Groupon’s “Salebration” Leads To Confused, Voucherless Customers

Image courtesy of (Groupon)

Groupon is running a shady deal, readers told us. They recently sent a 20% off coupon code to customers, promising 20% off a local deal. Neat. Jenny nabbed three $12 vouchers for a local store, spending only $18. Yet her 20% coupon only got her a discount of $1.20. She was disappointed that it was only taking ten percent off, and complained to Groupon and to us. The deal, it turns out, wasn’t shady at all.


“They sent me a response back that sounded like they didn’t even read my email, and of course they didn’t fix it,” she wrote to Consumerist. “Thought their customers should know.”

We conferred with Groupon’s media relations, and learned what really happened here. First, the coupon can only apply to one voucher; she bought three. A lot of customers probably missed that bit of fine print.

Here’s where the misunderstanding comes in, though: $1.20 is 20% off. That’s the discount that she’s getting off the amount that she paid for the Groupon, not the redeemable value at the store.

Things got confusing when we heard from Meghan, who was trying to use the same fab coupon to buy some kayak lessons. She got 20% off one lesson. That would be fair, and well within the rules of this sale, except for how this particular deal works. Instead of buying a single voucher that gets her four lessons, it’s set up so that each hour is a separate voucher, and the minimum purchase possible is 4.


That wouldn’t be a problem, except that the policy where you can only use the coupon on one voucher still applies. “I’m not a math whiz,” she wrote to Consumerist, “but I was thinking 20% off of 40.00 would be closer to $32.00 or $8.00 off?” Your math teachers did well: that is what the deal was supposed to be.

We’re still waiting to hear back from Groupon about Meghan’s deal. We’ll update this post when we hear something back. Update: Groupon’s media relations team agrees with Meghan and with Consumerist, and will give her the 20% off discount on all four vouchers. Yay!

If you run into the same problem, Groupon says to simply contact them:

If anyone else has an unusual circumstance such as the boat deal where multiple vouchers make up a single unit, we’ll make it right. They just have to reach out to us at

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