Adventures with Groupon customer support.

This Christmas, I bought more items online than I have ever done in the past. I’m not much of a shopper, so when I think of a gift idea, I buy it immediately online if possible. Usually, it works like a charm.

But not always.

This year, I encountered my biggest online shopping fear — what happens if you buy something from Groupon, and it doesn’t work out?

I don’t mean Groupons for local businesses, but actual consumer goods.

In early December, my wife saw an item from Groupon — three watches for $79.99 (regular retail price was listed as $77,890, or something bogus like that). Knowing what a dismal shopper I am, she pointed them out to me, and gently suggested (Wife: “Buy this for me.”) that they would make a nice gift. So, within minutes of her gentle “suggestion”, I ordered the watches. And so began my Groupon ordeal.

At first, all went well. A package arrived from Groupon on Dec. 12. I opened it up, and inside were two glittering watches. Trouble was, I bought three.

This was not good. I went to the Groupon website to look for a phone number to call, but, being a cutting edge online company, no phone number was listed. So I went online and registered my concern. Two days later, I received this email.

Hi Maurice,

I’m really sorry about the trouble, and I’m trying to find a solution as soon as possible. I’ll be sure to update you within the next few days with any progress (and hopefully some good news).

If you need anything in the meantime, please let me know.

Regards,

Craig
Groupon Customer Support

OK, so far, so good. Craig is on the case. But not for long.

Four days later, I received this email:

Hi Maurice,

I have to apologize for the delay in response here. We’ve been inundated with an unusually high email volume and are working to respond to inquiries as fast as we can.

Thank you so much for your patience. I just want to let you know that we haven’t forgotten about this issue! We are still working hard to find a resolution and will be in touch again soon with more details.

In the meantime, if you need anything else, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Regards,

Annima S
Groupon Customer Support

So now Annima is on the case. Four days have passed, and my chances of getting this problem rectified by Christmas seem remote.

Three days later, Dec, 20th, I sent a reply. It was not my best writing.

Well, I’m actually out of patience. One reply after another saying ‘gee, we’re busy’ is not a response. I’m still waiting for a real answer….

Well, that seemed to light a fire under the Groupon people. That same day, I got this message:

Hi Maurice,

I just wanted to give you an update. I’ve been working hard on this, but I’m afraid we still don’t have a resolution quite yet. I’m not giving up, but I understand if you don’t want to wait much longer. If we can’t fix this soon, I’ll find another way to take care of this for you.

Regards,

Dinesh V
Groupon Customer Support

So now I’ve gone from Craig to Annima to Dinesh. At least Dinesh was ‘working hard’ on the situation.

By now, I am passed being unhappy and into the realm of furious. Here’s my reply to hard-working Dinesh.

Well, there is only one option. Send me the missing watch. This is very frustrating. I’m guessing that Groupon thinks I’m pulling a fast one and pretending one watch is missing. But I’m not … it was for three watches, and I only got two.

STILL later that same day, hard-working Dinesh is no longer on the case, and it has been handed over to Nivedhitha E. He (or she) will get to the bottom of this, right? Here’s what she (he?) wrote.

Hi Maurice,

I’m so sorry that this happened. Unfortunately, we don’t have any additional shipping details regarding your order.

However, according to your tracking number, it appears the product was delivered. I would recommend checking with your neighbors or others who might have accepted the package on your behalf to see if one of them has it.

If you’re unable to locate the package, you can try contacting the shipping service, in this case UPS, to see if they can provide you with a signature confirmation or more specifics regarding where the item was delivered. They may be able to help you track down the delivery, or provide another solution.

Again, I’m very sorry for this inconvenience. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Regards,

Nivedhitha E
Groupon Customer Support

Oh, my. It appears Nivedhitha thinks I didn’t get the package at all. Now, I’m really steamed. At 3:18 on Dec. 20th, I wrote this barely coherent reply.

I DID get the package. It was a selection of THREE watches, and I got only TWO in the package. I explained all of this in previous emails. You guys didn’t send me all three watches!!

You can tell I’m angry by the use of exclamation points, which I almost never use! At 3:59, I get this email from — and I am not making this up — Boobesh.

Hi Maurice,

After investigating, it seems that we won’t be able to provide you with what’s missing. I’m very sorry about this incomplete order, and I want to make sure you’re taken care of from here.

If you want to keep what you received as-is, I would be happy to issue $5.00 in Groupon Bucks to your account to make up for any missing parts. Otherwise, you can return your purchase for a full refund. Just let me know the date the item was delivered. As long as you contacted us within 14 days of receiving the product, I can authorize your return and provide you with a prepaid mailing label.

Again, I’m really sorry about this trouble. Please let me know if you need further help and I’ll be happy to assist.

Regards,

Boobesh D.
Groupon Customer Support

Well, Boob old buddy, this was not a good response. I wrote:

Are you kidding??? FIVE DOLLARS for a missing WATCH??? Are you trying to insult me? I spent $79.99 for three watches, I got only two, and you’re offering me FIVE DOLLARS?? This is totally unacceptable. This was my Christmas gift for my wife.
Next time I hear from you I want to hear from a supervisor, with a REAL offer on what to do about this. I like the other two watches, and would like to keep them. But I need some real compensation for the missing watch.

Now, you can see I’ve pulled out the anger card, the sympathy card (it’s a gift for my poor, poor wife!) and the ‘let me speak to your supervisor’ card. And I’m using CAPS! And multiple punctuation marks!!! I’m being a bit of a jerk, I know, but c’mon… $5 for a watch?

I send that email at 10:59 pm. By 11:06, I got a response. Sadly, Boobesh is no longer on the case. I might have got him fired.

Hi Maurice,

My sincere apologies for the inconvenience.

I would be happy to issue $25 in Groupon Bucks to your account to make up for any missing watch. Otherwise, you can return your purchase for a full refund. Just let me know the date the item was delivered. As long as you contacted us within 14 days of receiving the product, I can authorize your return and provide you with a prepaid mailing label.

Again, I’m really sorry about this trouble. Please let me know if you need further help and I’ll be happy to assist.

Regards,

Abirami M.
Groupon Customer Support

So now, after dealing with Craig and Annima and Dinesh and Nivedhitha and of course, Boobesh, Abirami makes me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Well, I could refuse it, but at least it’s reasonable. I give in, take the Groupon bucks, and vow never to by something from Groupon again.

Later, I get another email from Groupon customer support, asking me if I was ‘satisfied’ or ‘unsatisfied’ with their help.

This blog will serve as my response.

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