Groupon says nursing is a "frivolous" reason to decline Botox - UPDATE

You may recall the clock was ticking on a Groupon I bought for Botox, so I declared I was weaning my baby. Her first birthday is coming up and I thought it was time anyway, so I went to work with what I thought would be an easy task. Just start giving her milk and shut down the Tata Tea Factory -  right? Easy peasy?

It turns out weaning can be easier said than done. First, there was the problem that I felt more pressured by public opinion to get her weaned rather than my own internal motivation. You're a "bad mom" if you don't nurse a full year and a "weird mom" if you go past that point. As you may have surmised, that is bullshit. The arbitrary age of one year is just the meeting point of two judgey points of view. Secondly, as you may have also guessed, Baby Buh-Stell wasn't having any part of this weaning bit. Seeing that little crying face made me realize I'll just have to face up to an unbotoxed, less glamorous mug. I'm a mom first and a sexpot  . . .  lets's put that a very far second.

I contacted the business offering the botox, and explained my dilemma. They agreed. Lacatating mothers cannot get Botox. I offered to use the paid-value of my Groupon towards a less invasive service (duck lips? facial?) but they directed me to get a refund through Groupon. The manager's words were, "I'm sorry, we can't offer an alternative service, but other clients in similar positions, be it pregnant, nursing or out of the country, have gotten refunds through Groupon."

So I turned to Groupon whose return policy is this:

If you’d like to return a purchase for any other reason, our Customer Support team will work with you to help make it right. Contact us.

Great! I emailed Groupon and explained my dilemma. Oh, except they declined my request for a return and directed me to a Groupon blog entry (that is NOT linked to the deals when you buy them) that says:

"if [ . . .] people take advantage of us by asking for refunds for things outside of our control or other frivolous reason [sic], not only will we be deeply saddened by our misplaced and naive faith in the fundamental goodness of people, we’ll be forced to switch to a more discriminating return policy."

Oh, apparently Groupon thinks a mutual decision between a medical provider and a mother to not go forth with a procedure that could endanger a nursing infant is "frivolous". Also, they are "saddened" by my deceitful plot to nurse my baby instead of just being a good person and forgetting all about my $160? Oh Groupon. You are such a hip, humble servant of humanity being taken advantage of by spiteful nursing mothers who exploit your return policy by asking for their money back on services they cannot receive.

I wondered if the fact I had originally been double charged for this Groupon had anything to do with their suspicion of me. For some reason the system issued me two of this particular deal - an error I had corrected nearly immediately. Is that enough to get me on a "repeat offender" list? If anything, the fact they charged me twice to begin with ought to make me even more mad. Charge me twice, make me go through the hassle of getting it corrected, then refuse me a refund because nursing my baby is frivolous. Thanks.

I guess Groupon hates nursing mothers just like lots of uninformed people. I thought this was 2012?

UPDATE- Um, boom. Looks like ole Groupon has changed their tune! A manager there saw this blog post and apparently came to some sense. I'm getting my refund and my face shall remain Botox-free. For now. YAY! Groupon is forgiven.

 

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  • fb_avatar

    Hi Jenna,

    I run the RealSelf.com blog (all about cosmetic procedures) and would love to interview you for a post about your story. If you're interested please email me at press@realself.com. Thanks!

    www.realself.com/blog

  • In reply to Makenzie Greenblatt:

    I would be delighted! I'll email you in a bit.

  • This is like Karen Conti saying yesterday that the contract with Carnival says your estate gets only $70,000 if you drowned on their ship, and she didn't seem to say that there was anything wrong with that. Read the fine print first, or as Judge Milan says "too bad, so sad."

    I don't think it was Groupon's fault that you clicked at least once, and probably twice, on this kind of offer before consulting a physician first. Besides not being good for baby, injecting pathogens probably isn't that good for you, too.

  • In reply to jack:

    Actually Jack, the fine print says in extenuating circumstances (which I have) Groupon will issue a refund. The blog entry negating the "fine print" is separate and not linked to the deal. I did my due diligence.

    Also you say Botox isn't great for my health. Well neither is booze, but I'm a grown adult whereas my child is not. I'm allowed to take certain risks for myself that shouldn't and wouldn't be foisted upon my child.

    This has nothing to due with me not consulting a physician beforehand. My child is unexpectedly still nursing. If I had unexpectedly gotten pregnant after buying the Groupon, would that also be a "frivolous" reason to ask that the stated refund policy go into effect?

  • There is still a certain amount of caveat emptor here.

    Your update says this got you your refund, and apparently The Fixer gets others refunds, too, but if the consumer isn't conned, I don't have much sympathy. My point was that your original click seemed frivolous, and to respond to your response to Expat, I don't think that the possibility that your baby wasn't weaned wasn't a reasonably unforeseeable circumstance, just one you chose not to think about until too late. That's why I said you should have consulted the physician first.

