Groupon vs fruit based company (and for once Apple’s not involved)

Groupon and main rival Living Social tend to have a funny effect as people either love it or loath it. I know a number of people who regularly embrace the regional discounts, snapping up cut price meals and manicures amongst others. I myself have invested in a heavily reduced teeth whitening offer; the fact that it’s remained unopened out of fear is neither here nor there!

Consequently I’ve been fascinated observing how Groupon especially, has taken off and how it’s forecast as the next big thing. So it’s no surprise that the following post on Mashable caught my eye.

On Tuesday (24th May 11) Groupon users in Denver were offered a deal for a 61% price cut on home delivery from Speciality Organics, a local organic fruit company. Whilst this doesn’t appear out of the norm, user’s became suss as it’s widely known there is very little organic fruit produce in Colorado. This led to one user, Maria Fraietta, to question the offer as currently no organic fruit companies or farms provide cross state delivery. Maria was not alone as the offer resulted in 100 comments raising the same issue.

What interests me the most is Groupon’s rapid response. Firstly Groupon have been building up a factchecking department with guidelines that require checkers to verify both reviews and reviewers. They’re also currently recruiting for a Fact Checking Manager. So they obviously take verifying the credibility of offers extremely seriously.

Further investigation into the matter revealed that Speciality Organics is a four person company working with produce couriers in 15 markets. They also allegedly partner a separate company The Fruit Guys, who have since dismissed such claims.

Groupon has called the situation with Speciality Organics ‘an absence of good communication skills’ as opposed to a scam. And interestingly, Speciality Organics has also run deals with rivals Living Social and KGB that received ‘virtually no complaints.’ It’s clear that Groupon takes scam accusations seriously, they even have a process in place so that any customers who purchase a scam will automatically receive a refund courtesy of the Groupon promise.

What do you think? Does the combination of Groupon’s rapid response and scam regulations ease any concerns of being conned? Or do you fall under the ‘wouldn’t touch it with a barge poll’ category?