John Matarese looks into concerns that Groupon deals may not last much longer.
Have you gotten the feeling there have been fewer great Groupon deals lately? Investors have noticed too, and are now punishing the company's stock.
So what's going wrong, and can Groupon survive?
"Is Groupon Over?" That's what Forbes magazine is asking.
The Wall Street Journal, meantime, in a front page story, says
"Groupon Investors Give Up," after two years of customer and business complaints, and falling sales.
It's not a surprise to some people.
Jason Krueger last year told me when he used a Groupon for sushi at one restaurant, staffers treated him like dirt.
"You're immediately asked if you are using the Groupon tonight. And that kinda threw me off," he said. He also said the waiter told him he could not order any menu specials, only full priced entrees.
Amy Brumleve bought a Groupon for an outdoor adventure, then learned two people would have to pay for the Groupon to be honored.
"You must bring two to make it valid, and that's the only way they'll do it," she said. "However, the other person must be a paying customer, and that price will be $45."
So her $30 Groupon actually cost $75.
Business Owners Claim Big Losses
But the biggest complaints come from business owners.
The owner of an Oregon coffee shop blogged that a Groupon cost her $8,000 and made it impossible for her to meet payroll.
With so many businesses refusing to use Groupon again, Groupon's stock price has fallen to an all time low, and some analysts wonder if its model is no longer working.
Groupon insists it is not in trouble, and in fact is expanding with a new feature called Groupon Goods, where you will find actual products for sale.
But many salons and restaurants say they won't be back for seconds, which is bad news for the frugal set, so you don't waste your money.
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