ConsumerWatch: Websites Help Voice Daily Deal Complaints

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – A new website is helping frustrated consumers complain about daily deals that didn’t work out the way they had hoped.

Vouchercomplaints.org has a letter writing tool that helps consumers craft a well-constructed complaint to any daily deal company, such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Bloomspot. Users fill in the blanks, and the site constructs a letter that cites consumer laws in your state that will help back up your claim.

Users also check a box indicating what action they’d like the daily deal company to take to make it right.

Vouchercomplaints.org co-founder Ben Edelman told ConsumerWatch that the most common complaints have to do deals that have expired before the consumer could use them.

Here in California, user’s letters often end up citing a reference to the state’s gift card law. Edelman and other consumer advocates believe the state’s gift card protections also apply to daily deals.

If Edelman’s interpretation is correct, daily deals cannot expire, and merchants are required to redeem them for full face value after the posted “expiration date.” It’s a theory that will likely be tested in court soon. Edelman said there are about a dozen lawsuits pending against daily deal sites which could determine which consumer protections apply.

Edelman said consumers shouldn’t hesitate to complain about daily deal. He said the sites have a responsibility to consumers.

“Typically they say ‘you’re getting such a good deal – don’t ask for more, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,’ to which I say, ‘you know, consumers had to fight for decades to get these protections. Don’t be in such a hurry to discard them,’” Edelman said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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