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Groupon UK faces OFT investigation

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Complaints regarding Groupon UK adverts are being referred to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over "serious concerns" of its ability to adhere to the Advertising Code.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) revealed that it had formally probed and upheld complaints on 11 occasions this year, as well as informally resolving 37 cases.

According to the ASA, it is to refer complaints that "specifically concern" a failure to carry out promotions fairly, such as not clarifying significant terms and conditions.

A failure to supply evidence that particular offers are available and exaggerated claims of the likely savings are also among the complaints that will be referred to the OFT.

An OFT spokesperson said: "It is in the public interest that we refer the matter to the OFT, the OFT being better placed to address any underlying issues concerning Groupon's trading practices generally."

In response, a Groupon UK spokesperson said: "Groupon constantly strives for business practices that are in the best interest of consumers.

"We are constantly evolving business process to ensure customers receive the best possible experience at the highest standards. We are cooperating fully with the OFT to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected."

It comes as the Telegraph reported how families visited York's Winter Wonderland for a half-price offer from Groupon that came with a promise of a "magical train ride"

According to the newspaper, Groupon apologised for mixing up the Winter Wonderland in York with a similar attraction in Hull after it emerged there were no rides or attractions.

Responding through its Twitter account, Groupon said: "Groupon offered Winter Wonderland a cap on the deal, which they declined."

For more about group discount deals, see Spa Business Issue 4 2011, p.24

Image: Juan Camilo Bernal/shutterstock.com

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Complaints regarding Groupon UK adverts are being referred to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over "serious concerns" of its ability to adhere to the Advertising Code.
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