Is the advertised price too good to be true? Yes. (Part 1 of 2)
Sometimes an advertised "sale" price isn't as much of a deal as it's made out to be. Other times, the price you are offered turns out to be such a good deal that the seller doesn't want to honor it. This week, I have reports on recent examples of both sides of this "too good to be true" coin.
First, the advertisement that exaggerates the "regular" price and the discount being offered:
In December, Groupon advertised a one-day online sale on vouchers, each voucher redeemable for a package including:
- 2 airline tickets around the world;
- 3 excursions along the way with a "value" of up to $500 for each excursion; and
- miscellaneous bells and whistles including a steamer trunk(!), 2 safari hats, in-flight food and drink, and one piece per person of checked baggage on each of the flights.
You might think that the "Groupon" name implies that customers are getting a discount in exchange for a group purchase, but this was anything but a "group" deal: Two coach/economy-class vouchers (each good for a pair of tickets) were offered for US$10,000 per voucher, and one business-class voucher for US$20,000.
All three of the vouchers Groupon offered were sold, including a coach-class voucher bought by Melissa and Trevor, a couple in Santa Fe planning to use them for their honeymoon trip around the world later this year.
Neither the coach nor the business-class price of the Groupon package was a terrible deal compared to the regular prices of its components.
What's problematic are the claims on Groupon's Web site that the $10,000 coach-class voucher had a value of $20,000 and was an "Epic Deal" being offered at a 50% discount.
In fact, as discussed below, this was at best a US$15,000 (not $20,000 as advertised) value in coach class, and at best a 33% (not 50% as advertised) discount from the normal price.
How much would this package have cost without the Groupon?Posted by Edward, 30 January 2012, 18:33