Deals too good to be true, warns Choice

BARGAIN hunters have been warned to be wary of "coupon sites" such as Scoopon, Cudo, LivingSocial, Spreets and Groupon.

The boom in the Australian sites comes as the popularity of their US equivalents begins to wane because of growing shopper discontent.

Consumer group Choice has now warned online coupon shoppers to keep a keen eye on expiry dates, and deals that are too good to be true. The consumer group has also received complaints from coupon buyers claiming second-class service.

Choice member Jon Park was disappointed with discount go-kart vouchers he bought online. Mr Park said he was treated poorly and forced to wait behind full-paying customers. "This is very unfair and unjust," he said.

The new online players have also been criticised over inaccurate advertising, refusals of refunds and hidden terms and conditions.

Thousands of Australian consumers are flocking to the growing coupon sites. Deals range from $1 ten-pin bowling and $29 manicures to $49 banquet feasts for two.

Melbourne-based website Scoopon claims to be the most popular local online coupon mailer with more than a million subscribers. Scoopon general manager Jon Beros said the site had sold 1.3 million deals and 1 per cent of sales had attracted customer complaints.

Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said: "Certainly it is important to be aware of the expiry dates and to ask yourself if you are getting caught up in the excitement of the deal, rather than if you need the deal."


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