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LivingSocial.com / merchant complaint

1 MN, United States Review updated:

We are a merchant who signed up to provide spa services. After having to discount our service 50% up front and then give Living Social a 30% (it's increased to 50% now) cut of that money our profit margin was very slim but we were encouraged by potentially having some new business come through the doors. We ran the ad in Sept. 2010 and had great success, so we thought.

The problem is the deal expired on the 31st of December and many people waited until the last minute to try and book their voucher. The voucher was sold subject to availability from the get go and people knew it expired at the end of the year. As we became booked solid first week in December though the rest of the year there were about 60 people who still hadn't booked a service and they have begun to call for appointments.

Now we are stuck holding the bag and drawing the line for those who waited until the last minute. As a business owner we don’t want to turn away people but at the same time to extend the deal would cost us money to continue to pay staff for a deal that was to end in 2010.

Living Social got their money and now after several attempts to figure out a deal they won't call us back. Either way we are the ones who now look bad.
Our other issue is the fact most people who bought a voucher are looking for the deal and do not tip accordingly. This was $180 in services for $75 and many people tip $5-10 which really irritates the staff. These people for the most part do not book again and are never to be heard of. They are also so demanding they have snuffed out our existing clientele almost altogether. Then we find out that a state law requires us to at a minimum allow a credit for the cost of the voucher for the next 5 years, something we were never told by Living Social.

Bottom line is this was NOT a good deal for anyone but Living Social. If you are a business stay away especially if you are a service based, appointment based company. I could see it work just fine in the restaurant industry but not our industry.

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Comments

  • Md
      10th of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    We too are a Living Social merchant and we too have had nothing but horribles experiences with them. In the begining they were great becasue they wanted us to run however after the deal ran they would not return calls when we had problems and left us to fend for ourselves. Numerous emails and calls have gone without a response from them and we have been left holding the bag. They give refunds to customers who have received the service from us and L.S. never even bothers to ask us if the refund should be made. Then the kicker is that they are withholding in excess of 20, 000.00 due us for work performed on the basis that customers complained and they had to refund the money. This is a horrible deal for merchants. They even lured us in at one point as a reference for some other poor sucker company. God help them!

  • Fl
      31st of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    DO NOT RECOMMEND LIVING SOCIAL TO ANY BUSINESS OWNER ESPECIALLY RESTAURANT!! i ran the special $15 for $30 for my restaurant. before we signed up, the salesperson described the deal as introducing new customers to experience the restaurant which sounded wonderful. we ended up selling over 2000 coupons not knowing that living social allowed up to 10 coupons people can purchase at one time. tell me how that is introducing new customers to the restaurant~!!! if they can limit one or two per customer that would be more reasonable. none of their staff came to me to ask me how i wanted to do it or if i needed a limitation on the coupons such as when customers can use it or how many we want them to buy. i tried to work it out with them but the lady i talked to kept threaten me that i will lose the money which i was supposed get 60% of the total sales, they make 40% for that for doing pretty much NOTHING. this company is a scam, all they want is for you to sign up and work your butt off while they try to sell as many coupons as much as possible. they are very money oriented and don't give a crap about their customers (me, as a vendor). the staff are very unprofessional and will not try to make you happy. I spoke with 'michelle' from DC, all she said was either move on with the coupon and cancel the deal which means i will not get any money back. she even accused me of not mentioning what i want with their salesperson. how would i think of that when i have million things to do and it's supposed to be their job!! very unprofessional and will never deal with livingsocail ever again. BUSINESS OWNERS PLEASE THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU SIGN UP. VERY UNPROFESSIONAL STAFF AND BAD ORGANIZATION AND YOU WILL LOSE MONEY DEALING WITH THIS COMPANY.

  • No
      11th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    I am a manager of a restaurant in maryland.One day a customer gave me a voucher and i couldn't redeem it with an Ipad from living social company. I tell that customer to contact Living Social for the problem. You know, customer care from livingsocial called me and told me to tell customer to call them. Then I gave the customer care no. to my customer. The customer care told my customer that I don't know how to redeem it. It's impossible that I dont' know I can't redeem it because this is not the first voucher that I ever redeem .We have restaurant deal for a month and my server know the voucher and they know how to redeem it .It took more than an hour for my customer to talk with Living Social. My customer angry and disappointed so I call livingSocial again . They tranfer my call to merchant service and let me talk with Michelle (I don't understand why they have only one Merchant service position). Instead of help Michelle asked me " Do you know what different between Daily deal and instant deal"? I said "Yes ." with positive thinking, and then she asked " Can you tell me what it different" ? This question made me absolutely Mad and I can't stand it . I dont' know why she dont' know what is her duty . I ask for help but she ask me back ? She thinks I am confused between both deal, but if I really confused and need help she must tell me if I don't understand something. I hang up and call to the customer care to check the vouccher no. Guess what, Living Social refund the money to the customer already! So ? What 's next ? how about the bill that my customer just have. I have to call the merchant service again and tell them that I dont' wanna talk with Michelle because she can't help. I recommend to let customers talk to the Living Social customer care by themselves and tell them that LivingSocial will refund the money for you.

