Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Groupon One Year Later, Would we do it again??

We did a Groupon a year ago and it was a huge success for all of us at WiGoClinic - Cell Phone Repair. We literally had lines of people after our Groupon in each of our shops. We loved meeting new people and helping them get their phones, iPad's and iPod Touches fixed. At the same time offering our high quality service to new customers at a fair deal. But...

It seems that Groupon and Living Social don't really care as much about YOU as they do about making a buck! I don't find it surprising that both of these companies are struggling and that many business analysts are predicting their failure. But why I think they are failing is a little different then most.

So let me share my first had experience with you.

When we signed up for our Groupon we were told we had to meet a certain criteria to even be considered and then it might not get approved by the higher-ups because they only wanted to work with the "Best" local businesses. We were certainly flattered and felt as if we fit into that category.

  • The first thing they required was that you be in business at least one year. OK check, we had been in business almost two years when we offered our Groupon.
  • The second thing they asked is that we had our own website so potential buyers could learn more about us - again no problem - www.WiGoClinic.com had been up and running even before we opened our first shop in Fairfax.
  • Thirdly (I know, I just wanted to type 'thirdly') we had to have been reviewed online by an independent company. Again, no problemo we had existing YELP reviews and a few 5 star reviews.
  • One of the last things they asked from us, in fact demanded, was that we NOT mark-up our prices just to cover the Groupon deal. Check mark on that one too -- that would certainly be shady.
Let me tell you this, it's not a short term money maker. Even when you sell a lot of them, which we did -- we were told that we broke a record in the cell phone repair category at the time. It's a marketing expense. I understand that and it did it's job for us.


At this time I would say no. We honored our end of the deal with Groupon but they certainly did NOT show much honor or ethics on their end.

Shortly after our Groupon -- after we declined the multiple requests to run another one -- they signed-up another local cell phone repair shop (all is fair in love and war, business too). Only one problem - well make that at least four problems.
  • Had they been in business for at least one year? No, recently opened.
  • Did they have a website? Pretty easy to do these days, but no website.
  • Online reviews? Nope too new.
  • Mark-up their prices? Of course. That was pretty easy to research because they used a Facebook link on their Groupon deal and it had the regular prices listed. Which surprise, surprise were much lower than their Groupon prices.
Anyone with half a brain could have researched this company and seen that they were not what they claimed to be. Unfortunately, the many of the people who purchased this Groupon -- trusting that they would only promote a legitimate business got burned.

So when the Groupon rep called to again to get us to re-up I politely told him no and explained why. He apologized and assured me he would report this travesty to his bosses to avoid such a poor choice for all of the Groupon faithful in the future.

Then a few months later this same cell phone repair shop - still less than a year old - still no website - now with online reviews that are pretty negative and again marking up their prices -- runs another Groupon. Then a week or after it runs they run a Living Social deal. Then a few weeks later they are evicted from their location leaving many trusting Groupon & Living Social customers without a place to redeem their certificates.

But the story doesn't end there. This same shop, under the same name moves across town and is still offering daily Groupon deals and a Living Social deal.


I had to post something because yesterday I looked on Groupon and saw that another local cell phone repair shop is offering a deal. Guess what? That's right less than a year old, first review on Yelp a negative one and it appears like they are starting to chalk up some more.

Update: So I went by this shop and there was a sign on the door that said, "Store will be closed today. Please come back tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience." Two people came by when I was there, both with Groupon certificates.

All that to tell you BE CAREFUL who you have fix your cell phone, iPad or other personal electronics. These deals are nice to try out a new restaurant, get a massage or explore Yoga but when it comes to repairing your electronics trust a pro and ignore the deal. Do a little research and ask them how long they have been in business. Don't just fall for the deal!

Just like my Grandmother used to say, you get what you pay for!


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