Sunday, January 1, 2012

Half Price Deal Sites. Should You or Shouldn't You?

     These days there are so many different sites that offer 50% off deals.  Some of the deals are an even larger percentage.  But are these deals really worth it?  
     In today's economy we are less likely to try a new restaurant, or even go out to dinner at all.  These deal sites offer big discounts on food and fun activities.  Now you even find deals on medical treatments, resorts, family photos and pretty much any service that you can buy.

     The trick to getting REAL deals through these sites is to do your homework first.  

Read all of the directions and restrictions.

     Some sites, like offer you great deals, such as a $25 gift certificate for $3.  Sounds fantastic, but if you don't read the small print you may be surprised once you get there.  Their certificates always require a minimum purchase that is usually $35 to $50 before the discount, 18% gratuity is required, certain items may be unavailable, and certain days and times can be blocked out.  Those are all typical restrictions for this site.  While you are still saving money, it isn't as much as it seems.

Research ratings for a new restaurant or service that you haven't tried yet.

     If you are trying a new restaurant and it's just terrible, no amount of savings is worth it.  I have a personal smell test for a restaurant.  If I can smell Pine Sol I am out of there.  I figure that they would only use such a strong smelling cleaner if they were trying to cover up another smell.  But  you can't do the Pine Sol test on-line so you have to rely on the assistance of some Internet junkies help you out.  Sites like have high traffic and you should be able to find at least a few reviews.  Just keep in mind that some places do fake reviews.  If it's 5 stars and the review sounds more like an ad then something a customer would say, it's suspect.  I usually toss out the best and worst review and actually look at the rest.  

    I've actually gone to a sub shop based on a bad review, but it was hilarious and so it piqued my interest.  

Are you going to use it?

     $7 Billion of gift cards and certificates go unused every year.  That's a lot of money being thrown away!  Don't buy a certificate on a whim, especially if you are doing it to try and save money.  I see deals for places I actually go or tickets I want to buy all of the time.  Have a plan for when you are going to use it and put it in a safe place so you won't lose it but you will remember you have it. Holiday events and concerts seem to be getting more popular on these sites.  The tickets usually go on sale closer to the event. 

     DOUBLE check the expiration date as well.  You don't save any money if it isn't usable anymore.  But never throw out an actual gift card, because those never expire in Oregon, and they can't reduce the amount after any amount of time.  Most half price certificates lose the special value after a certain period of time.  However, they are still good for the price you paid for them.

What to do about bad service?

     You do have some recourse.  Many of the sites, like, offer money back if you didn't get what you paid for.  They don't want their reputation being ruined and so they will go after the business for their money, if they have to give back yours.

Some sites to check out
  • More restrictions and fine print than most.
  • Some great deals.  Get on their mailing list and they will send you almost daily emails about new deals. 
  • They often have deals on higher end restaurants, spa treatments and resorts.  Some good lower priced ones as well.
  • Enough people have to buy the deal, and they sometimes go fast.
  • Lots of the TV and Radio stations have their own deals as well, but most sites end up with similar deals, especially on events.

1 comment:

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