Avoiding daily deal dupes

(WFLX) - These days, everyone is looking to save money and score a great deal.

Many of us love those amazing daily deal offers that pop up in our inbox. But our investigation reveals some of those offers aren't working out as advertised, and complaints about major daily deal companies are piling up.

They come in all forms, such as "Pay $15 for $30 worth of food", "Get three oil changes for $49", or "Train your dog for half the price".

These kinds of deals are hard to resist.

That's exactly how bachelor Jay Johnson felt when he saw an offer for some housecleaning help.

He thought he was 'cleaning up' with an amazing coupon. "I went to try and schedule the cleanings by calling the vendor, and the cleaning company never called me back," he said.

So he phoned the daily deal company that sent him the offer he purchased, but they sent him back to the cleaning company.

Again, no response, and, as time passed and more dust accumulated, the voucher eventually expired. "You pay for the service, and you put effort into calling and to try to chase someone down. As time goes on, it gets frustrating," said Johnson.

Our investigation found the number of frustrated daily deal consumers is growing!

A multi-million dollar class action suit claims one company sold deals that expired in an "unreasonably short period of time".

Meantime, Better Business Bureau records reveal more than 2,000 consumer complaints against major daily deal companies -- a majority of them were filed this past year.

The BBB blames the popularity of the offers combined with overwhelmed businesses. "Consumers have been so quick to take advantage of those opportunities, especially with the service industry, that small companies couldn't keep up with the volume," said Carrie Hurt, CEO of the Better Business Bureau.

The daily deal industry tells us they hear the complaints, and things are changing! "The daily deal sites now have learned from this problem and are creating schedulers who work with that service establishment and create a process of how many deals, how many redemptions they can take per day, so they're not overwhelmed," said Bonnie Carlson, of the Brand Activation Association

The Brand Activation Association says daily deals are still a win-win for customers. "Consumers get a great deal, and it gives them a chance to try something new," said Carlson.

If you're thinking of buying a deal, the association says you should:

  • Read terms and conditions of each offer carefully
  • Plan to use the vouchers reasonably soon

Experts say if you think you got duped, contact the site that sold you the coupon and ask for your money back.

Jay and his dust bunnies are still waiting for the cleaning company and the daily deal site to call him back. "I don't think that I would buy one of these online deals from a vendor I'm not already familiar with," said Johnson.

Again, there are many happy customers; however, Jay was not one of them.

When we contacted the daily deal site that sold Jay the cleaning services, they refunded the amount he paid for the offer.

The site told us it will always refund for the price consumers paid for a voucher if a business closes, an event is cancelled, or if a company refuses to accept a coupon.

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