too late. The sun has set, everyone has left office so sorry, please handle yourself. It was embarrassing for my colleague who arranged the whole program. We tried to make up for a lost opportunity but we came back more learned about ParkPlaza and Groupon. I stand cheated, Groupon.

Not too long back Andrew said that, “If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer.” I am sorry for this long story, early in the day but thought that you deserve a chance to know and possibly fix.

———————-

Above is what I wrote to Groupon the very next day (its been few days since) hoping for some real action. I must appreciate that Ankur (CEO of Groupon India) was super responsive to my first query. Unfortunately the first resolution was on expected lines. Take Groupon credits which we can utilise for another offer (and possibly get cheated again !!) which we summarily refused. I didn’t hear much after that.

So, if you buy an offer from Groupon, first check with the hotel and find out the fine-print because the best you can expect from Groupon Customer Support is their inability to do anything and from their CEO would want to get a buy-out resolution.

Hope we get better as a larger society and begin to treat our customers as our patrons, and not leave them in cold. Good luck Groupon.

7 Replies to “Agony of a Groupon India deal-trapped customer”

  1. view 1:
    nothing comes free…. nothing comes easy… marketers have been fooling the world in different ways for centuries… this incident is just one of their desperate attempts….

    so you thought soaps made your skin beautiful.

    view 2:
    in a country that is run by a puppet PM, and you don’t complain.. why do you complain any thing else..

  2. I had something similar experience with a deal a I found Snapdeal for a Car Wash, I ended up loosing 99/- Rs. though.

  3. This was the day we met there? Hmmm. It was probably I bringing you the “testers-experience” ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. @ Vivek – Yes, correct.

    I was talking to a friend last night and he had a pertinent point. He ran through a very bad episode with Groupon. Anway, as per him these deal sites wont work as well here since in this country, there are no ‘customer protection laws’ and if at all there are some, none of them are in-practice. In this case, Groupon shrugged their responsibility and ‘Park Plaza’ blamed Groupon for selling a deal without letting people know the ‘Menu’. Sad.

    @Vipul – Yes , same night. We kept our patience and made the most of what we could get. Meeting with you was the highlight of our evening. Hope to hit into you next time at a different place. he he.

  5. So I heard back from Groupon (Ankur) and they have now put the menu (actually a link, which goes to FB, another access barrier, anyway) and the menu is not the same as what was offered to us initially. ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel bad about these smart moves.

    I was also told and our group was an outlier, they asked everyone else who took the deal and everyone else was super happy about it.

    Good Luck Groupon. I would wait for you to stand by a customer side, once.

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