Problems with the Groupon guarantee



Posted on January 4, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Aaron Greenmun is a busy guy, and so is his wife taking care of three children. So Aaron jumped at the chance to get his wife something special -- two hours of house cleaning from a company called A Sure Clean on the site
"We were hoping to use it by the holidays. We had her mom coming in from out of town and with three boys running around, it's hard to keep the house clean," said Aaron.

Here's how Groupon works: The website will offer a product. Once a pre-determined amount of people buy the deal, the deal is on and you can jump in. That's what Aaron did, but after spending the $55, he couldn't reach the company.

"We couldn't get a hold of them. Their voice mail was full, they wouldn't return e-mails."

At that point, Aaron wanted a refund. His house probably wasn't going to be cleaned by the holidays, making it a deal-breaker. Groupon's promise is pretty clear. It says, "If you ever feel like Groupon let you down, give us a call and we'll return your purchase - simple as that."

"They were prompt. They replied within a day but they said they would not give a refund because the deal was too new."

Checking Groupon's website, Aaron's not the only one complaining about this deal.
"I found out I wasn't alone. I found out a bunch of people online on Groupon's own website saying we're really struggling with this company."

So, I called the cleaning company, A Sure Clean. The owner told me she sold 1,008 Groupons and that her business can clean 6 to 8 houses a day. So, if the business did the average, 7 houses a day from the beginning of the deal on November 16, working every single day, including holidays and only with Groupon customers, it would take the business until April 9 to honor every purchase.

Aaron couldn't believe Groupon was still saying no to a full refund.

"I thought, this is wrong and I thought maybe someone else out there who can stand up for this and fix it."

We contacted Groupon and it told us that no refund would be given, yet at the same time the company reimbursed Aaron's credit card $55. Strange, but true.

"If you are going to make a promise that 'we stand behind our product 100 percent,' you have to be willing to stand by that product 100 percent and if you are going to say 'if a customer asks for a refund, we only kind of stand by our product,' that's not what you said when we gave you our money."

The owner of A Sure Clean declined an on camera interview, but says she did not expect this kind of response and that she will get everyone in. As for Groupon, they've posted on their website that consumers have a year to use the service. However, the company has not changed its policy to let people know that it will give a credit and not a refund in its promise to customers.