feeling conned by Groupon and Sexpo – Groupon resolves the issue

Over the past weekend there was an “adult expo” held in Johannesburg called Sexpo . This show is a regular fixture on the South African  calendar and is held in Durban and Johannesburg every year proving to be very popular with the South African crowd. This year there were close to 60 000 people visiting the show (source: http://www.thenewage.co.za/30788-12-53-The_numbers_tell_it_all). Not too shabby !

The price of the ticket is R150 for the regular ticket and R250 for the VIP ticket.

According to the official website:

sexpo pic

As per of their: “fantastic advertising campaign”, which included everything from billboards to radio ads and interviews.” (source: http://www.thenewage.co.za/30788-12-53-The_numbers_tell_it_all),  Sexpo used GroupOn as a way to market their VIP ticket with the following offer:


Here is where the problems crept in.

The VIP ticket was suppose to include a “Goodie bag” with various items valued at over R1000:


However, when the people who bought the coupon via GroupON arrived, they were told that the Goodie bags were sold out or no longer available.

People were not impressed. A GroupON voucher is a confirmed pre-paid sale !

The complaints started via all the platforms. On HelloPeter.com (search for Sexpo and then search for Groupon):


Complaints via Twitter :


Not sure what happened here but here is what every business can learn:

1. GroupON allows you to limit the offer – so there is no reason why they would run out of the bags.

The Lesson: be prepared. These tools allow to to have an actual number and not guesses of customer who bought your products.

2. GroupON and Computicket are confirmed sales – fully paid by the customer for the product or service. Therefore the sale was concluded.

The Lesson: again, no reason to be caught off guard and run out of stock. If the sales are confirmed, you have to ensure that you are not in breach of the contract. Make sure you have a system to deliver on your promises.

3. People are pissed ! – Its takes enormous coordination by the team to put together something like this. But instead of celebrating its success, they now have to deal with the negative publicity and the worst part: NO WORD. There is no word from Sexpo on their website, or on their Twitter feed or on their Facebook page. No apologies, nor explanation of what happened or in any way to even acknowledge the issue.

The Lesson: You can not burry your head and hope it will go away. It doesn’t. This is now down in history as a big stuff up not only for your business but for your partners and service providers as well – in this case Sexpo and Groupon are getting flamed.

Be aware of “Death by Expansion” – ie. expanding, growing and having lots and lots of sales, will kill your business if you are not prepared for it.

Don’t let your customer down.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

too true….

update: Groupon_ZA Twitter account has Tweeted:  <complaint name> Thanks for your patience.To updated-we have been in contact with Sexpo &will keep you updated as to the resolution.Apologies again

update 5 October: Groupon has been taking the Sexpo saga very seriously it would seem. On the 5th of October, Groupon has posted the resolution to those customers who feel let down. In a post on Facebook, Groupon Joint CEO Wayne Gosling comments that, “Sexpo unfortunately over promised to various companies without taking careful consideration of the available stock. This administration error on Sexpo’s part has left many unhappy customers post the event and they have taken full responsibility to rectify the situation”. Sexpo have confirmed that they miscalculated the number of gift bags that were available for sale and under-estimated the demand for the gift bags.

The resolution:

• Customers can request a full refund for each Groupon purchased provided they    didn’t receive a gift bag.

• Customers who received the partial refund of R50 and feel this was not sufficient can request a full refund and will be refunded the additional R75.

• Any customer who would like to receive the promised gift bag, in place of a refund, can submit a request to Groupon at [email protected] with their name and registered Groupon emailed address. Customers will be able to collect these goodie bags from the Platinum X Entertainment office in Krammerville within 7weeks (the delay will allow Sexpo to order and receive the additional stock required to stock the gift bag).
To read the full Groupon post, click here

Well done Groupon for taking the complaints seriously and for actively keeping your customers informed !

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