Groupon, LivingSocial and daily deals – consumer FAQ

Judging from the queries that come to this blog, there are a lot of questions that consumers have about daily deals from Groupon and LivingSocial. If you are a merchant and are interested in learning about the merchant experience, see the Groupon merchant FAQ. Please note that although I use “Groupon” extensively throughout this post, the same general principles apply to other U.S. deal sites, including LivingSocial

These are the most frequently asked questions about daily deals:

My Groupon expired. Is it still worth something?

Yes, Groupons and LivingSocial vouchers that expire are still worth what you paid for them forever. In some states, the merchant may be required to honor the full face value (including promotional discount) past the expiration date. You can try to use it at the merchant. If they won’t honor it, call up Groupon or LivingSocial and ask for a refund.

The business I bought a Groupon for went out of business. Can I get my money back?

Yes. Call the deal company and you will get a refund of the money that you paid. They may initially try to give it you in Groupon credit; insist on getting a refund to your credit card.

Do I have to use my Groupon all at once?

Many daily deals state that they must be used in one visit. However, this may be contrary to state law as some states require that prepaid vouchers can be used over the course of multiple visits. It’s still unclear how this will play out. But if you’re dissatisfied, call or email your deal provider and explain your situation. You can use to help craft your email and learn more about the specifics that apply to your state.

Can I get a cash refund for my unused Groupon value?

Some state require that any balances below a certain value be refunded in cash if requested. For example, in California, merchants are required to refund gift cards with value below $10 upon request. It’s still unclear how this will play out. But if you’re dissatisfied, call or email your deal provider and explain your situation. You can use to help craft your email and learn more about the specifics that apply to your state.

Will I get worse service if I use a Groupon?

It’s not uncommon to experience poor service when using a Groupon. This happens for two primary reasons: 1) Many businesses end up selling a lot more vouchers than they expected, leading to a crush of demand that they can’t service. You may want to wait until a month or so into the Groupon, when the initial rush dies down. 2) Many servers have bad experiences with Groupon customers. I’ve heard many complaints about poor tipping and customers being extra demanding. As a result, they treat all Groupon customers poorly.

I bought a Groupon for a cleaning service, but when I call they tell me that they can’t book me for 4 months. What can I do?

Because Groupon generates so much demand, it’s pretty common for service businesses like cleaners, spas and auto detailers to be booked up for months. If you can’t book in a timeframe that meets your needs, call Groupon and ask for a refund.

I bought a Groupon Getaways voucher. I tried to book my trip, but the hotel says it’s not available for Groupon use. I checked their Web site and they have rooms available. What’s going on?

Groupon Getaways and LivingSocial Escapes are generally sold based on “availability.” Availability doesn’t mean it’s valid if any room is available. Like airlines, hotels allocate rooms into multiple inventory buckets. In order for you to use your voucher, there must be availability in the bucket that corresponds to your voucher. Availability is always in flux; if you’re told that it’s not available today, it might be available tomorrow and vice versa. If you cannot book the dates that you want, call Groupon or LivingSocial and ask for a refund.

Are Groupons bad for businesses?

It depends on the type of business and the type of deal. In many cases, Groupons are harmful to the businesses that run them. This is especially true if you are an existing customer and use a Groupon when you otherwise would have paid full price. See the Groupon merchant FAQ for more information.

I have another problem with Groupon or LivingSocial that isn’t addressed here. Where can I get help?

You can email or call their customer service at  1 (877) 788-7858, 9a.m.-5p.m. CT.

For LivingSocial, visit or call 877-521-4191.

Although I usually hear negative things from merchants about daily deal companies, I generally hear very positive things from consumers about customer service.

If they aren’t able or willing to help, try calling your credit card company and requesting a chargeback.

If you have an interesting situation or a negative experience with their customer service, feel free to also email me at Because of the volume of email I get, I can’t respond to every message.

You can also leave a comment on this post.

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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