In early May, I bought a Groupon for Robb’s Really Good Food. It’s a food cart in Portland, Ore.
Before I got a chance to use it, Robb sold his food cart. (He plans to open a new one.) I knew something was up when I drove to the location to redeem it and Robb was nowhere to be found. I thought it’d be a good opportunity to test Groupon’s customer service. But given that I only paid $3 for the Groupon, it wasn’t high on my priority list.
Groupon actually found me. Last week, I got an email from Groupon:
Thank you for purchasing the Robb’s Really Good Food Groupon.
We are writing to inform you that Robb’s Really Good Food is moving to a new location. Due to the location change, Robb’s Really Good Food will be closed until July 21. Fortunately, Robb’s Really Good Food has graciously decided to extend the expiration date from 11/04/11 to 12/04/11 to make up for lost time.
Here is the address for the new location:
SE Foster Rd. & 52nd Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97206
If you have not redeemed this Groupon and no longer wish to due to this new information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to issue a refund to the original credit card used for the purchase or to your Groupon account to be used for future purchases.
Thank you for your continued support and let us know if you have further questions.
Groupon Customer Support
I responded that I wanted a refund. In less than an hour, I received this:
No problem. I just issued you a full refund and removed this Groupon from your account. Please allow up to 10 business days for this to be reflected on your statement.
Less than 24 hours later, the money was back in my account.
As a consumer, I loved this. Proactive customer service is rare.
But as someone who analyzes this space, this is a red flag about the stability of the daily deal business. Many small businesses fail, especially within the first year of ownership. As I’ve written before, the optimal time to run a Groupon is if your business is going under and you can’t get a loan from a bank. Both create significant adverse selection problems. And such generosity to customers leaves Groupon holding a lot of risk.