Bad news for the 5,000 consumers that recently purchased a Living Social spa-day at Austin-based Salon 505. According to employees interviewed by KXAN, the salon is being reported to have closed this past weekend. The full story is here.
Long story short, many speculate the closure is a result of not being able to meet the demand that was generated by a recent Living Social deal that the salon offered. Whatever the case, it’s a shame to see a long-time local business close, especially if it is for reasons appearing to be preventable.
On behalf of BBB, we have no evidence as to whether or not the Living Social coupon is what actually forced the close, but we hope to help other businesses use this as a learning opportunity about the importance of weighing the pros and cons of group buying sites. We also want to use this as an opportunity to remind consumers of the importance of reading the fine print of every online deal (or any purchase) before you pay.
The good news here is that it seems Living Social is being very responsive to the consumers who purchased this spa deal and now are unable to use it. Ironically enough, BBB’s Dispute Resolution manager, Jana Starr, purchased the deal back in January and was sad to hear yesterday that she wouldn’t be able to use it.
Being the savvy consumer she is, Jana knew she should try to review the Living Social terms & conditions (the fine print!) on their website. In doing so, she was happy to find that the company states they will pay a full refund in the event that a merchant goes out of business. Jana was able to quickly call Living Social yesterday and get a representative on the phone to help her. She was reassured that she would be given a full reimbursement and she received an email in less than 10 minutes to double-confirm that her request was being processed. The email explained that she’d have her money back into her account within 3-5 days. Now that is quick customer service!
All in all, this is a great reminder for everyone using group buying sites to be careful to understand how each site works, find out when refunds are applicable, and all in all, to make sure we truly read the fine print! It is there for a reason and can really come in handy if you’re ever in a bind like Jana.
If you also purchased this deal and need to get a refund, you can reach a live Living Social representative from 8am-8pm EST (Monday-Friday) at 877.521.4191 or submit a help request by visiting help.livingsocial.com and clicking ‘Submit a Help Request’.
Let us know if you have had a different experience or if you have any questions!