FTD.com and Groupon have pulled a national $40-for-$20 Groupon voucher a day early after numerous purchasers complained that prices were unfairly high. People who bought the Valentine's Day offer were primarily upset because they were directed to the campaign's site, FTD.com/groupon, where prices were in some cases higher than ones seen on FTD.com.
Indeed, they believed the deal wasn't much of a deal at all.
The three-day offer went live on Wednesday, and it didn't take online viewers long to enter Groupon's forums with virtual pitchforks in hand. Here's a post from Wednesday morning on the group-buying platform's community board:
This Groupon is a RIP-OFF!!! You get a $10 discount on a dozen roses by going directly to the FTD site. If you go through the Groupon link (so that you can redeem the voucher) the price is $10 more! Shame on you Groupon."
When contacted on Thursday by ClickZ, Groupon spokesperson Julie Mossler recognized that the two different sites had created confusion among consumers. In an e-mailed message today, she stated that customer complaints had gotten out of hand and the campaign was over.
Groupon has worked on the issues with FTD, and now the terms and conditions have changed to appease the upset buyers. They can now use the voucher for all items on FTD.com, even discounted products. FTD has set up a phone line specifically for Groupon customer care (855-645-6214) to deal with the outcries. For those who already purchased items via FTD.com/groupon that were priced lower on FTD.com, the floral site will issue a refund to the credit card used. The dollar sum will represent the difference between the price at which items were purchased and the FTD.com sale price.
Customers can also e-mail email@example.com to get Groupon.com credit or a refund. "We understand that it is confusing and upsetting to a number of people--especially since you expect a great deal from us every time," noted a Groupon e-mail to its customers about the FTD offer.
Downers Grove, IL-based FTD Group Inc. issued a prepared statement apologizing for confusing consumers who wanted to combine the voucher with discounts. "In working with Groupon, we decided to provide these customers with a unique opportunity to benefit from both the Groupon $20 bonus plus other discounts on products available at FTD.com," said Rob Apatoff, president of the 100-year-old company.
The unfortunate development caps off a tumultuous week for Groupon. The Chicago-based company found itself potentially tarnished by a consumer backlash against its Super Bowl commercials from Sunday. Late yesterday, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason published a blog post announcing the TV spots were being shelved.
"We will run something less polarizing instead," he said. "We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn't come through."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
March 19, 2014