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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
advertising standards

Groupon rapped on knuckles for 'misleading' exclusive beauty product deal

The coupon company issued an offer for a beauty ‘mystery gift’ which failed to specify how many items a customer would receive.

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ONLINE COUPON VENDOR Groupon has been censured by Ireland’s advertising watchdog over a misleading deal offered on exclusive beauty products.

The initial Groupon email gave customers the option to buy either a standard or deluxe health and beauty ‘mystery gift’ for €5.99 or €8.99 respectively.

The complainant in this instance bought the deluxe edition. The blurb for same mentions eight separate products, including a three-in-one nail polisher, Olay face wash, a face mitt, and Tresemme Oleo radiance oil.

It also suggests that one customer in 40 would receive something from a list of exclusive brand products, such as Christian Louboutin shoes, a Prada handbag, or GHD hair straighteners.

The customer who complained actually received a pack of six assorted peel-off nail polishes, a pack of assorted blending sponges, and an eyebrow stencil tool.

She complained that the products received were inferior to what had been advertised.

In response, Groupon said that the point of the deal was that customers would be sent a ‘mystery’ gift, ie the nature of which would be unclear until they actually received it.


They said that the value of the received goods was in fact more than four times that which the customer had paid, adding that if the customer were to receive everything on the list the deal could not be described as a ‘mystery gift’.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI), in its ruling, noted that ‘there was no indication that customers would receive only one’ of the gifts listed under each of the options given.

It also noted that the woman in question had received some products that had been listed under the ‘standard’ option, rather than the ‘deluxe’ one which she had paid for.

It said that if the ‘mystery gift’ consisted of just one option from the list of products given, then that should have been clearly indicated in the advertising. The absence of that inclusion constituted several breaches of the ASAI’s code, it said.

In conclusion, the ASAI said that the advertisement should ‘not be used in its current format again’, and that the company should ‘exercise greater care in the preparation of similar offers to ensure that consumers know how many items they will receive prior to purchase’ in future.

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