What is group buying?
Group buying websites (such as Scoopon, Spreets, deals.com.au, Cudo, LivingSocial, Our Deal and Groupon) are becoming increasingly popular across Australia.
These sites – also referred to by some people as ‘daily deals’ or ‘deal of the day’ – sell vouchers or coupons for goods and services with big discounts. In some cases, the vouchers are offered on the condition that a minimum number of buyers take up the deal.
How does group buying work?
Many group buying websites negotiate deals with local businesses and promise to promote their goods and services, to deliver new customers, in exchange for big discounts.
If you take up an offer, you will usually be asked to enter your payment details online. A voucher is emailed to you to print off and claim your purchase direct from the business.
Many of these websites require online membership and deals are sent via email or social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Other daily deals
Other daily deals websites such as Catch of the Day, Shopping Square, oo.com.au, Deals Direct and Crazy Sales offer discount deals on goods (and sometimes services) for a limited time. Stocks are limited and items often sell out before the offer ends. These daily deals differ from group buying deals in that the customer generally directly receives a product or service, rather than a voucher.
It is an offence for a trader to accept payment for goods or services and not supply them within a reasonable period.
Tips for consumers:
- be aware of what goods and services are being offered and what is not included in the deal
- check the terms and conditions of sales on group buying websites carefully, including expiry dates on vouchers
- check with the website to see if they give refunds if the service provider goes out of business before vouchers are redeemed
- be prepared for delays in making bookings. Group sales can create a lot of demand.
What to do if your group buying deal goes wrong
If you have trouble redeeming the voucher or unreasonable delays in booking in, contact the group buying website to seek a refund.
If you are not satisfied with their response, you can contact us to make a complaint.
Last updated: 04/05/2013