Wednesday, January 25, 2012

City Deals: The End of our Relationship

I have been an advocate of, and a faithful, loyal customer to

You all know I'm a frugal spendthrift most of the time (darned Anthropologie)

But I've had enough.*

Late last summer, something went down with their business practices (rumor is they were not paying their vendors) and the company went dark for a few days.  Upon relaunch, many of the vendors who were selling discounted vouchers through them would no longer accept the vouchers.  My beloved Smart Cookie was one of them.  I had 3 vouchers that I held onto, waiting and waiting to see if they would eventually accept them.  Nope.  So I returned them.  And this exchange ensued:

Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012 14:42:53 -0700
Subject: Return for Smart Cookie certificates
To: X


We have processed a return for your Smart Cookie gift certificates for $15.75.  This may be used toward future CityDeal purchases.


CityDeals Customer Service

On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 3:05 PM, X wrote:
Thank you so much!

I did have a question/concern.
The only reason I had to return these is because of the fiasco back at the end of the year - I'm not sure the details behind it, but I do know the company went dark for a few days and some of the merchants no longer accepted the certificates. 
So, not only did I not get to use my certificates, your website stated these had to be sent via trackable mail.  I went to the post office and discovered that it would cost me $3.29 for the very cheapest method of trackable mail. 
I was very concerned about this because I was returning a product because the company failed me and then I ended up being in the hole because of it.
Is there anything CityDeals is doing for customers in this situation?  Like putting a $3.29 credit on the account?
It isn't the end of the world and I know that the customer service rep answering this e-mail is in no way responsible for this, I just thought I'd ask. 

Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012 15:12:58 -0700
Subject: Re: Return for Smart Cookie certificates
To: X

Unfortunately, we cannot issue returns either for certified mail costs or for .99 for shipping which is charged when certificates are mailed out.  We merely suggest that for customer's protection in the case the mail should be lost.  Or you would be more than welcome to drop the form and certificates off at our office in Draper.
CityDeals Customer Service

I will never again be using CityDeals after I use my credit (don't want to lose even MORE money by not using the credit)
A large part of my job is customer service and I know the way CityDeals is practicing is abhorrent.  They are making their customers, the ones who keep them afloat, pay for their mistakes. 

Maybe it is only $3.29.  But it wasn't just that.  It was forty-five minutes of my time filling out forms and driving to the Post Office and standing in line and the gas money to do so.  The least they should do is put a $3.29 credit on my account.  If this were one of my customers, I'd give them an entirely free product for the inconvenience - and I would, I do this every day. 

What good is a great deal if they make you pay for their bad business practices in the end? 

Long Live Groupon!
* I realize good people would lose their jobs if CityDeals went under, I don't want them to go out of business, I just want them to change their business practices.

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