The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have launched an enforcement investigation into Groupon UK, the online marketplace offering discounts and deals on a range of products and services.
Groupon is an online marketplace that connects subscribers with local merchants (including restaurants, retailers, hotels, and events), by offering deals and discounts on products and services.
Concerns were raised around Groupon’s compliance with consumer protection law, and they were warned by the CMA that if their conduct was not changed, then they could face court action.
The concerns highlighted by the CMA were specifically related to –
- Unsatisfactory responses to customer complaints
- Customers not being provided with refunds and other forms of redress, such as replacement items, to which the CMA considers they were legally entitled to (e.g., being offered Groupon credits instead of refunds)
- Failure to ensure the accuracy of descriptions, that products offered for sale were in stock and delivered within advertised timeframes, and that items were of satisfactory quality.
Groupon has now signed formal commitments to the CMA that it will ensure that –
- Certain customers who were previously not given the option of refunds will be offered refunds within the next 7 days and paid within 14 days of their response. This includes customers who did not receive delivery of their goods, customers whose goods were not of satisfactory quality or did not match advertised descriptions, and customers who were unable to redeem vouchers for services
- A banner will be placed on the homepage of the Groupon website and app for the next 60 days outlining details on the availability of refunds
- Any future complaints from customers will be acknowledged within 24 hours and dealt with within 14 days
- Descriptions of goods and services on the Groupon website and app are accurate
- A new team is set up to investigate deals when a certain number of customers get in touch with Groupon about their purchase
- Mystery shopping exercises are carried out
- Orders cannot be placed unless products are in stock and services are available
The formal commitments signed by Groupon highlight that refunds should be automatic under certain circumstances.
Groupon’s own website describes their process for requesting a refund for an order –
- Go to the ‘Contact Us’ page, selecting the order for which you’d like a refund.
- Select ‘Request a Refund’ (if available).
- Select your refund reason and confirm your cancellation.
The Groupon website highlights –
‘Depending on when you purchased, you may have the option to request a refund to your original form of payment. You can also request a refund in Groupon credits for any unused Local voucher that hasn’t expired.
Credit refunds will be issued in the form of Groupon credits to your account and will typically be available within 24 hours. Refunds to your original form of payment may take 5-7 days to reach your payment method.’
Further information is also available on Groupon’s website, along with their Coronavirus Update (available on the Groupon Website).