Group Buying Sites: The MetroDeal Scam.


I have nothing against group buying sites. Actually, I love the concept! Who wouldn't be happy with discounts and promo packages? But all of us should take extra caution in purchasing deals.

Take for example MetroDeal's most recent offer -- Discover Sumilon Island: 3-days/2-nights for 2 persons, Airfare, Kayaking, Island Trekking, etc. for P9,900 ($200) instead of P19,800 ($500). I took a screenshot of the deal when they just posted it. Only 4 vouchers have been purchased when I snapped this.



Seems like a very good deal right? Airfare for two itself would already cost half of the amount posted. It's too good to be true!



Well, there's one lesson I learned.. If it's too good to be true then it probably is. I visited the site a few days after and took a screenshot of the deal. By this time, more than a 100 people have already purchased it.



Poor clueless buyers. Spot the difference!




As soon as I saw the first deal, I knew something was off. There is only 1 resort on Sumilon Island and it is NOT called Cebu R Resort. But that's me. How about those unfamiliar with the island?

Maybe it wouldn't be as bad if the text originally said that Cebu R Hotel is in Cebu City. That could've been argued as a case of "not reading the fine print". But as you can see, in the first package published, it was made to appear that accommodation is in Sumilon Island itself when in fact, Ensemble E-Travel will bunk you in a 2-star hotel somewhere in Cebu City. Worse, the hotel's rate is only P1,150 ($25) per person for a 3 day/2 night stay. Tsk tsk. I also took the liberty of taking a screenshot of your "real" hotel in case you purchased the deal.



Also, to get to Sumilon Island from Cebu City, you have to travel 3-4 hours via land and 30-45 minutes via boat. Take note that land transfers are NOT included in the package and will cost an additional P5,000 ($100).. Almost half the price of the package you purchased!

Filipino readers, it's similar to being told you'll be staying in Boracay only to find out that your resort is in some mountain in Kalibo and all you have is a day tour to Boracay's White Beach. And remember land transfers are not included so it's either you spend P5,000 or get stuck in the mountains doing nothing.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only package that has this, ahem, irregurality. I noticed the "changes in detail after hundreds have purchased" phenomenon in other MetroDeal offers such as in the Bantayan package (from an aircon room to a non-aircon room, from Sta Fe Resort to St Bernards Resort, from transfers included to sea transfers only, etc).

Again, I have nothing against group buying sites. Some are legit and offer really good deals. I guess the point of this entry is to warn coupon buyers to think before you click. The Internet is at your disposal so use it to do a background check before buying anything. With these scam-like things going on, Google is your bestfriend.

With that dear friends, any good or bad experiences with group buying sites around the world? I'd love to hear them!










34 comments

  1. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. xoxo

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  2. Hi Joei! 2 things, yes I agree about giving credit where credit is due! I have had my menu copied (in my private catering firm) copied and passed off as their original. (grrr) the other thing, I bought a Boracay deal at Metro deal so I will look into that after this. thanks so much for this post! :-)

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  3. That orange bag you mentioned on my blog sounds divine, al you need is a pink scarf to tie on...LOL.

    Lisa x

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  4. This the reason why I always make it a point to read everything before I purchase groupons. I also take screen shots if any form of conflict arises.

    I remember a few months ago, my boyfriend and I bought groupons for massage + ear candling only to find out that the company could only offer massage. Which btw costs the same thing as the groupon so we really didn't save anything.

    Thanks for the enlightening post!=)

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  5. Maybe we, as buyers, should also do our research and not click buy immediately. :)

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  6. thanks for the heads up about this! I have encountered lots of iffy deals with group buying sites, another thing they do is they put the peak rate as the basis price, but when you check the off peak price its actually even cheaper than buying from group buying sites. some things are really just too good to be true.