  • In reply to jack:

    Your comment is uninformed and insulting. Consulting my physician would have done nothing as far as the timing of weaning my baby. That is plainly ignorant. Also, this is my second child. The first one stopped breastfeeding at 10 months with little fanfare. Different kids need different things. Don't tell me how to parent.

    Further, why should Groupon and their client make a profit when I have received no service? It's a voucher. Nobody is out anything to make peace with me, as they cleverly figured out.

    You're already a known troll around Chicago Now. It's time to get off the bus, Jack.

  • The personal insult was uncalled for, but apparently typical for Chicago Now bloggers.

    If I want to blog about my personal complaints, have Jimmy Greenfield pay me.

  • In reply to jack:

    It's not a personal insult. You are just not informed as to what a troll is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=troll

    Now you know!

  • As has been frequently noted, WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A SOURCE.

    And your remark was insulting and of a personal nature, while my comment was simply that you should consider the consequences before spending your money, which you got back. I made no comment about your mothering skills.

    So, you can tell Jimmy that even though your blog is in the right pane, I won't be clicking on that any more. I guess that's what you meant by "get off the bus."

  • In reply to jack:

    Urban dictionary isn't exactly the bible either, but I'm trying to school you on slang. I see that is futile. Have a nice day.

  • Not sure what I think here - I come from a country where you wouldn't have got a refund for anything until quite recently! Obviously nursing isn't a "frivolous" reason, but they might be inundated with people having second thoughts about purchases, hence their reluctance to give you your money back.
    Whatever - a little publicity about it (above comment) and I'm sure they'll be thinking again! LOL

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    Thank you for your comments. I certainly didn't "change my mind" which is the crux of their argument. Changing your mind and having unforeseen circumstances are two different things. Also, it's not like I used something and returned it. Groupon and their client are out zero dollars to refund me, yet I am out $160 if they do not.

  • Actually....Groupon is saying that nursing is a "frivolous reason" for a refund, not that it's a frivolous reason not to have Botox done. But it still seems very petty on their part.

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    Well the refund is for Botox and my reason is unexpectedly still nursing.

    In all sincerity, thank you so much for reading! I should probably also disclaim this was supposed to be my first experience with Botox and only my second Groupon. I'm not super familiar with either process.

  • Your reason for wanting the refund is not at all frivolous. I'm no fan of Groupon but perhaps you might suggest an extension of the time you are able to use the coupon? I doubt you'll be nursing for another year. If they can't at least honor that request, start a petition on Care 2 Causes and give 'em rightous hell! Sounds like Grupon could use a little more bad press. I'll certainly sign the petition.

  • In reply to Danie:

    GREAT idea on the petition. Thank you for supporting me.

    The Geldner Center (botox biz) was pretty adamant they weren't going to accommodate me either, which to me suggests they were less than thrilled on their end of the Groupon deal as well.

  • Whoa, did they say they were responding to the blog? Or just came to their senses?

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    The way it went down was I was going back and forth with them on email yesterday and last night. I sent three more emails which they never responded to, which I took to mean they were final in their refusal.

    Then I called today and they barely said a word to me. They just put me on hold forever (he was mumbling, like he was reading something out loud to someone else but I could make out what they were saying, maybe my emails?) Then he was like, "check your email, a refund confirmation is coming". Click. No other explanation. Oh well!

    Thank you Jimmy!

  • WAIT! Jimmy! Nevermind, I guess it *is* because of the blog. I just got an email from them that they saw it and they're backpedaling. Damn. This thing is a machine.

    Here's what they said:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I'm a manager in Customer Support. Full disclosure: I came across your blog post, and I wanted to look into your issue. I'm so sorry for any confusion regarding the Groupon Promise. Specifically, the Groupon Promise exists to protect our customers who redeem their Groupon, and find that after using the service, that we let them down. The reason why you don't technically qualify for the "Groupon Promise" has less to do with your reasons why you can't go, and more to do with the fact that this Groupon is unredeemed.

    We've already paid this merchant for your patronage, even though you haven't found time to utilize their services yet, and now find yourself in a position where you are ineligible, which is why we offered you a refund in Groupon credit as opposed to a refund to the card you used to pay for the Groupon.

    In any case, I can understand how you may have been confused behind our reasoning, and would hate for this to spoil Groupon for you, so while we don't generally issue refunds if there's no fault to the business or Groupon, I'm more than happy to issue a full refund to your original form of payment. That should be back on your card within 10 business days.

    Thanks for using Groupon, and if you have any more questions, just let me know!

    Regards,

    Andrew J
    Groupon Customer Support

  • "Andrew J" from Groupon should write my text messages I send to my ex's after I do something stupid and need to backpedal.

    I will pay you Andrew J.

  • In reply to gwill:

    Andrew J's not too bad, huh? These are all Chicago people, so we gotta go a little easy. Mistakes happen.

  • Yay - good for you. Actually, I have Tweeted a few times about bad customer service and companies are at least quick to contact you!

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