My great Groupon customer service experience

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:

Hi Rocky,

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 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.


Kate R
Groupon Customer Support

I responded that I wanted a refund. In less than an hour, I received this:

Hi Rocky,

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.


Sarah-Kate H.

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.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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15 Responses to My great Groupon customer service experience

  1. Nonya says:

    I’d say the prompt response had to be @least partially because they knew who you were. Why risk an additional, net-wide ass-roasting on a $3 deal? 😉

  2. Nonya – I don’t think so. It’s consistent with what I hear from consumers. I have yet to hear a truly awful customer service story from people. Generally it’s been “I had a problem, I got a refund.”

    • Paula says:

      I have had awful time being fobbed of once i actually get through to the groupon customer service…………..and i am still waiting for my goods..three months late, when i phone the customer services they always say they will call the company that goods are coming from and call me back to let me know when i should get it, but they never call back and so i have to call then as i have had to for the last three months only to be told excuse after excuse after excuse.

      I will be calling them again on Monday as thery still have not got back to me or replied to any emails sent, I will be demanding an instant refund and compensation for lost money spent on the constant calls made to them re the order.

      They are a real hit and miss affair and i will definately never use or recomend them ever.

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  13. Christopher Lee says:

    This seems so typical for daily deals today. I was just researching this issue and came across a new company called Stampede ( They are a 3rd party company that acts like an agent to merchants. They work with merchants to find the best daily deal company fit for each individual merchant and act as an intermediary between merchant and daily deal company so merchants can just run their business. Pretty cool idea that could eliminate the issue of the business side failing.

  14. Cindy Q. says:

    Groupon SUCKS now. Ever since they have gone public, their customer service is TERRIBLE. I have been trying to contact them to obtain my money back for a ballet I purchased back in November and it still hasn’t been resolved. The site to purchase the tickets went down and I couldn’t get the seats I wanted when the site came back days later. I asked for a refund and they continue to tell me they are processing it, but they keep messing it up. I used to love this site, but trust me… they have HORRIBLE customer service now.

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