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  7. Nooo I was thinking about joining one of these deals....I now understand that they are a bit misleading! Thanks for sharing this!
    xx
    http://dontcallmefashionblogger.blogspot.com/

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  8. P.S. I am following you, hope that you can follow back!
    xx
    http://dontcallmefashionblogger.blogspot.com/

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  9. Hey, thanks for posting this!! I never bought anything with this concept and wasn't going to in the nearest future, but should I ever decide to go for that or have any of my friends or relatives wanting to try it out, I'd definitely keep your warning in mind!

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  10. Thank you for this. I'm very interested in those sites and I'm subscribing to a lot of them. I haven't had any bad experiences so far but I'll keep this post in mind next time I consider a deal. =))

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  11. Thinking before you buy is always great advice!

    Leia

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  12. I remember Deal Grocer's El Nido offer last summer. I checked the local rates with El Nido and ended up booking directly with them instead of Deal Grocer. Deal Grocer's is yes, cheaper, but does not include island tours (you won't really stay in the resort the whole time right?). Apparently, the island tours, when availed with Deal Grocer's El Nido promo, is P1000 per island, when it is free when you book directly with El Nido. Based on my computation, our stay ended up cheaper compared to if we booked with Deal Grocer, considering the free tours we availed during our 3 day stay. I found the promo kinda deceiving. It is always best to not rely completely on these buying sites' claims and instead, one must do his/her own research =)

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  13. WOAH!!! this is really helpful Joie!!!!!!!! Glad you blogged about this!! will share in my twitter as well!! O.o love your blog! :)

    And yes, got to blog All-Star Weekend. hee.

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  14. Very helpful post, even if I do not really buy from group buying sites (I am subscribed though). At least I am now more aware of these "discrepancies" should I feel the urge to avail of their promos.

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  15. Ooh, a friend of mine also posted something about this in FB! What he actually noticed was that the photo of Siargao they used on the site was a fake.

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  16. This is downright impossible even while just looking at the name of the deal. A night in Sumilon Island costs more than Php12,000 -- and that was 4 years ago. In cases like these, it's a MUST to read the fine print.

    Buyers should always beware of other "food deals" in which they'll be serving food, for 5pax for example, but after seeing your group doesn't have 5 people, they will usually serve a smaller amount of food.

    Always make sure what you get is what you have bought. The Zest Air fiasco from Ensogo comes to mind...

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  17. I am not for group buying sites. I had also read one that shows that purchasing tickets/accommodations at the hotel itself is way more cheaper than availing vouchers from these sites.

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  18. Yikes! This is plain and simple trickery. It really does help to read the fine print. I've only experienced buying a coucher once and I did the appropriate research beforehand so I made sure I got the best deal. But for these travel and accomodation cases, I've been hearing a lot of really bad stuff about them. Very bad.

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  19. Thanks for this, really helpful. Another thing to consider is the availability of the accommodation on your preferred travel date before buying any groupon.

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  20. I've heard it both ways. People that have felt like they've been misled with deals from sites like that and people that swear by them. Crazy!

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  21. I'm a sucker for these things. and yeah, hard lessons learned. One advertised an overnight package in a posh resort in tagaytay, only to find out that the same resort runs a promo which offers far less than what the group buying org offered. bummer!

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  22. Thank you for sharing about your experience in group buying sites. :) I browse these sites nowadays as I am looking for a Bohol resort deal. Never thought there would be such discrepancies. :( Your post helped me a lot to make sure that I always read the fine print to avoid a bad deal.

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  23. i am with you sissy! actually this has been going-on on some sites too, they were offering this kind of discount well in fact if you check the site of the merchant, that amount is their regular prices. tsk tsk! that is why whenever i saw some great deals that are tempting, i make sure that i check it with the merchant. better be safe than sorry!

    but yeah, i dont discount the fact that there are some legit deals offered on some sites too! bought and tried a few actually :) thanks for the post sis!

