So I ask Groupon customer service for help ...

From the It Never Hurts to Ask Department

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Like most people, I tend to talk about personal experiences with customer service departments only when those experiences suck.

So let's break that habit and toss a public thank-you Groupon's way.

(2011's 25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries)

I had opened an account with the Internet's daily-deal dynamo last fall after writing about the company. Since then I had received and considered an untold number of Groupon offers without actually committing to a single one (although I was tempted once). Yesterday, however, I finally succumbed and signed on for a $20 discount on $40 worth of chow at a nearby Italian restaurant I have never tried.

I felt fully satisfied ... until not 30 seconds later when I read another e-mail from Groupon offering me $5 off my first Groupon purchase, provided I enter the special gift code on the site's purchase page before completing that initial deal ... which .... I ... had ... just ... done.

Now I was slightly miffed, even though this missed opportunity was not in any way Groupon's fault. The five-dollars-off e-mail arrived before the restaurant pitch and it was clearly not the first time the company had offered it to me.

But I wanted my $5 anyway and I figured it couldn't hurt to ask if maybe the rules have any wiggle room. I sent this e-mail to Groupon's customer service department:

Hi,

I just made my first Groupon purchase and not 30 seconds later saw this ($5 offer) in my inbox. I know it says I have to use the coupon before the purchase, but I'm writing to see if perhaps there's a way to override that requirement and give me the $5 additional discount anyway.

Thank-you for your time and considering my request.

A mere two hours later I get this reply:

Hi Paul,

I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. While I cannot retroactively issue credit, I have redeemed your $5 code in your account for use on future purchases. The $5 credit is available in your account immediately and does not expire.

Thanks, and let me know if you have any other questions!

Regards,

Marte S

While not exactly the outcome I had sought, it was $5 better than nothing, remarkably fast, and sure to have me keeping an eye out for Groupon buy No. 2. What's not to like?

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