Groupon has been found in a new investigation by BBC watchdog, to be misleading customers with its offers.
The programme, which airs November 16 at 8pm on BBC One revealed that many of the deals found on the discount website either sold fake goods or had exaggerated descriptions.
Nikki Fox, Watchdog’s presenter, spoke to various Groupon customers who felt they had been misled by the website.
An industrial size box of Ariel laundry powder was delivered to Carl Churchman, after he bought it for £21.98 which he was told was 50 per cent off. Upon sending a sample of the powder to the manufacturers Procter and Gamble, following suspicions about the quality of the product, he found the powder was fake.
Groupon responded stating: “As with any major online retailer, we take counterfeiting seriously and work hard to make sure that no-one ends up being disappointed with their purchase.
“We work closely with suppliers to perform checks to ensure counterfeit items do not enter the supply chain.
“On the extremely rare occasion where we are made aware that a product we’ve sold may be counterfeit, we immediately conduct an investigation and if necessary, recall the product and provide a full refund.”
The services from small businesses have also been brought into question by Watchdog, as it was revealed that the only checks needed to set up a page were a website, address and a Facebook page.
Fox said: “We were shocked with how little information we were asked to provide before our fake deal was good to go. Fake goods, disappointing experiences and bogus companies – surely it’s time for Groupon to cut out the dodgy deals.”
A couple from London were offered a makeover, a two hour photo shoot, two A4 prints and a £100 voucher to spend in store for just £19, 95 per cent off the normal price.
Upon arriving at Premier Photo, Shane and Rosalie found that the two A4 sized photos were printed on plain paper, not photo stock, and the gift voucher required a £700 spend to be redeemed. The couple paid an extra £350 to upgrade their offer and put their photos on a CD.
Premier Photo responded to Watchdogs investigation saying: “Premier Photoshoot gave Shane and Rosalie the £100 voucher and refunded £20 as advertised which were offset in the net purchase of the product.
“There is no obligation to buy further images, frames or photos but the deal on Groupon was for £19 and that includes two A4 pictures not any images on CD and if they willing to buy more pictures or upgrade the two A4 photos they are welcome to do so.
“It will be a total lie to say that they received two untouched A4 prints on regular printer paper when Premier Photoshoot never send them any prints.”
Groupon added: “With regards to Premier Photoshoot, clearly we made a mistake and fallen short of our own standards.
“We’re extremely sorry for how Rosalie and her family were treated. It goes without saying we no longer work with this business and have offered Rosalie a full apology as well as a refund.
“We have also processed refunds for other customers who bought this experience”