4 Tips to Avoid a Daily Deal Scam

The following is a guest post from Maggie:

Daily deal sites are amazing, both for the deep discounts and for the new products you can discover through them. But in our rush to take advantage of the wonderful offers, we can sometimes overlook some basic buyer safety practices.

The daily deal format unfortunately makes it easy pickings for fly-by-night scammers offering fraudulent products. Follow these tips to stay safe while scoring hot deals.

1. Use well-respected daily deal sites.

There are countless daily deal sites in operation, with more popping up every day. Stick to those site where you’ve had successful transactions in the past, know someone who has, or have received a recommendation from a blogger you know and trust.

It’s great to support new daily deal start-ups, but make sure they have some sort of track record for delivering on their promises. Check their Facebook wall for a quick gauge of customer satisfaction.

2. Research the company offering the deal.

Most daily deal scams will come from companies offering products through daily deal sites, pocketing the money, and then not delivering. So if you’re purchasing a product from company you’ve never used before, take a minute before purchasing to research the company.

How long has their Facebook page been active, and are there tons of complains on the wall? Do they have a Better Business Bureau profile, and are there any complaints?

Be wary of companies that appear to have just been formed. In five minutes or less, you can get a feel for whether this is a company with a history of good service.

3. Pay through Paypal or other buyer protection service.

Paying through Paypal or something similar gives you a certain measure of safety, should the company never deliver on its promises. Be aware though of the limitations of these payment services. Many require claims or complaints be filed within a certain timeframe, and some (including Paypal) will not refund your money themselves in case of a dispute — they will only attempt to reclaim it from the seller.

4. Make sure you are not charged until the goods ship.

As daily deal veterans know, many daily deal sites issue vouchers that do not include shipping. Thus, when you go to the seller website and actually purchase the product, you sometimes have to issue payment directly to the company to cover shipping charges. When this happens, keep a close eye on when you are actually charged the money.

It is illegal for a company to charge you prior to shipping your order. So if you see a shipping charge on your credit card bill or Paypal statement before you receive a shipment confirmation, it’s a red flag.

Following these simple tips will help you avoid the many different daily deal scams that are out there these days.

Maggie Larche is a daily deal lover and the author of a children’s detective novel that teaches economic concepts, Striker Jones: Elementary Economics for Elementary Detectives. More information on her book is available at her website.

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  1. Kandy CHimento says

    I just had a bad experience with a daily deal company called KGB Deals. I found out too late that the vendor (massage therapist) was a disreputable company. Now even though I paid with Paypal, KGB is telling me they have no record of my purchase. Very frustrating. I have tried multiple times.

        • Kelly says

          You can still file a dispute on paypal’s webite. You have 45 days from the date you paid. After you escalate the claim then paypal will decide if you get your money back based on the info you give them.

  2. Heather says

    Do not use SaveMore. Had great experiences with them in the past – for Peeled Snacks, Movies Posters.com and a few others but now they have gone downhill. The past two items I purchased never showed up – nothing at all from customer service -I see many people have complained with the Better Business about SaveMore. And yes – they did charge me for both items.

    • Leighann says

      I actually just lodged a complaint with the BBB about Savemore. I had used them in the past and never had a problem, but got a $25 B&N gift card from them at the beginning of December for $15. It was a great deal, I thought. They charged me for the card the same day I bought it, and I redeemed it online about December 14th (you have to redeem the code with this separate company in order to get the physical gift card). However, I never got a confirmation email, and Savemore took down the redemption link to redemption website, so I couldn’t even find out what company it was through (I even went through my browser’s history to find it and couldn’t find it!).

      Savemore.com doesn’t have a customer service email, and the phone numbers they have listed both go to the same end number, which takes you to a voicemail; you’re supposed to leave a message and a representative will call you back. Savemore’s Facebook page (when I finally was able to find it) was full of people asking the same thing I was: Where is the B&N gift card? When I went to the BBB website, it turns out that Savemore has an F rating with them because of the number of complaints with the business (most of which were due to Savemore just not sending out the giftcards that they had promised; apparently they quit sending products in November, but they still “sold” them and charged for them).

      Definitely check out a business before you buy with them – and check them out every time! I had used Savemore previously (I had gotten a sports bottle from them, and a couple of other giftcards) so I thought I was safe with that purchase. If I had checked out their BBB rating before that transaction in December (which was the first transaction I had made with them in several months) I would have thought twice about making it.

      I did get an email last week, finally, from Savemore; they said that my gift card will arrive in 1-2 weeks. However, it remains to be seen if I actually get my gift card. If not, I’ll consider it a $15 lesson: Always check the BBB rating of a site before you purchase from them.

