SocialBuy: Learn From LivingSocial

My letter today to Consumerist.com, detailing my problems with SocialBuy:

I am having a terrible experience with SocialBuy.  They currently have $25 they won’t refund to me because “their accounting system won’t allow it”. This started in October, when I bought what was described as “3 Pilates reformer classes and 3 mat classes for $50”. The voucher only listed the 3 reformer classes, so I emailed to ask why it wasn’t as described. A SocialBuy rep assured me it was for six classes total, and my voucher would update if I downloaded it again. Not only did the voucher not update, but the Pilates studio doesn’t even offer mat classes, and can’t figure out how SocialBuy screwed it up. When I complained to SocialBuy, they took two weeks to reply, and then refunded $25 as a site credit.

I used the “SocialBucks” towards a $50 voucher for cleaning services. But that voucher couldn’t be redeemed because the Martha Maids, the housecleaning company in question (link goes to Yelp reviews) doesn’t answer the phone, or return calls or emails,  making it impossible to redeem the voucher or schedule an appointment. So I asked for another  refund, this time for the whole $50 because I don’t want to buy any more vouchers from SocialBuy, ever again.  After two days of voicemails (SocialBuy customer service doesn’t answer the phone) and emails and Facebook and Twitter messages, they refunded the $25 credit card charge from the maid service voucher, but they insist on keeping the last $25 as SocialBucks. 

I have used Groupon and Living Social for over a year with no problem, so I’m suprised to get this kind of runaround. Living Social, in particular, were great in refunding me for a voucher where I wasn’t happy with the product.  I’m hoping a post by Consumerist will pressure SocialBuy to (a) return calls and customer service emails, and (b) make sure their deals can be redeemed by the business in question. Its kind of my fault for not checking the Yelp reviews for Martha Maids before buying that voucher.  Still, I don’t think consumers should have to research the businesses selling vouchers in order these deal a day sites are describing a product or service honestly.

In short, stay away from SocialBuy. They haven’t quite got the hang of customer service yet

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