By Jenna Gordon
UbuntuDeal, Groupon, City Slicker, there are so many group buying websites that have sprung up over the last two years that it’s hard to keep up. Websites such as these have proved popular, as they offer members daily deals on just about anything from spa treatments, designer eyewear, dining experiences to furniture.
Group buying websites use their collective buying power to convince product and service providers to offer substantial discounts (usually between 50 and 70%) over a period of time. If a certain number of people buy in on the deal it all goes ahead but if not enough people are interested the deal is off. Users who have already purchased their virtual coupons simply get refunded if the deal doesn’t go ahead.
But are you really saving money by using these websites? To help you save time and money, we have put together some tips on being a savvy online discount buyer:
Ask yourself if it really is a good deal.
Take the time to think about whether you would use what you have bought. Will that discounted popcorn machine really be used often or will it only come out of the cupboard for the kids birthday parties? On the other hand, some people can be disciplined and know exactly what they want a discount for, such as a car service or half a head of highlights from their local hair salon. In order to ensure you only spend money on the deals you want, why not sign up to a daily deals aggregator such as www.dealscout.co.za, which just informs you about the deals you want to see.
Beware of the number of buyers.
Check how many people are buying the product or service. If many have signed up be aware that some merchants might not have the sudden capacity to deal with all these clients, which can lead to terrible service or bad quality products.
Read the fine print.
Not reading the fine print is where some of us go wrong. Look at the terms and conditions, the expiry dates, the delivery time or any restrictions on the deal. Make sure the deal is relevant for you and that you have the time to redeem it before it expires.
Is this a reputable business?
Research the merchant or service provider before you buy. Look on websites such as Hellopeter.com to find out if there have been any major complaints lodged against them and if there are any, stay clear of the deal. Always make sure you know what you are going to get, and that service providers can handle your booking despite the huge interest.
Have a rule to only travel a certain distance for deals.
The deal might sound incredible but the vendor may be 100 kilometres away. In that case you could be forced to stump up even more money for petrol to get there and back. By paying for extras such as these it may not result in a saving after all.
A 50 percent cut on a game drive may sound fantastic but remember that these group buying websites are also trying to make money. Be wise and responsible when deciding if you really need what’s in front of the screen. After all, it’s still your money being spent so don’t be sucked into buying something you don’t really need.