Humbled Groupon Shamed Into Changing its Ways by OFT Investigation

By Gary Cutlack on at

Groupon has been spanked very hard by the Office of Fair Trading, which has warned the online discount club it needs to be more "honest and transparent" in advertising its deals and the discount claims it puts forward.

The OFT said its investigation into Groupon's ways exposed "widespread" examples that it felt breached current consumer protection laws, including worries over pricing references, advertising, refunds and some unfair terms and conditions attached to its bargains.

To fend off the OFT's threat of legal enforcement, Groupon has agreed to be more "accurate, honest and transparent" in referring to previous prices of its deals, has promised a more "honest and realistic assessment" of whether a retailer will be able to meet the sudden hordes of customers it may face and will also clearly mention any limitations which may apply to a particular discount.

And in one final humiliation, Groupon must "take reasonable steps" to ensure the often outlandish claims which accompany many health and beauty products and treatments are actually true in some way.

Groupon's basically been given a right old mauling by the OFT and is now under constant watch, lest it lapse back into shameful behaviour. [OFT via Twitter]