      • Linzi says

        I had exactly the same unfortunate experience with Savemore. I had ordered the Barnes and Noble GC, the Auto-Zone GC, the Subway GC,and the BurgerKing GC and never received any of them. I have called them innumerable times and left voicemails but nobody has ever returned my calls. I have left messages in their facebooks as well, all to no avail. I have yet to get any response from them. They charged my card as soon as I bought the deal though. I have filed a fraud complaint against them in the BBB as well as mt credit card company.

        • Shannon says

          I talk to a representative at Savemore.com the other day and I didn’t have to wait very long to get through and he was very nice and apologize and said they got overwhelmed with the Barnes and Noble gift cards and that it will be shipped out within a week and he kept apologizing and explained that they are a newer company and only been up and running for a yr now. He did ask me though if I would like to have my money refunded but I said no I will wait and that I should have it by the end of the month. I hope I didn’t mess up and should have gotten my money back.

          • Erin Taylor says

            I used SaveMore to purchase a $10 Subway gift card for $5… and it never arrived. I never did get through to a cs rep., and I couldn’t find an e-mail address on their website. I finally filed a complaint with the BBB and my gift card arrived in the mail… well over a month after I ordered it. I will never use SaveMore again!

    • pam says

      we will see how it goes with savemore.com but i just contacted them by email today because i have not received my barnes and noble gift card that i redeemed on dec 26. they responded within an hour saying that they would be sending out within the week. not sure whats up with them, but have noticed that they are getting not so great reviews lately.

      that said, having a big problem with google offers right now and my crocs code

      • Jen says

        I also had that happen with savemore. I ordered Subway and Auto Zone gift cards early Nov. and didn’t get them. Couldn’t get through to a person on the phone. Left a message but of course never received a call back. And when I emailed I got the sorry for the delay, we’re sending them out within a week email. Ugh!

      • Heather says

        Yes – same here on the Barnes and Noble card. In the email they “said”they would ship it out but I won’t believe it until I see it.

    • margaret says

      another ditto on savemore.
      I ordered through them and they didn’t discount my $5.00 credit I had through them. I e-mailed them about it and got a response quickly that said, “Sorry, we’ll refund the $5.00 on x date”. Well that date came and went I gave them a couple days before writing again. When I did write an e-mail asking where the refund was I did not receive a reply for about 2 weeks. Sent another e-mail and filed a report with BBB. They finally refunded my $5.00 but I will never put myself through that again. PITA! The company I ordered from with the voucher though was very prompt with sending the order it was just savemore’s end that was bad.

    • Cheryl says

      I also did the $10 Subway GC for $5. After contacting them twice that I hadn’t received the card yet, I got a reply it was on its way. Three weeks later, I sent 2 more emails inquiring about the card. No reply. After being put on hold for 25 minutes for a customer service rep, it went to a voicemail that I am sure would never return my call. I disputed it with my credit card company which agreed and issued me the $5 credit. Then strangely, I got an email that the GC was on its way. Didn’t hold my breath and 2 weeks later it arrived. I gave it to my brother but don’t know if it had any credit on it. Probably doesn’t.

      • Mirna says

        I am very hesitant to place orders for things like this but my daughter recommended it and thought it was a good deal for the $10 Subway GC for my son who loves Subway. However, the card never arrived and of course my credit card was charged. WE are trying to get the funds back. Tried to contact Savemore and was on hold with no response.
        I will never buy nor recommend them to any one else.

    • Elizabeth says

      Me too! I bought a $6 papa johns cert in Dec and wasn’t able to get it so I called several times and had to leave voice mail and then I emailed and they responded that the problem was being worked on and would be fixed as soon as possible. If I was not satisfied they said I could receive a refund. I think I’m going to ask for a refund and see if I get it. Did anyone else have a problem with their papa john’s gift cert?

      • says

        Yes, yes, yes! Terrible time with it! Link wouldn’t work to print e-card. I kept complaining on their fb page and they finally made the link work. I have printed my e-certificate, but haven’t used it, so it remains to be seen if it will really work. My sister still hasn’t gotten hers and told them to cancel. We’ll see if she gets her reund.

        • says

          They also told me the link would work, but it never did. Then I asked for a refund. They removed my certificate from “my deals” but have still not issued my refund. I have now lodged a complain with the BBB. We shall see…

      • sarah says

        same for me – foolishly ordered their “burger king” deal before realizing the “papa johns” deal didn’t work…so now i’ve money twice to them. i submitted a dispute through my credit card.

  3. katrina says

    I have had trouble with plum district both times I’ve bought something from them. I get my $ back, but never get the product!

    • Andrea says

      A friend of mine had a bad experience with Plum District right before Christmas that left her scrambling to find a replacement gift.

  4. Marisa says

    Ditto on Savemore. One company did deliver after my multiple complaints, but the other never has and neither them or savemore will respond to my requests for a refund.

  5. Leighann says

    I was unaware that it was illegal for a site to charge you before the item ships. I like doing the Graveyard Mall Custom Mystery Boxes, and they always charge you for the box a week or two before it actually ships out (I got my most recent one this last Saturday, and I bought and paid for it right around Christmas). I guess it’s illegal for them to charge for it before it ships?

    • Karen says

      This is incorrect information. All sites charge before they are going to ship items to you. They charge for the item and shipping also if it is not free or included in the price. I sell on Amazon, Ebay and my own website and nothing is going out the door until it is paid for. Shipping is not going to be printed until it is paid for. This is not just my position. It is the same for Old Navy, Target, or wherever. I think there are some statements in the article that are just not true, probably by mistake. I am all for consumer protection, but I won’t be paying for and printing shipping and sending out items with out the monies paid first.

      Powerseller – Ebay and Amazon

      • Andrea says

        If you order an item online and it is backordered or significantly delayed, the company is not supposed to charge you for it until it is actually ready to be shipped.

      • TNK says

        actually they don’t charge the card until shipment, they do however place a hold on the funds. It shows up on your statement and such, but the actual charge has not happened.

  6. Asmith says

    I am getting a little weary of these sites. Plum district doubled charged , refunded relatively quickly and now they have sent email saying refunded order on the 12th but credit hasn’t shown on account yet. After keeping my money for a month.

  7. JW says

    That’s really sad to hear about Plum District. I’ve had no problems. I did just get a $5 credit because other people were having problems, but everything ie bought has been smooth sailing.

  8. Jen says

    I did the Target and restaurant.com gift card deal on Plum District. That was a month ago. I still haven’t received anything. :-(
    The only ones I’ve had success with are Groupon and Living Social.

    • Christine says

      I filed a complaint with PD too on the Target deal. It would take 2-3 days to get a response. Then I told them that I was going to contact my credit card company b/c they lied to me. They first said all cards were shipped by 12/18, then on 1/12 said that there was no ETA on shipment. So that’s when I told them I was going to contact my CC company and crazy enough I got a reply (cased closed by them) within 10 minutes! I will never use PD again! Hopefully I get my money back on my CC.

    • Cheryl says

      I got an unexpected email from Plum District saying they were refunding my money because they couldn’t fill the same offer you are waiting on. Today I did get the refund back on my credit card.

      Cheryl in ID

      • BethB says

        I had the same experience. I’d actually forgotten about purchasing the deal until I got the email saying they were refunding my credit card. It took a few days after that but the credit has shown up on my card.

    • Tiffany says

      I also did the Plum District Target and Restaurant.com GC deal and haven’t received anything. Sent emails to Plum District and they said to contact Digital Doorstep. I have an outstanding email with DD. They have until tomorrow to contact me; otherwise I will be calling them.

      • JT says

        The deal for the Target gift card is apparently a big bust, but I wouldn’t blame it on Plum District. I’ve used it in the past with no problems, but Digital Doorstep has been a huge issue about fulfilling their orders. I tried to contact them initially and only got a busy signal at there number. When I e-mailed Plum District they responded that day with a e-mail saying they’d credit my account. I guess the big thing to remember is if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Incidently, I went to the BBB and Digital Doorstep has and F due to complaints from businesses and consumers because they don’t fulfill their orders. I’ll definitely check with them first next time.

        • Tiffany says

          I feel that Plum District is still to blame because they chose to use Digital Doorstep. Plum District is what shows up on my credit card and they should be the ones responsible for choosing their suppliers. I sent PD another email today to see what’s going on, as I have not received an email stating the order was cancelled when they charged my CC on Dec 15. I just checked, no credit yet on my CC.

          • Crystal says

            I got an email from PD today saying that my Target deal had been refunded because of problems with Digital Doorstep and it also said that DD filed for bankruptcy today. I had a Fandango deal from kgb deals that I hadn’t used yet – also using DD as the redemption agent – and tried to use it right after I got that email. The DD link says they are no longer processing vouchers and to contact the daily deal site you bought it from. So I did contact kgb deals and we’ll see what they say.

  9. Debbie says

    I will never buy anything form Savemore.com. I still have not received my B&N gift card I ordered from them. Never again!

    • Leighann says

      File a complaint with the BBB. I did, and at least I got an email back from Savemore saying my card will arrive in 1-2 weeks.

      When it doesn’t arrive, I’ve got the email from them stating that they sent it/were going to send it, and I can use that as more proof for my credit card company. There could be a class-action lawsuit brought up against them, and it would be proof for that as well.

