Groupon Slammed for Awful Resort 'Deal'

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Daily deal sites frequently attract criticism when they get caught exaggerating how much money you're saving. Recently, an undercover investigation found that a deal advertised on Groupon (GRPN) was actually more expensive than the original price.

ABC's "The Lookout" booked a stay at a "luxury hotel" in the Dominican Republic through Groupon Getaways at a price of $173 a night for a junior suite -- a 44% discount, the site claimed. But another ABC producer booked directly with the hotel and got a "deluxe room" for $146. When they arrived, they discovered the rooms were exactly the same, which means they actually paid more by booking through Groupon.

That's not all they discovered on arrival. According to the report, the "private beach" turned out to be a public beach teeming with drug dealers and prostitutes. Oh, and some of the prostitutes were actually hotel employees.

Groupon, which fired founder and CEO Andrew Mason earlier this spring, runs plenty of good deals, but it's gotten a lot of flak for deals that don't live up to expectations. But this latest fiasco takes things to the next level, and ABC notes that the site doesn't research or fact-check the claims made by hotels offering deals through the site. That doesn't mean you should ditch Groupon altogether when it comes to booking vacation, but you should do your own research and always take a deal site's claims with a grain of salt.

According to the report, Groupon has received enough complaints about the hotel that it's removed it from the site. We've reached out to the company for comment and will update when we hear back.

Update (1:45 p.m. ET): A spokesman for Groupon confirmed that the deal was removed after numerous customer complaints, and that unhappy customers received full refunds. He also explained that "travel prices fluctuate dramatically" and that the company proactively checks prices and adjusts its deals if it finds a lower price.

He also denied that the post promised a private beach.

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Sue Sue

Whenever I shop for vacation deals or hotel rooms, I get the best price I can find online and then simply call the hotel and tell them the price I have found and they usually match and or beat it.

I read -somewhere- an article written by a hotel employee. He went into great detail about how hotels HATE when you book through other sites and will reward you with your decision by giving you the crappiest, loudest, most obnoxious room they have. Since I read that I have always booked through the hotel. This way you always have a hotel employee's name should anything go wrong instead of saying, "Ummm, I booked through hotels.com"

June 22 2013 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon

I didn't care for Groupon when I realized you're not saving anything...simply paying half up front. Pay the other half when you redeem the "coupon"...its a joke.

June 22 2013 at 7:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lovzaki

I still love,love,love Groupon.

June 21 2013 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Efren921

This isn't' the only scam out there, the TV infomercials are full of them .. someone needs to investigate some of those. They scam you to buy product that doesn't even work, then they charge your Credit card twice. When you try to cancel or return it, it's harder than pulling teeth to get anyone on the phone.. Please someone check them out. This is one of them.. look at these reviews http://www.amazon.com/Garnier-Fructis-Sleek-Shine-Perfector/product-reviews/B003QUHWT8

June 21 2013 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

they got a full refund, sure...but they got to keep the syphilis they contracted from the Dominican hookers right? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing!!

June 21 2013 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike711l

I completely agree. I took a trip to the Dominican Republic a couple of months ago and initially booked with Groupon. I decided to check out a couple of other sources and got a better deal that included admission to Ocean World in the price. I've gotten some great deals on Groupon but you have to do your homework. They did make it easy to cancel the reservation though.

June 21 2013 at 3:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jagentmike

do their noses grow when they speak ?

June 20 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jagentmike's comment
Shawn is # 1

No, their bank accounts do.

June 21 2013 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply