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LivingSocial

Sep 27, 2011 by

LivingSocial

I recently published a post for the guys that were worried about doing business with the biggest group deals site, Groupon.

I concluded that Groupon is a great site and I loved their friendly refund policy that had been tried and tested. (see my Groupon scam post for the detail).

For this post, I’m checking out the next biggest site in the group deals space – LivingSocial.

I’ll find out whether it’s a ethical company that you can trust and I’ll weigh up the positives and negatives and decide whether it’s worth checking them out.

 

 

“Is LivingSocial Scammy!?”

LivingSocial has experienced impressive growth since it’s launch and this wouldn’t have been possible without a strong base of happy customers.

However, on the flip-side, there are quite a few unhappy customers.

Let’s take a look at the number of people that search for ‘LivingSocial Scam’ so we have some figures to work with.

Relative to the number of people searching for LivingSocial, 1.7% are searching for scams associated with it. This could be because they’re wary of the site or what’s more likely, they’ve had a disappointing experience.

When looking at Groupon’s numbers, this comes to just 0.0004%.

I know this isn’t a precise indicator of customer satisfaction, but it does give a broad feel for user concerns.

LivingSocial is legit but around 1.7% (pretty small proportion) of customers are apprehensive of dealing with the company or have had a disappointing experience

 

“What Are People Complaining About??”

The common complaints associated with LivingSocial are:

  • Customer service is awful

This point captures a lot of complaints that have been made including reps being rude, hanging up the phone, phones ringing off the hook, not returning calls, etc, etc. It appears that if customer services addressed the problems immediately, it would prevent a lot of these follow up complaints.

Although issues seem to be getting resolved after a week or so of chasing, the trouble it has taken some people leaves them with a sour taste.

  • Referral program doesn’t work

Some users have complained of not getting credited after they referred friends to LivingSocial. This may have been a temporary glitch with their tracking system but either way, my recommendation is to think of things like this as a bonus as tracking can go awry in various stages of the process. Don’t base purchase decisions off credits that haven’t yet been added to your account.

  • The product / service was rubbish

LivingSocial claim to thoroughly vet the merchants on their site and it’s a little out of their control if the merchant suddenly closes down or is overwhelmed with business they said they could handle.

My recommendation is to do your own research on the company beforehand.

LivingSocial could easily make things right if they stood by their money back guarantee – something they’ve seem to be slack on in a few cases. This only magnifies stress if things go wrong (back to the first bullet point on poor customer service).

Customer service sometimes lets LivingSocial down

 

“Have You Had Experience With Them?”

My review is bought to you through thorough analysis of the experience of hundreds of others and also by looking at useful search stats.

However, as I didn’t fancy any of the current deals on their site, I thought I’d give their call center a ring to see how they perform and to get some first hand experience as customer service seems to be the bane of most people’s misery.

I called the UK line and a polite rep answered within around 3 minutes. Reassuringly, there weren’t too many options to fight through and the automated announcements told me how long I should expect to wait.

I posed as a prospective customer and quizzed the rep about their refund policy and what they would do if things went wrong. Here are the takeaways:

  • After I purchase a deal, I can change my mind and get a refund within 5 days no questions asked
  • After this 5 day period, refunds will be considered on a case by case basis
  • If there is a problem with the merchant delivering the product / service, or if they business goes bust, they will refund me immediately

I left the call feeling pretty positive and reassured.

My brief encounter with LivingSocial was positive and their refund policy is great

 

The Verdict

LivingSocial is legit but it seems that their rapid growth has led to some growing pains, particularly in the customer services department. Based on previous experiences, if things go wrong, they may not be resolved as quickly as you’d like.

However, due to their refund policy and their attempts to eventually make things right, my verdict is that they are worth trying out if you’re bored of the deals on Groupon and want to mix it up. LivingSocial does have some very cool offers – most of which I haven’t seen on other group deal sites.

If this is your first dip in the group deals market, you should try out Groupon first as they certainly surpasses LivingSocial in customer service levels.

Before buying, make sure you read the small print associated with your deal and evaluate the provider yourself if you haven’t heard of them before.

Here’s how LivingSocial rank on the legitimacy chart:

Living Social Scam

You can check out LivingSocial and register for their email updates (free) here. Also, remember to check out our deals & discounts page for information on other legit services that can save you a ton of money.

Have you had experience with LivingSocial? Positive or negative, leave your comments below.

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18 Comments

  1. Pretty interesting stuff Sandip. I’d just seen my first Living Social commercial this evening and truthfully, I had no idea what it was all about. Since I never signed up for Groupon I probably won’t sign up for this one, but you know, I’m starting to think I need to let go of old preconceived notions and give one of these a try someday. But we’ll see; thanks for the review.

    • Sandip

      Hey Mitch. As new concepts, people can be quite apprehensive about figuring them out – I was too. But the 50%+ discounts were just too much for me to resist the temptation :)

    • Don’t get involved with living social. I tried to buy some items over 2 mths ago. My credit card was charged immediatly but I’m still waiting for the goods. Tried to call living social and they don’t answer the phone and emails get an auto reply. I very expensive and dissapointing experience !!!

      • Kim

        I’ve had the same experience and intend to use my remaining Living Social deals as quickly as I can, then close my account with them.

      • Luis

        Tell me about it. I’m actually a vendor that was contacted by Living Social on three separate occasions. First was by Danielle Rutkin to discover she wanted to promote my business in which she had no idea what it is that my company does. She never got back to me and can’t reach her. Then I was contact by Gary Kiena or Gary (Bodi) Kiena. Said he would contact me to send me contract for promotion. Again, no follow up and cannot be reached. Keep in mind that these people sought me out to do business. My newest contact is Lindsay McNary. Is turning out to be the same. These are some of the most unprofessional people I have ever dealt with in my professional career. My suggestion is stay away from this company in general.

    • Loulou

      I purchased a cafe voucher from Living Social. I tried on numerous occasion to make a booking at the Cafe, without success. The voucher was running out and tried one last time, at which time I was told by the cafe to contact Living social for a refund as they weren’t taking any more bookings. I contacted Living Social and told there was no refund policy as it was brought with terms and conditions of “subject to availability”. I made a formal complaint to Department of Fair Trading, and they were unable to help as Living Social indicated that because I didn’t contact them until close to the end of the voucher expiry date. Living Social is not a a good company to do business with and will sell products that can’t be utilised. I will not recommend anyone do business with them, they are on the nose.

  2. I had a great experienced with other group deal sites and I’m totally happy with it. However, I haven’t tried to avail any deals with livingsocial. But based on all the points given above, looks like we can’t expect something great with them. I do hope they address all the concerns of their customers. Otherwise, they might lose it.

  3. Yes, their Customer Service is terrible and I will not be using them in the future. They change their terms of service online and they make you think you’ve read/remembered something incorrectly. TOTAL SCAM.

  4. NEVA

    I have had a great time with living social I have called all the company that were suppose to offered the deal in partnership with living-social and they have checked out. I have used living Social for the San Antonio Tx & Austin Tx area and have even gotten my mother a gift for a deal in the Houston Texas Area, Mom is much older and said she was confused on how to redeem her deal but that staff was kind and spent 10 min with her on the phone. I have not had to call the customer call center so I can not speak on the customer service of the company. One of the things I like about living social they send your deal in your inbox and it can be printed without you having to log into their sight.

  5. Ripped Off

    I’ve had terrible experiences with Living Social. As well as the reasons listed above I tried to redeem two restaurant vouchers but the merchant claimed he would not accept them because we went on 27 December (a public holiday). This was not stated in the terms and conditions but LS have refused a refund. It has now been 5 weeks since I complained and they claim they are still investigating. They are a SCAM.
    I will be complaining to trading standards. Luckily I paid using Paypal so I can raise a dispute aand hopefully get my money back.
    I also use Groupon and KGB and have found them great compaired to LS.

  6. Living Social is a nightmare to deal with. I bought a spa package at the Hilton Hotel in Mayfair London in September 2011. I bought it for my parent’s Christmas present. I tried to book for specific dates and they were always booked up. In December they said they were completely booked up and couldn’t see their diary for May 2012 onwards until 1st of February when again I had to spend hours on the phone. I did call the Hilton Hotel the morning of the 1st of February and no one answered the phone. I called Living Social to complain (again) and they said it was my fault for booking the deal through a third party (themselves) and they would not be able to give me a refund. I have wasted hours and hours trying to book the treatment I have paid for without any result and would not recommend this to ANYONE.

  7. What a nightmare! i bought a voucher for SOS oven cleaning in November made an appointment for December they never showed up, i called no reply, i text no reply i emailed no reply. i contact living social who say they will look into it, we are now in February and i get a email to say that SOS had a bereavement and was contacting all the customer by the end of last week to schedule appointments, i have explained i just want a refund now as i have had oven cleaned but still nothing. The most frustrating company to deal with. Once i have my refund i wont be using them again, its just too much hassle.
    I had previously bought a deep clean from Dianas cleaning co only for two women to turn up with no cleaning products or hoover, stayed two hours quick surface clean, would not of even know they had been.

    • I also bought an oven clean voucher for SOS ovens but via KGB. Got given the same excuse, plus others when I kept hassling them for a rearranged appointment. Both KGB and the supplier then started to ignore my emails when i requested a refund – until I produced a legal letter via More Than and emailed that to the supplier and KGB. The supplier now decides to respond to my email stating that KGB hold the money – i fail to believe that as well as I don’t think this is a very honest company. I threatened both with taking them to a small claims court. Its not about the money any more but now about the principal. One thing I hate is poor service and being ignored. Interesting though that you were given the bereavement excuse back in November 2011. I bought my voucher in March this year and was given that excuse in May. I will be using this post against them to prove what an absolute dodgy company SOS ovens are. Maybe I will also contact trading standards

  8. Msknoitall

    I believe Living Social and their service providers to be scammers. I purchased two spa services from them and when I attempted to redeem my coupons, both establishments claimed to not have available appointments before my coupons expired. One was 3 week s prior to expiration, the other was a month. I was told that the spas had no appointments and that if I wanted the services after the expiration date, I would have to pay extra money. If this had happened once, than it would be understandable..but twice is more than a little suspicious. When I finally reached living social after three days of trying, they were less than helpful. I explained that it appears the spas had no interest honoring the coupons, i was quoted the policy regarding appointment availability by one monotone customer service rep after the other. Living social had no interest in my complaints and made clear there was nothing I could do and no refund was forthcoming. When you think about it, when would a 2 person spa be able to accommodate hundreds of coupon customers? In my opinion, this is a scam and I for one will never purchase one again…nomatterhow good it sounds!

  9. Jules

    Completely scam-worthy. Don’t waste your money and TIME. Customer service is atrocious, takes over an hour to get through (and that’s if the line doesn’t ring out first). The deals are almost fraudulent..
    Their “terms & conditions” are devious..

  10. Daisy

    I bought a voucher for a mattress from The Staffordshire Furniture Company, and redeemed the voucher next day via TSFS website, receiving an automated reply which said that if I registered on their site, I could track my order. Registered on that site – but there’s no way of tracking order. After two weeks, tried to phone TSFS to find out about delivery. Guess what? They don’t have a phone number. Emailed them – no response. Emailed Living Social, no response. So after a week, I phoned Living Social, waited ages for someone to answer (more like 9 minutes as opposed to reviewers 3 minutes). Was finally told that the matter would be escalated, and someone would get back to me before the end of the day. No-one phoned back. Waited another week, emailed again cancelling order. No response. Phoned again, waited again, and spoke to a young man who let slip that there had been a lot of complaints about this supplier; he would get the customer care department to phone me back before the end of the day. No phone call. Waited another 5 days, phoned again, this time being told he would personally phone me back within the hour. Guess what? No phone call.
    have applied to credit card company to dispute the transaction.

  11. Joanne

    Living Social are absolutely the WORST of the group buying companies. I’ve had two dreadful experiences with their customer service department: they will not refund under ANY circumstances. In particular, I would dissuade any Sydney based reader from any deals from LEE CREATIVE BEAUTY – the woman running it is a nothing but a con artist. (http://www.leecreativebeauty.com.au/)

  12. Katherine

    I bought a voucher for LearnIt Anytime–good for one year. The day after I got my voucher, I tried to log into the sight and it says the voucher number is no good. I contacted Living Social and they sent me an email with a reference number. I had to send them another letter because I still have no resolution and now there’s nothing but silence from their end. Living Social looks legitimate on the website, but so do other scam business’. They make disclaimers about the business’ they use because they know that potentially, these business deals are no good. I’m going to my bank with these emails and hopefully reverse the charges. Good luck in dealing with these entities–they are the spawn of hell

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