  10. Amanda says

    Nomorerack also charges before they ship. Bought a velour set from them in late november and received it a week before x-mas. I never had a problem with them. Didn’t know it was illegal.

  11. Mary H says

    I’m not sure that it is illegal for a company to charge you before they ship they item. It is certainly a poor business practice, but I don’t think it is illegal.

    Mary Louise

  12. Cheryl says

    I tried Savemore and Plum District each once and won’t use them again. They don’t seem to be able to honor their offers and I think they hope you’ll just forget about it and they can pocket the money. Luckily, I got refunded on both deals – one was given back and one I had to dispute with my credit card company. I’ll stick with reputable companies from now on.

  13. Whitney says

    I’ve had very good luck with Plum District so far, including some nice deals that were excellent for my family. Sorry people have had bad luck.

  14. asmith says

    I am not a lawyer but I looked up the charging before shipped and I couldn’t find anything that it is explicitly illegal but I have found that most reputable stores do not charge you until the item ships or is ready to ship. It seems to be related to the merchant and credit card company agreement so a violation of their contract. We are probably agreeing to all kinds of small print terms when we make these purchases as well.

  15. lib says

    I also did the savemore.com barnes and noble gift card and never received it. After trying to contact the company with no response I called my credit card company (citi card) and they reissued my $15 and said they would be going through savemore.com’s bank to get their money back but that I would see a credit on my next statement regardless. So for anyone else who had this happen you might want to call the credit card company you used. When i went back and checked out savemore.com’s website there is no contact email address for them……sneaky!

  16. says

    My son owns a window washing company and has offered 2 deals to customers. He did one through Living Social, and the other through a local deal company. He has had quite good success, although he has to be careful. He had one customer who was impossible to deal with, and the lady at the deal office told him that as soon as she saw the lady’s zip code, she knew what the problem was.
    He is about to do another deal this week, trying to build up his business!

  17. Kristine Gilsdorf says

    I had a problem with Plum District. I ordered a deal and I was supposed to get a bonus $5 Subway gift card. Never came. When I called they said they were all out of them. They did, however, give me a $10 credit for my inconvenience.

  18. Lauren Robinson says

    What a coincidence that I just turned to your website and happened upon this post. I just now contacted Savemore and left them a message about never receiving the Barnes and Noble giftcard I purchased through them (although when I check my Savemore account, it says I redeemed it!!) Also, never received the Papa John’s gift card. DO NOT USE SAVEMORE!! Don’t want to see this happen to others…..

  19. Ashley says

    No More Rack is also a scam…I had one good transaction with them and then they messed up royally. And they wouldn’t refund but gave me store credit, but you have to pay more than the credit to get it to work. I’m done with them. I’ll chalk it up to a bad choice, but it is an utter scam.

    • Andrea says

      It’s really difficult to know when you can trust these companies and when you can’t. Nomorerack was on Martha and I’m pretty sure I also saw an ad for it here on MSM (not a post, just an ad). They have a little “buy safe” icon on the bottom of their homepage.

      I’ve pretty much decided to stick to coupons and Swagbucks, and the local daily deal site. Most everything else seems too risky.

    • says

      The couple of things I have ordered from No More Rack have come…but they ended up being junk. The bag fell apart in a few months and the bracelet tarnished right away. the “jumbo” Dora cards I bought were not jumbo at all. So, my advice is don’t bother with them.

  20. says

    Great article!! Savemore is horrible. In the beginning I didn’t have issues but they have gone downhill. I no longer post daily deal site stuff on my site because I have just heard of way to many problems. The only exception I make now is for Groupon, and it has to be a really really good deal. I don’t think the money saved through most of these places is worth the follow-up effort it takes to get them live up to their end of the bargain.

  21. says

    I have deals pending with both Save More and Plum District. I am getting a little anxious now:( Can’t get Plum District to take the code for the Starbucks and Fandango deal. I just sent them an email. And my BK voucher from Savemore says it will be ready by 1/20. Sure hope these work out.

  22. Tracey says

    No More Rack is a definate scam. Never got product, would only store credit, which ends up costing you more. Stay away!! Guaranteed Martha never order from them or she wouldn’t be endorsing!!

  23. Natalie says

    Plum District has worked for me although they are slow to answer email, they have been responsible and helpful. I love Groupon and Living Social is OK, but even they had a deal with Nature’s Prime Organics and that was a total bust. I don’t know if their BBB score was as bad before these deals, but I agree – DEFINITELY check sites out if you can beforehand. I spent a lot of money and waited months and couldn’t get a hold of anyone at NPO. Luckily Groupon and LS refunded the money I paid them, and finally I did get someone at NPO with a number that Groupon gave me (others had been disconnected) and got my money back. I have still seen a couple places offering deals with NPO – AVOID them!!!!!

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