Group buying, also known as collective buying, offers goods and services at substantial markdowns. However, the catch is that you must first pledge to buy the product or service being offered by providing payment details. You must then wait for a certain number of other buyers to commit to a purchase as well. Once the minimum number of people sign up for the deal, the purchase is confirmed and a voucher is sent to you so that you can redeem the deal.
We have received reports and complaints about non supply or only partial supply of goods or services being sold in this manner. Consumers have experienced difficulty in booking in for services and in redeeming vouchers.
Often it appears these problems have been encountered because the business simply did not have the capacity to honour the number of vouchers sold due to the increased demand generated for their product or service as a result of the group buying offer.
The Australian Group Buying Code of Conduct has been developed specifically for the group buying experience. The Code ensures there are tailored standards for group buying sites as well as protections in place for consumers. For more information, visit the Australian Direct Marketing Association.
- Exercise common sense and do some research on what is being offered. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Investigate whether the deal being offered is a genuine discount and is one that will be honoured at a time that suits you even though the business will see an increase in demand for its goods or services.
- Read the terms and conditions of any deal offered carefully and make sure you fully understand them, especially in relation to cancellations.
- Be aware of your consumer rights and responsibilities if something goes wrong.
Refunds and complaints
If you have trouble redeeming the voucher or booking in for the service within a reasonable time, you should approach the operators of the group buying website and seek a refund.
If you are not satisfied with their response, you can lodge a complaint with us.
Under the Australian Consumer Law which came into effect on 1 January 2011, it is an offence for a trader to accept payment for goods or services and not supply them within a reasonable period.
Last reviewed 28/02/2013