Caveat Emptor: Group Buying Sites in the Philippines

Last May, my Mom and I bought from Metrodeal.com and CashCashPinoy.com vouchers for the following:

from Metrodeal:

Get in Shape for this Summer with Lipo-Sculpt Cavitation Sessions at La Estetica for P300 instead of P5000 – Save 94%

from metrodeal

This is a Lipocontour Slimming service which aims to reduce fat using completely safe and localized treatments. It is non-surgical and they said that it will be performed by “medical professionals.” The deal is priced 300Php for each session.

and from CashCashPinoy:

Only P550 for a Slim Detox Treatment including Detox Drink and Ultra Lipotherapy at the Zen Institute (valued at P5,250) Save P4,700!

The Slim Detox Treatment is a non-invasive, non-surgical and painless advance radio-frequency ultra lipo treatment from Zen Institute with the same purpose as with that deal with Metrodeal (to reduce fat).

We thought that this is a great deal! We can save a lot by buying these vouchers to try some treatments. My mom’s friends said that it takes about an hour for one session. Paying 300 or 550 SHOULD HAVE BEEN worth it.

The Problems:

First, calling these establishments were a hassle. It’s either their phone line’s busy or they didn’t have any slot left for a treatment. When I called LaEstetica early June, the only slots left were either for a 9am or 10am slot or for a treatment on August. You have to book early and you have to book all of your vouchers. When I tried to book my second voucher last August, they almost have no slots left except for October.

Also, it was only when we called that we were told that booking was only for a 15- or 20-minute treatment per session. The 90-94% savings ain’t true. It wasn’t pointed out on their website that it was only a trial treatment! A lipocontour/slim detox treatment is a one-hour service thing. That’s what our friends told us. We were not wise enough to ask if the deal is for a one-hour treatment. Mali!

And so my mom and I booked our first treatment with Zen Institute in Tomas Morato just to see what our 550php was worth. Grrrr. They were accommodating. BUT, after all the sales talk, our conclusion was that they sold that deal to recruit customers. The doctor (not Dr. MJ) told us that they cannot give i hour sessions since they sold it at a lower price. A voucher holder cannot even use 2 or more vouchers per visit to accumulate the 1 hour-normal session since “it would be unfair for those who were paying the full amount” if they would allow it (that line, I recalled, was made by the doctor at Zen). She gave us a quotation of a package and each visit consist of one-hour treatments!

Trying my luck with LaEstetica, I scheduled a visit about a week after our experience with Zen. No luck. Same thing. 20 minutes. I asked the girl who was doing the lipocontour if a regular session really consist of 20 minutes and she said… wait for it…. ONE HOUR!

So I emailed both group buying sites for a refund for my unused vouchers. Feeling ko talaga niloko ako. Below were their replies.

From Metrodeal:

Sorry to hear that you were not able to redeem your vouchers. As for your refund request, MetroDeal credits are now in your account in MetroDeal. You may now use your credits for your purchases of our new deals. Thank you for your continued patronage. 🙂

I’ve already checked my account there and they have credited me 1500 credit points for my use. GOOD JOB METRODEAL! Atleast they heard me.

Now as for CASHCASHPINOY:

Thank you for writing to CashCashPinoy! The Doctor at Zen said that for UltraLipo to be successful a minimum of only 15 minutes is needed which is why they decided to do just 15 minutes for this promo. Zen would not do a treatment that would be  unsuccessful because it is their reputation at stake. CashCashPinoy is a discount site but we do not sacrifice the quality just to reduce the price. Just like with Zen Institute, we only want the best for our members and would not forgo the quality or effects of the treatment just for the sake of lowering the price as our reputation is also on the line.

And just when they said at Zen that the offer is only a trial thing, to recruit customers blah blah. I tried to email them again but they sent me the same crap that the doctor from Zen said 15 minutes is enough. I guess they needed the money after all. So I didn’t bother calling up again. I didn’t bother calling Zen. As my mom puts it: “Sa kanila na lang yung 15 minute treatment na yan.” It’s not about the “successful”-ness of a treatment. It’s about serving to your customers the “regular” service you would have given another customer who bought it for the regular price. Hindi ko kailangan ng discounted service.

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4 thoughts on “Caveat Emptor: Group Buying Sites in the Philippines

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  2. Hi, KB! I have the same problem with Cashcashpinoy right now but my problem is I bought Php4,165 worth of vouchers for the Dermclinic NuLight treatment. They falsely advertised their promo by saying that for Php595, customers will have an 83% savings, which implies that customers will be getting Php3500 worth of treatment.

    Unfortunately, instead of the regular 60 shots of IPL, 10 shots lang pala sa voucher! I would’nt have bought the vouchers kung ganon. Discounted service talaga. I’m still demanding to get my refund back because that’s over 4k! That’s a lot of money. 😦 Hahay. I’m still really pissed right now. Did you just let go of your coupon ba? I’m planning to report this to DTI because, reading from their Facebook page and your blog, marami na pala silang nadaya because of their deceptive advertising. And this is against the law. 😦

    Wow, medyo mahaba na yung comment ko. haha. Sorry na-carried away lang. Still very pissed off, obviously. Anyway, I blogged about my experience here: http://beautynerdery.blogspot.com/2011/09/beware-of-cashcashpinoy-and-dermclinic.html I dont want other people to experience this trickery anymore.

    • Hi Darlizadar!

      I doubt if they’ll refund your money because they didn’t return mine. I still have my coupon since its valid until December. Yes we can report this with the DTI. I’m just to busy right now. If I could help just message me. Grabe talaga sila. I’m still pissed with Cashcashpinoy. Buti pa metrodeal nagrefund and they acknowledged my rants. Eh yung isa parang wala lang.

      • Thanks! I’ll let you know how it turns out. I really do hope they’ll sort it out soon. They already asked for my contact details so I think they’re also keen on getting this resolved soon. 🙂

        Subscribed to your blog!

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