A follow up to this: After a further week with no watch, no communication from Groupon and no refund, I wrote to them again, yesterday, asking for a refund and pointing them at my last post.
Here's my email:
I have had no reply from you further than this email (apart from an automatically generated 'tell us about our customer service' form). You can imagine how I replied.
I have not had a watch from South Lane.
Please return me my money forthwith. This will be the amount I paid for an express delivery voucher (£13.60) plus interest plus payment for the time I have spent on this so far (about three hours at £20 per hour).
You may be interested in this website on which I have related the details of this interaction up until last weekend:http://therestlessconsumer.blogspot.com/2011/10/kind-of-thing-that-money-just-cant-buy.html
I have just now recieved an email from the Slightly More Important Minion:
SMIMinion, Nov-06 16:29 (GMT):
Thank you for your response. I would like to sincerely apologise for the trouble that you have experienced as a result of purchasing this deal. This is obviously not the kind of experience we wish our customers to have when they make a purchase from our site, and I have forwarded the issue to all involved parties - informing us of what happened will, I hope, help us to ensure this doesn't happen again.
I do understand your frustration with this situation; you have paid for an item and would of course expect it to arrive within the designated timescale, and I can only reiterate my apologies that this has not been the case.
As explained in our previous correspondence, we are not involved in monitoring the dispatch processes of the individual companies with whom we feature deals. This is because we feature deals with thousands of different companies, and it has never been part of our operations to manage them in this respect.
This, as pointed out previously, is stated in our terms and conditions which you have admitted to not reading. The terms and conditions offered by Groupon are in place to protect both our customers and the partners we work with, and we do recommend that prospective Groupon customers read these thoroughly before making a
purchase from our site.Given the circumstances, I am happy to process a full refund of the £13.60 which you paid to us for the voucher. This has been implemented immediately and you should receive the money back into your bank account within 5 working days.
So, kudos to Groupon in that they have, finally, agreed to return the money that I paid to them for goods that I didn't receive.
There is no acknowledgement, however, that getting this money returned has taken me time and effort and Groupon have offerend me no compensation for my time and effort, either. I'd like to remind you all that all I have had back from them is the money that I paid for goods that I didn't receive.
All I have is exactly what I started with, minus a few hours of my time and a fair few calories burnt in crossness.
It shouldn't have taken two weeks for Groupon to decide to give me my money back - my money, not Groupon's money - and I think we should all heed the T&C, as advised by the SMIMinion; if you buy a voucher from Groupon for the purchase of goods from a different website, you are not guaranteed the delivery of those goods, and Groupon will say that they are not obliged to chase the other website for you, and you'll have to keep emailing them with increasing levels of crossness, to get that money returned.
I think they were obliged to return my money, which is why they finally did return it, when I pointed out that I had written the story of the non-delivery of the watch and Groupon's refusal to do anything about it, and published it.
I SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO DO THAT TO GET MY MONEY RETURNED.
But thanks, anyway, Groupon. Now please take me off your mailing lists.
EDIT: I have now been emailed by the SMIMinion, very politely informing me that I have been removed from the mailing lists without me having to remove myself, in response to the comment made above, on my blog.
To be fair to Groupon, I need to record this example of excellent customer service - so thank you. There's not many companies that respond so quickly to requests on blogs.
It might now be a good idea if Groupon tried to introduce the same quick response time to emails complaining about the non-receipt of goods and asking for money to be reimbursed. One step at a time, though.
Time to draw a line under this. I'm really not into baiting the underlings. I suspect, if you dig deep into Groupon's hierarchies and structures, most of this debacle can be traced back to a lack of support, a lack of training of people hired to deal with cross customers such as myself, possibly an insecure work place so that people feel scared to escalate issues, and too much work for the customer service people in a company that is expanding too fast. That still doesn't excuse the T&C, though, but at least we all know what they mean, now.