Groupon Trying To Figure Out If Anyone Wants To Pay Them To Be Called A VIP

Customers who use Groupon for free to grab vouchers for special daily deals know that once that deal is expired, it’s gone for good. But if you could pay a fee to have access to closed or sold out deals, and buy in to other deals sooner than everyone else, would you? That’s what Groupon is trying to figure out with a new trial VIP program.

The subscription-based loyalty program costs $29.99 a year after a three-month free trial, says the Chicago Tribune. Members can also get refunds on vouchers they weren’t able to use in time ‚Äö but that refund will be in the form of a Groupon credit.

Groupon is rolling out the program in a few markets to see how it does, and interestingly enough, one of those areas is not its home base in Chicago. The program is just one attempt to help customers personalize their experience, says the company.

Subscribers will be able to store multiple locations, such as their home and workplaces, for example. And deals will come up with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down feature so that a person tired of seeing Pilates deals can click thumbs-down to keep similar offers from popping up again or indicate a preference to receive additional, similar deals.

This is the first time Groupon has attempted to have a paid product, as its current e-mail service is free to customers.

Groupon testing VIP program [Chicago Tribune]

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  1. caradrake says:

    Before I bought a couple of Groupons last year, a Groupon rep assured me that if the voucher expired, I could get refunded in Groupon credit. She said it was part of their guarantee. When I actually tried to get that guarantee, I was told that I couldn’t get a refund but that the company would honor the list price. So I’d have to fork over more money to use the voucher.

    I do not think I will pay extra money to get this guarantee. I wouldn’t want to get to that point and then get told that that is no longer the policy and I’m out more money.

  2. valleyval says:

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that they posted huge losses in the previous quarter…

  3. crazydavythe1st says:

    I wouldn’t pay for it. They should offer it frequent flyer style to those that are frequent customers.

  4. richcreamerybutter says:

    I don’t partake in Groupon-style retail models, and the potential personal time/energy drain involved with the program above just makes the option of “not buying things” even more appealing!

  5. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I really love Groupon, but I often times find it’s more of an irritant than ever to use. But it seems like they allow the participating businesses to word the exclusions, and thusly it’s become common when I’ve gone to use a Groupon and been told “oh, but we don’t allow that.” When what they REALLY mean is “OH um, well that’s not what we meant.”

    I don’t care what you meant, I care what you wrote. I just wish things were a bit more standardized.

  6. AllanG54 says:

    I don’t use Groupon but…if the deal is sold out and some “VIPs” can still get in on it, that means that 1) the merchant is getting screwed over because Groupon is selling more than they’re supposed to or 2) that they’re holding back some deals to begin with so they can fulfill their obligation to the VIP crowd. Either way, doesn’t seem ethical.

    • scoosdad says:

      Sort of like Ticketmaster having some kind of VIP program that costs extra, so you can buy tickets to sold out shows. Ether it’s sold out or it isn’t. To tell the 99% that it is, and slip the other 1% their tickets, is just unfair.

    • caradrake says:

      I bet groupon can get away with it because they’ll tell the merchant that “If you sell 1000 groupons, our statistics show that 100 will never be redeemed.”

    • FatLynn says:

      Airlines have been doing this for years. Gold or platinum flyers have far more options for redeeming miles than regular flyers.

  7. DrPizza says:

    Who’s going to go out of business first? Groupon or Best Buy? Let’s call it a race! I’d wager on groupon.

  8. neilb says:

    Huh. How much teeth whitening does one person really need?
    Between all of my massages, tanning sessions, brazilian waxings, dancing lessons, and $3 muffins, I don’t have time for any more essential deals.
    I have noticed almost nothing recently on any daily deal site that I want and that hasn’t been offered a hundred times already. Where are the restaurants and local attractions?

  9. jiubreyn says:

    A Groupon customer would have to participate in quite a few deals throughout the year for this to be beneficial. I can imagine with a proposed title of VIP, the subscription fee won’t be cheap. Not worth it.. IMHO.

  10. FrugalFreak says:

    maybe but only if it were fantastic deals like Amazon gift cards, or for major national chains.