The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Groupon FTD Offer Doesn't Have Customers Smelling Roses

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 14, 2011 2:05PM

2010_11_19_groupon.png Groupon's recent spell of bad PR continued over the weekend, thanks to a Valentine's Day flower promotion they offered in conjunction with florist giant FTD, Inc. Customers who purchased the offer of $40 worth of flowers for $20 accused FTD and Groupon of inflating prices on some of the arrangements offered, when they found the same offers were cheaper directly from FTD's website. Complaints began to mount on the Web that FTD was trying to make up for the Groupon discount by inflating the prices. FTD President Rob Apatoff said in an interview yesterday the offer did not apply to sale items. Both FTD and Groupon have offered refunds to customers who aren't satisfied with the offer.

It isn't the first time customers have been dissatisfied with a Groupon offer. But the heightened scrutiny in the wake of the company's Super Bowl ads means that this does come at an inopportune time. It also raises the question as to how Groupon, Living Social and other daily discount sites value their offers. Techcrunch highlights a comment left on their story about the Groupon/FTD debacle:

“(A Groupon) sales rep basically told me to double the price of my product for a month to make things work for me giving a 50% off deal. Living Social did the exact same thing, as did another deal site that reached out to me.”

This is similar to how Yelp has been accused of using negative user reviews to leverage advertising from clients. But, as Techcrunch notes, if more companies start fussing with the pricings to boost margins, it will put the trust in companies like Groupon and Living Social into question.