Do deal sites rip off in name of bargains?

Customers complain of unethical practices at Cobone and Souq.com

Jim Harrison (name changed to protect identity) bought a car spa voucher from Cobone.com some months back but never heard from the company. After repeated attempts to get in touch with the car cleaning company and Cobone, he was told that the deal was cancelled and the latter promised to give him back his credit - not in cash but as an amount that could be used on the site for another purchase.

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He, then, bought another product for the same price. This time the credit amount was deducted from the account but there was no intimation of the product to be delivered. Since then Harrison has been following up with Cobone to either get his money back or get the product.

“I first tried calling them up. Nobody attends to the customer service phone number. So, I dropped them an e-mail on the 28th of March. I was promised that a representative would get back to me in three working days but nothing happened so I sent them another e-mail a couple of days back but I got the same automated reply,” he told this website.

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According to the e-mail that Harrison sent, he was given a ticket number. “Thank you for contacting at Cobone.com! We have received your inquiry and are assigning it to a representative. You can expect to receive a response from us within 3 business days. To help track your inquiry we have generated a reference number. Your ticket code is LTK535013706789X. Please use this code in any further communication,” read the 28th March dated e-mail.

This website wrote to Cobone.com but did not get any reply on this particular case.

Another customer called up Emirates 24|7 to talk about a bad experience with another such site. She stated it was a case of false advertising on Souq.com. The customer said that Souq.com advertised to sell Samsung Galaxy Note for Dh1,499 for two weeks and the day of the deal was supposed to be April 29. She, along with her brother sat before the computer during the deal time but there was no deal on the said date. The next day she called up Souq.com office and was told the deal was totally sold out. “This was not the case as I was monitoring the site during that time and there was no deal,” said Amna XX (full name withheld).

This website wrote to Souq.com and got a similar response. “Thank you for sending us your inquiry. Regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB for Dh1,499 from the Wow Deal, this has been sold out on the site last April 29, 2012 as it was started around 12pm. Also, there were limited quantities available and they were sold out in few minutes. Due to the high demand, it was added instantly by other buyers to their shopping cart. It was a killer deal and surely everybody tried to grab one. We hope you will be able to purchase from our future deals if you missed it. Regards, Mon, Souq.com Support Team,” stated the e-mail.

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)

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