Groupon UK forced to change practices following OFT investigation | Leisure Opportunities
Leaderboard
Job Search
see all jobs
Latest job opportunities
Wycombe District Council
£40,702 to £46,729 pa with progression based on performance
High Wycombe, United Kingdom
Becky Adlington's Swim Stars
Up to 25-28.5K and PRP dependent on experience
Manchester, United Kingdom
star job
Anytime fitness
£22k - £25K based on experience
Leigh, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Celtic Manor Resort
Competitive
Newport, United Kingdom
star job
The Royal Parks
£20,580 - £23,860
London, United Kingdom

Groupon UK forced to change practices following OFT investigation

Job opportunities
FACEGYM
Competitive plus commission
location: London, United Kingdom
The Old Course Hotel
OTE - £24,000
location: St Andrews, United Kingdom
Bedruthan - The Scarlet
Competitive and perks
location: Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, United Kingdom
more jobs

Daily discount voucher company Groupon has been found to be breaking UK consumer rules and has been given three months to change and improve its practices.

An investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found "widespread examples" of Groupon's practices which in the OFT's view breached consumer protection regulations.

Announcing the findings of its investigation today (16 March) the OFT said it has specific concerns over practices involving reference pricing, advertising, refunds, unfair terms, and the diligence of its interactions with merchants. The OFT has now set a July deadline for Groupon to undertake changes in its practices to comply with UK law.

The OFT has demanded that: • Reference prices (adverts that compare an original reference price against a sale price), including savings, are accurate, honest and transparent. • Groupon carries out an accurate, honest and realistic assessment of a merchant's ability to provide goods or services in the quantity or time frame suggested.

• Products display clearly, prominently and on the same screen or before purchase all the limitations which apply to any deal. • Groupon takes reasonable steps to ensure that health or beauty product claims are supported by adequate substantiation.

• Terms and conditions are fair. • Groupon applies refunds policies and cancellation rights in accordance with the Distance Selling Regulations.

In a statement, the OFT added that it will monitor complaint numbers closely and has required Groupon to inform the OFT of any complaints it receives on each of these practices. OFT didn't rule out legal action against Groupon if the company fails to follow its instructions.

A statement said: "Should evidence emerge of a breach of any of these undertakings, the OFT will consider appropriate measures, including applying to court for enforcement orders." Groupon responded to the news with a lengthy statement on the company blog, admitting the breaches and apologising to customers who had "experienced the negative side effects" of the company's growth.

"We believe that the only way to build a company that lasts is to provide the best customer experience in the world, and it pains us when we fall short," it said. The statement also lists each point of concern highlighted by the OFT and how Groupon plans to rectify the issues. The OFT investigation was launched in July 2011 following complaints from consumers. In December 2011 Groupon was also referred to the OFT. by the Advertising Standards Authority following its finding of multiple breaches of UK advertising codes.

For more about group discount deals and their impact on the leisure industry, see Spa Business Issue 4 2011, p.24 Image: Juan Camilo Bernal/shutterstock.com

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Daily discount voucher company Groupon has been found to be breaking UK consumer rules and has been given three months to change and improve its business practices.
EAG,HHR,HOT,RST,SAB,SAM,TAW,VAT
240300_58377.gif
employer of choice
John Treharne, CEO, The Gym Group
Would you like to work for a gym operator that allows you to develop and use your skills to the full whilst being well rewarded? The Gym is totally committed to allowing 'the manager to manage' and rewarding our key personnel for delivery.