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New PIAC report, “Deal of the Day?: Consumer Protection in Online Group Buying Deals”

OTTAWA, March 19, 2014 – Canadian online deal site consumers expect a comprehensive refund policy, easily understood conditions and a complaint resolution process to assist them if they encounter redemption issues, according to a report released today by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) entitled, “Deal of the Day?: Consumer Protection in Online Group Buying Deals.”

The report recommended Canadian deal site industry leaders collaborate to create an industry body to address issues of commonality when required. Consumers and deal site operators would benefit from the creation of universal industry standards regarding:

• the redemption of deal site vouchers for their face value once they have expired;
• the period of validity for deal site offers. PIAC suggests this period be for one year after date of purchase; and,
• the refund of a deal site offer.

“Confidence in the Canadian deal site industry would be enhanced if consumers were assured of a hassle-free refund, face-value redemption if their deal expires and a year to redeem their deal site offers,” contended Jonathan Bishop, PIAC’s Research Analyst and author of the report. While deal site providers have responded to consumer concerns in recent years, Canadians continue to place a limited amount of trust in online deals. “Canadian consumers are once-bitten, twice-shy when it comes to deal site offers. They rarely spend more than $40 on a deal site offer, due to previous redemption experiences,” noted John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel.

The report recommended that Canadian deal sites consider collecting and displaying cumulative consumer feedback ratings for the retailer and deal site involved in each deal site offer. “Consumers, retailers and deal site providers would each benefit from an innovative customer feedback model,” claimed Bishop. The report also called for Canadian deal site providers to continue undertaking due diligence when negotiating a deal site offer with a retailer, limiting the number of deal vouchers offered under any deal, as well as the number of deal offers issued by a single retailer, when necessary.

To see the full report, please consult the following link:

thumb_pdfDownload File: deal_of_the_day.pdf [size: 0.59 mb]

To view the report in French, please consult the following link:

thumb_pdfDownload File: deal_of_the_day_fr.pdf [size: 0.68 mb]

 

PIAC received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations to prepare the report. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.

For more information please contact:

Jonathan Bishop
Research & Parliamentary Analyst
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002×23
jbishop@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

John Lawford
Executive Director & General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002×25
Mobile (613)447-8125
lawford@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

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