I’ll admit it; I get suckered in by those online deal sites. I get the daily email and check the sites before trying a new restaurant or even sometimes before going to see a movie at my favorite theater. And, every so often, I have to separate myself from the computer when I see that oh-so-amazing deal on that place I’ve never heard of that’s only available for five more hours!
As great as some of the bargains are, Better Business Bureau recommends consumers research the deals before buying. Some have complained to BBB that they were unable to redeem their coupons due to fine-print restrictions or because the company had gone out of business. Sometimes the deals are not as great as first believed or the quality of the service leaves much to be desired.
Most of the time, however, consumers lose money by buying coupons they never redeem.
Some of the more popular online deal sites offer refunds for service not provided or other protections for consumers, but as more sites pop up seemingly overnight, you might have trouble keeping up with the terms and conditions for each coupon.
If you simply can’t pass up an online bargain, BBB recommends taking the following precautions:
- Read the fine print. Know the refund policies of the site you’re buying from and read the details of each coupon before you purchase it.
- Get to know the company. If you’re buying a coupon for a company you haven’t dealt with previously, do a little research. Call the company to ensure it’s still in business and check the BBB Business Review online to make sure it’s reputable.
- Be ready to pass on a good deal. If you can’t find any information on the company in the required time frame or you’re unsure you will be able to redeem a coupon, don’t buy it. There will be other deals in the future.
- Buy what you know. Only buy coupons for places you regularly visit or places you’ve considered going. This increases the chances you’ll actually use the coupon you’ve paid for.