Everything Else

Groupon grouses

My end of year holiday plans are in disarray and I am Not. Happy.

Between the constraints of the new job and my state of pregnancy, the only window of opportunity that Mr Thick and I have to go on a holiday together is during the Christmas period. We can’t fly too far out because of the nugget and I didn’t want to stress my heavily pregnant self on the long-haul flight. We narrowed our options down to Tokyo and Hong Kong and thought that luck was on our side when we spotted the Tokyo travel deal on Groupon.

Before we booked, however, we did our due dilligence. We called up HIS, the travel agency, and checked that there were flights on the dates that we were looking at. We ensured that the blackout dates did not fall on our preferred dates and that there were no additional surcharge aside for the airport taxes (excluded from the price of the deal). And then we bought the vouchers. And on that same Friday, we emailed HIS with our details.

We didn’t hear back from them until a week and a reminder email later. And to our dismay, the travel agent told us that there were no SIA flights available on the dates that we had in mind and that if we wanted to, we could top up an additional $690 to fly on ANA.

Now that pissed me off. I had already paid an extra $200 per pax for the vouchers to travel on SIA instead of JAL and now I was supposed to fork out another $690 to move to ANA? It doesn’t make sense. Plus, I had checked the SIA website and there were flights available on our dates. When we called HIS prior to making the booking, nobody mentioned that there would be any additional costs to travelling during the festive period. I highlighted all these in my reply and asked the travel agency to please work with me on this as we only had this tiny period of time to travel.

Their reply to me was absolutely hogwash:

True, there were no black out dates on SIA on the period you want to travel, however seats are based on availability.

This is under SIA promotional seats and during the peak period, these seats are not available already.

The seats you saw from the SIA website would have been based on normal fare. however it should be based on very much higher fare.The special SQ fare for this promotion is based on $380 fare. If you wish to get your airfare by yourselves, we could always deduct this $380 from your base fare and we will book the hotels for you.

I opted for a refund instead and sent a note to Groupon yesterday, who has yet to reply to me.

So yeah, I am mad. It’s not even about whether the deal is too good to be true or not. There’s misleading information and false advertising involved, and now we are scrambling to get our plans in order. We had read and reread the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that we had covered all possible loopholes, we even called up HIS for clarification and still this happened.

Note to self: trust Groupon only with low-price items. Urghs.