Beware The Many Pitfalls Of Daily Deal Sites

In the latest craze of daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, we’re already learning pretty darn fast that not all is what it seems when it comes to the offered discounts. Caveat emptor and all that, right? Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider before you plunk down $17 for $34 worth of bacon-flavored lollipops at that place you never would’ve gone to otherwise, shall we?

SmartMoney outlines 10 things they say deal sites won’t tell you — mostly because those sites are businesses and don’t want you to think about the consequences of your purchases.

• When all is said and done, you might still end up paying more than the 50% or 67% or whatever it is the deal offered, as there could be parts of the bill (taxes, tip, etc) that aren’t covered when you redeem your coupon.
Case in point: The $10 for a $20 FTD voucher fiasco, where FTD then charged voucher-redeemers more than normal customers.

• Cashing in might be tricky, especially if you wait until the last minute to book a class or a special service at a small place. For example, Salon 505 in Austin sold 5,000 half-day spa packages on LivingSocial, which, even if they booked an appointment in ever open spot for a year, wouldn’t accommodate all those people.

• There are just way too many group deal sites these days! Since 2010, more than 600 sites have sprung up to offer you deals on everything you never knew you didn’t want. If those businesses fold, you still might be able to redeem your voucher… but you may not.

• YOU’RE LAZY AND YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO GO POLE-DANCING. Sorry, didn’t mean to yell, but the truth is, you might think one day you want to try to do something wild and crazy, and then regret it the day after you’ve bought your discounted coupon for it. The good news is, there are sites now that resell your unwanted vouchers, like Lifesta, CoupRecoup and DealsGoRound. You might still lose a little money in the process, so make sure to think long and hard about that sky-diving offer before you buy it.

For the whole list, check out SmartMoney‘s rundown of all 10 pitfalls. Are there any deals you’ve bought into that you regretted later?

10 Things Daily Deal Sites Won’t Say [SmartMoney]