  • Ma
      10th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    Wish I had found your compliant before I signed up. We too are a day spa. We ran a coupon for $30($63 value) LS took 50% of the profit, we got $15.00 per guest. They sold 345 gift cards which was overwhelming to our business. The guest call wanting in that same day and get upset when we tell them we are booked 3 week out. They never tell us they have a coupon, as required, when booking; don’t tip and like you said don’t intend to return, they only want a “deal”. They will just go on to the next one down the street. Because we are so booked with these discounted services, our loyal guest are having a hard time getting in to us. This type of sdvertising is killing the small businesses, we are already struggling and then a company like Living Social, Groupon, Deal Chicken comes in and feeds off of us. As small business owners we need to ban together and refuse to continue making them RICH off of our hard work.

  • Ba
      26th of Oct, 2011
    0 Votes

    DO NOT DO THIS. YOU MAY NOT GET PAID BY LIVING SOCIAL. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. I own a children's (yes, they have no qualms about screwing over even the little ones) clothing store and after terms, have NOT gotten paid (because they must think I'm in the business of giving merchandise away for free?). I have sought legal counsel (which costs MORE money). I have attempted to contact both my rep as well as my "merchant" rep with no response. If I am not paid quickly here, I will be assuming this is a breech of contract and will consider our contract null and void.

  • Re
      1st of Dec, 2011
    0 Votes

    Rip off, unfair, false and misleading. Fair Trading should shut them down.

  • Co
      11th of Apr, 2012
    0 Votes

    Still trying to get a refund. Will never use again.

  • Li
      15th of May, 2012
    0 Votes

    They are absolutely Horrible! I would not use and not recommend!

  • Me
      12th of Nov, 2012
    0 Votes

    METCHANTS BEWARE!!! LS is not for the small business merchants. if you own a chain /franchise this may work for you. My business is a day spa.. Merchants are actually getting the raw end of the deal. LS takes 50% of your already ridiculously low deal which they tell you is a great offer, your going to get repeat business, the customer has 5 days to change their mind, after that LS don't give a refund. If you have questions or concerns just call us. STRAIGHT BS.. In my case the voucher is limit 1 per person per visit, and 1 as a gift. LS let's the customer buy as many as they want. Promotion ened 3 months after the ad ran. Customers waited until the last 3 days before the promotions ends to try to schedule appointments. The customer never visits my company website to see hours and days of services offered (we are by appointment only) nor reads the 24 hour cancellation policy. If the customer complains to LS they can't get an appointment or complains that the wind was blowing to hard that day, LS gives them a refund and not even notify the merchant. if they no call no show (24 policy) and I the merchant redeems the customers voucher, customer calls LS and says they never had an appointment ..BAM!! LS gives a refund ..and once again not notify the merchant. If the merchant tries to contact LS, customer service is disrespectful, and you can't get your rep on the phone, or they give lame excuses to why refunds are being given lonnnnnggggg after the 5 days..the only one that profits from this is LS.. The customers are unhappy and make up lies about your business and never return. LS gives a refund or LS BUCKS so the angry customer can purchase another deal off LS site..you lose the client, money, and have to pay employees plus overhead..client is looking for the next cheap deal anyway..know I'm hearing LS wants to charge you the 50% plus hold 20% off what your suppose to make to charge you the merchant back if someone wants a refund for any reason..(wind blowing to hard today) and a 2% fee to deposit your money into your bank account..what is really going on here??

  • Gs
      19th of Jan, 2014
    0 Votes

    I run a small massage therapy business and partnered with living social to run a deal.
    They changed some of the small print (which went unnoticed by me) and therefore the contract that we had agreed on, ever since I contacted them regarding this they have been impossible to contact, several emails have been completely ignored, and this has gone on for nearly four months.
    Unfortunately if you're a small business then Living Social have all the power, their contracts and their representatives are very misleading, and if it's not in their interest they can choose to completely ignore you.
    I would never deal with this company again and I recommend any small-ish business owners to stay well clear

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