This past year LivingSocial offered a deal for users to get a travel hammock from a company called Cautivadora for $59 plus shipping. One such customer was john Pucci of Sacramento. After waiting three months and not being able to even get someone on the phone to explain where his hammock is, he stated, “There’s nobody to talk to, with either LivingSocial or the company that sold the item.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported receiving over 100 complaints about this same deal for the hammock through LivingSocial. Gary Almond of the BBB stated that, “It doesn’t meet Better Business Bureau standards,” so they aren’t able to do anything to help these frustrated customers.
Almond goes on to explain that “If you look at the terms and conditions, [LivingSocial is] not really responsible for anything.” Once a customer buys a voucher the responsibility falls to the company actually providing the product, which is never LivingSocial.
When questioned by the BBB, Cautivadora responded by saying, “LivingSocial never paid us for the travel hammock deal, which is in breach of out agreement with them. It is due to this that the hammocks were not shipped.”
In response to these reports, a representative from Living Social stated they could not comment on the situation due to pending litigation against Cautivadora. With everyone blaming everyone else, the ones losing out on this deal are the customers. Dozens of people paid for hammocks they have not received, not have they received refunds for the hammocks.
This whole situation brings to light some important questions regarding responsibility and customer care. Who is responsible for making sure the customer is protected? The Living Social terms and conditions state that they are not responsible once an order is placed. While this may protect them legally, it does not protect their obligation to protect their customers or the need to maintain customer loyalty.
How can daily deal companies ensure that the companies they are working with aren’t using them as a means to scam people? Cautivadora is claiming they weren’t paid, but the truth of the situation remains to be seen. Meanwhile, LivingSocial has likely just lost dozens of customers, who aren’t going to take a chance on losing money again.