How to Get a Groupon Refund When a Company Closes
What happens to a Groupon if the company offering the deal closes? And how do you get your money back? (See also: Selling Your Groupon Coupons)
According the FAQ page of the Groupon website, the guidelines are promising but vague:
What if the business for my Groupon closes down?
If anything happens that makes it impossible for you to redeem your Groupon, we'll make sure you get your money back.
I had not given this subject much thought until a few weeks ago when my inbox contained an email with this subject line:
“An Important Message Regarding Your ABC Bistro Groupon”
My husband and I had tried once to use the Groupon for this restaurant. We had called on a Saturday afternoon to check on seating availability and make reservations. But it was unclear why we could not reserve a table — either seating was available on a first-come, first-served basis or all tables were booked. When we stopped by to check, we found that all tables were reserved; we vowed to plan ahead for a future outing.
So, using the Groupon was still on my radar when the email arrived. This is the message I received:
We are writing to inform you that ABC Bistro has closed. While most of you have already redeemed your ABC Bistro Groupon, we know that some have not, and we want to get you your money back as soon as possible.
If you haven’t used your Groupon, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to issue you a full refund to your original credit card used for the purchase or give you Groupon Credit.
We were big fans of ABC Bistro, so we’re especially sad to see them go. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Thank you for your continued support.
I was surprised to learn that the restaurant had closed. ABC Bistro (not the company’s real name) had opened several months earlier and seemed to be doing well. It occupied a space in a new, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood shopping center in an area with a dearth of nice restaurants. On a nearly daily basis, I drove by this shopping center and had not noticed anything amiss. Nor had I heard about its closing from friends.
This note was the first indication that anything was wrong. In retrospect, though, the inability of the restaurant staff to communicate its reservation policy was an omen.
Groupon’s move was fast. The email was sent to everyone who bought the deal. I wondered if Groupon was in such a hurry to issue refunds (and preserve its integrity) that the deal-seller decided to notify all buyers first, get responses, figure out who had redeemed the Groupon and who had not, and then issue refunds or give credit.
How I Got My Money Back
- I replied soon after getting the message that the restaurant had closed.
- My email message: "Hi, I just got a note saying that ABC Bistro has closed; I had an unexpired coupon there. Can I get a credit card refund now? Please let me know if you need additional information from me."
- Groupon support staff told me that my credit card account would be credited within 5–7 business days.
- The refund transaction was initiated on the same day and the credit was posted in 3 days.
Then I wondered:
Had Groupon (or I) acted too quickly?
Soon after sending my email, I checked the restaurant's website and saw that it had been dismantled. Its Facebook page was still active. A status update indicated that the restaurant would be closed for a few days while some business issues were resolved. Since then, the restaurant has not re-opened and the Facebook page is now empty. In this situation, Groupon knew about the restaurant's status before everyone else in town did.
Do you use your Groupons immediately? Have you ever tried to use a Groupon but found that the company with the deal was closed?