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  24. Hi Guys, just sharing my own experience. These group buying sites offer really great deals, so far I never encountered any problems with Ensogo, Metrodeal, CashCash, Nakamuraka, these are the sites I personally tried. I also purchased thru Buyanihan but my biggest regret was buying travel deals thru them that's being handled by Ensemble E-Travel. I guess I can blame that to the fact that it was my first time to buy travel deals but after the traumatic experience we had with Ensemble during our CDO-Bukidnon-Camiguin trip which we paid for 34,000 php, I swore that I would never purchase any deals whenever I see their names on it. You can see the details on this link: http://mysweetscape.net/internet/metrodeals-poor-service/. Better transact directly with the hotels, purchase the discounted vouchers and better yet, before purchasing, call the hotel directly and make some bookings if your preferred dates are available. Just pretend that you already purchased the vouchers (they won;t ask for the voucher number when you inquire). It would be much better as well if you will drop by the merchant's office personally to make reservations (for travels only). I have done this with the La Carmela de Boracay vouchers I purchased with Ensogo and I heard it was hard to contact the hotel so I dropped by their Makati office and made the bookings and never had problems with it. Also seen the La Carmela deal with Metrodeal but thru Ensemble and I said NO NO. So beware of this ENSEMBLE Travel, it's best to be safe than sorry. I also want to ask for some feedback about CashCash Travel Deals with IndoChina Travel. Haven't tried them yet coz I'm afraid it's an affiliate of Ensemble. If anyone was able to try their service, pls give us some feedbacks. Thanks.

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  25. We apologize for intruding like this. We are very sorry to hear all the problems and concerns you guys have been experiencing with regards to this company. We do certainly hope that this would not diminish your plans to explore the rest of the Philippines Islands :)

    We would just like to inform everyone that our company, e-Philippines Adventure Travel and Destinations, is a separate and distinct travel company from the aforementioned " Ensemble e-Travel Philippines". We are not connected or affiliated in any way with them.

    A number of their clients have already contacted us thinking we are of the same company. They are a wholly separate entity from us.

    With this, we wish everyone good luck with any deal that you have bought and hope that you will still be able to enjoy your trip :)

    explore, experience and enjoy the Phippines first!

    Sincerely,

    e-Philippines Adventure Travel and Destinations
    Email: info@e-philippines.com.ph
    Website: www.e-Philippines.com.ph
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ePhilippinesAdventureTravel

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  26. hi joei. i also tried this package. labo nga deal nila but in the end we enjoyed. i am researching for metrodeal and i have seen good and bad reviews. i also read http://blog.rainingpesos.com.ph/online-shopping-and-how-to-detect-a-scam-metrodeal-zalora-ewine-reviews-and-more/. i think ill buy something small then illl let you know

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  27. i have been buying vouchers from a number of group buying sites and so far i haven't had any problems.

    i usually buy restaurant or food vouchers and stay away from those travel packages. maybe that's the reason why i have no problems so far.

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  28. BATANGALA. I have yet to try their service again. Let's see. Will keep you guys posted :)

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  29. This is why I never buy from any of these group buying sites. I am afraid to experience the worst. Si hubby pa naman ay very particular sa service! :/

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  30. i just bought a galaxy s3 mini thinking its really a discount only to find out its the same price.and worst of all they didnt handover the item worth 14999.

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  31. Thank you for this very helpful information.

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  32. I've tried purchasing a 500peso restaurant voucher. It was geniune but I will not purchase again. Once is enough after reading negative reviews. Now, i want to delete my creditcard information from there website coz it might get hacked. There is no link or there is no option to do that. Unlike in amazon, once you log in to your account you can easily delete payment details/creditcard information. I don't trust metrodeal 100% and I feel my creditcard is not safe with them.

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  33. to protect your credit card information, even in your own account, you can delete it thru the following steps:
    1. log in your account
    2. go to https://www.metrodeal.com/mypaymentinfo
    3. click on delete my credit card info.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Anonymous for posting how to remove credit card information from Metrodeal. I sent an e-mail to support@metrodeal but somehow, it didn't work at first. It worked when I typed the link (as opposed to just copying and pasting to the browser).

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I enjoy meeting fellow bloggers and readers from all over so feel free to comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can :)

♥ joei