LivingSocial.com — merchant complaint
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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