Massage coupon from Living Social stretches man's patience to the limit

Tue, Oct 16, 2012, 01:00

IN MAY A reader by the name of Michael bought a massage voucher from Living Social for Bodyzone in Limerick. He is not a happy man today.

He says he rang Bodyzone in June to make an appointment and was told that the massage therapist could not take any appointments as he had injured his hand.

He left his phone number and waited for a call back. It never came. He went on holidays in June and then in August he rang Bodyzone again and left messages. The deal then expired and he is now down €38.

He contacted Living Social last week seeking a refund but the online coupon site was quick to wash its hands of the deal saying that, as he had contacted it after the expiry of the voucher, there was nothing it could do to help them.

We called Bodyzone ourselves and the owner said that he was not able to give our reader his money back as Living Social had it.

He said that unless the voucher was redeemed, he did not get paid. He assured us he would contact our reader to arrange a massage. “We will sort it out. It will be grand,” he said.

The idea that Living Social could wash its hands of the matter, despite the fact that it was the company with his money, is troubling and reflects a growing sense of unease about the way all deal sites operate.

Earlier this summer the National Consumer Agency (NCA) said it was reviewing online deal sites as public dissatisfaction with the level of service offered by some providers has risen sharply in recent months.

According to its research, 33 per cent of people who bought something through an online deal site said they had a reason to be dissatisfied.

The main reasons given for not being happy with a purchase were “poor service delivery and poor product quality”, with 34 per cent highlighting these as an area of concern.

A further 18 per cent of users complained retailers could not provide services when required or highlighted delivery delays.

*This article was amended on October 17th, 2012 to correct a factual error

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