Discount shopping website Groupon has been reprimanded by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over concerns that it has breached consumer protection laws. The firm must now adhere to a set of commitments to improve its customer service.
In this article, we explain why Groupon has been investigated by the CMA, what commitments it has made and how you can request a refund for unsatisfactory goods or services.
Why has Groupon been investigated by the CMA?
After the CMA launched an enforcement investigation earlier this year, the regulator contacted Groupon in August to ask it to sign a set of formal commitments - known as “undertakings” - to ensure that it operated within the remit of the UK’s consumer protection laws.
In particular, Groupon was required to address concerns that it was not responding “satisfactorily” to customer complaints and was failing to offer refunds and replacement items when customers were legally entitled, as well as inaccurate product descriptions, late deliveries and poor quality items. For example, the CMA noted instances where customers who had not been provided with the goods they had paid for were offered Groupon credits instead of refunds.
The CMA confirmed this week that Groupon has agreed to the undertakings and has committed to offering full refunds to customers who were dissatisfied with their products or services. Anyone who is owed a refund from Groupon will be offered one within the next 7 days.
This is not the first time Groupon has found itself answering to the regulators, however. Back in 2012, the firm agreed to “change some of its business practices” after a similar investigation found it was misleading customers and breaching consumer protection laws over product descriptions and refund rights.
What are the commitments that Groupon must uphold?
As well as committing to offering all eligible customers a full refund within the next 7 days, Groupon must also adhere to the following:
- A banner must be visible on the homepage of the Groupon website and app for the next 60 days outlining details on full refunds.
- Any future complaints will be acknowledged within 24 hours and addressed within 14 days.
- Descriptions of goods and services on the Groupon website and app will be accurate.
- A new team will be set up to investigate deals when a certain number of customers contact Groupon with concerns about their purchase.
- Mystery shopping exercises will be carried out to ensure Groupon upholds its commitment.
- Orders will not be able to be placed unless products are in stock and services are available.
In order to ensure that Groupon adheres to its commitments, the firm has also stated that it will appoint its own compliance officer who will be responsible for “ensuring Groupon adheres to the new undertakings”. The officer will regularly report to the CMA on its progress.
How to request a Groupon refund
Certain customers may now request a full refund from Groupon. These include those that did not receive delivery of their purchased items and whose goods were not of “satisfactory quality” or did not match advertised descriptions.
You can contact Groupon to request a full refund on its website by following the steps below:
- Go to the Groupon website or app.
- Click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab at the bottom of the page.
- Login to your Groupon account or enter the contact details of your guest purchase.
- Select the order for which you'd like a refund.
- Click on ‘Request a Refund’.
- Select your refund reason.
- Confirm your decision.
Groupon states that refunds to the original form of payment may take 5-7 days to reach your account.