Back in June, paidContent reported how the UK’s advertising regulator had started reprimanding Groupon (NSDQ: GRPN) after a growing number of complaints about its daily deals.
Every weekend, that story spikes in our traffic, as disgruntled consumers search for ways to complain about Groupon.
Now, after ongoing complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority is referring the issue up for a full and more serious review by the UK’s business regulator. The ASA issued this statement…
Complaints mostly centre on over-inflated savings claims. Groupon has variously breached ASA rules on misleading advertising, substantiation, exaggeration, administration, pricing and qualification.
One restaurant deal said customers could “Save 74%” – a saving actually calculated against the most expensive item on the menu.
Groupon’s German office has been buying Google (NSDQ: GOOG) UK keyword ads for offers that don’t exist, like “70% off train tickets”, “All you can eat in London £3” and “Bouquet of Flowers in London from £8”.
A plastic surgery discount was irresponsible and went against the industry’s codes of practice.
Groupon’s November IPO raised $700 million, valuing it at $12.8 billion. But the OFT can’t be bought off – it may reprimand Groupon and demand it more stringently substantiate its deals.