The Un-buy dilemma

If you are an online/tele shopper, answer this question – How often have you bought something on impulse and then immediately felt a pang of guilt rush through your heart as you swipe your credit card? Many times than often is the answer, right?

Have you ordered something looking at a fabulous picture online that only turned out to be its cheap surrogate sister on arrival.

Well, we all make mistakes. But the comfort lies in the power to undo them. So in case it is a wrong buying decision, the question is how easy is it to un-buy the purchase?!

I recently un-bought something on the all popular shopping online shopping website Groupon in Dubai. I must say it was a surprising experience! I am writing this to get the good word out – not everything is wrong with these online shopping portals.

Groupon has clearly listed out its cancellation and refund policy on its website at the this link:

And just to add to that, my personal experience  is here:

I had bought a voucher for a certain hair treatment that I was considering taking for quite some time and this deal was offering a 60% discount. However, after checking with my hair stylist I concluded that this treatment wasn’t good for my hair. But then, I forgot about the vouchers. I only remembered about it 3 weeks after the date of purchase.

As per the Groupon website, you can claim refund in case of service purchases made less than 7 days ago. Older purchases are dealt on a “case to case” basis. My first attempt was to call the service provider and check if they were willing to give me an alternative treatment for the voucher price , but obviously they declined. So I called the customer care at Groupon. I did not have to go through a long IVR and neither wait very long before my call was answered by a customer care execute. I explained my case to him and he could pull up my record in a matter of seconds.

He told me that their company policy says to only offer refunds in case of genuine problems or inability to take the service on the part of the buyer. He said I will have to submit some “documents” to prove my case. He was meaning a physicians certificate or something. And here is where your selling skills come into play. I haggled and haggled with no solid ground, just pushing the fact that I hadn’t used the voucher yet and I should be allowed to cancel it. After 5-6 minutes, he gave me a diplomatic reply saying that he has sent me an email to which I had to reply with the necessary details. And also, in case a refund is granted, it will be in the form of Groupon credits. Alright. Something is better than nothing.

Now, the email was already in my inbox as I disconnected the call. Surprisingly, it had no mention  of any “documents” required. It just asked me to specify the “exact reason” for claiming refund.

So I shot out a reply giving 3 “management consultant style” reasons, one of which was that I hadn’t used the vouchers yet. Not attaching any “documents”. Within a couple of hours, I got a response from them saying that my request had been forwarded to the refunds department and they will get back to me within 48 hours, with confirmation on weather my request had been approved. This was not a confirmation of refund, but only acknowledgement of receipt. However, to my very pleasant surprise, they did get back to me within 48 hours (well, in the 48th hour) approving my request and the amount was instantly credited to my Groupon account. This surely got them few brownie points over their online rivals in my books.

Kudos to the prompt customer service Groupon team!