Everyone is looking for ways to pinch pennies and collective buying Web sites are becoming an extremely popular option to save on goods and services from local businesses.
Before signing up for the next big deal, Better Business Bureau recommends researching all businesses involved and reading the fine print thoroughly.
Groupon.com, which is a BBB Accredited Business, is one of the pioneers of collective buying and has 2.6 million subscribers. According to Groupon, they have made 1.8 million transactions that saved shoppers $85 million in their relatively short history.
Collective buying sites typically offer one deal every day, such as for products or gift cards redeemable at local businesses. If enough people sign up to buy, they'll get the product at a significant discount. If not enough people are interested, the deal is canceled and no one is charged.
Collective buying is a great way for businesses to attract new customers and for savvy consumers to land a great deal. It can be a win-win situation as long as the customer does research and understands all of the restrictions and stipulations.
Before signing up for a deal on a collective buying Web site, BBB recommends that online shoppers:
CHECK EVERY BUSINESS WITH BBB. Research the collective buying Web site with BBB, and the business that is offering the deal. Look for the BBB Accredited Business seal on both Web sites and only go with businesses that have a good rating with BBB.
BUY WHAT YOU WILL USE. Focus on items and services you'll use from stores and locations that are close by. If you experience buyer's remorse, you might not have a way to get your money back.
READ THE FINE PRINT -- ALL OF IT. The fine print on every offer is going to be different because every business has a different policy when it comes to eligibility, expiration dates, refunds, and black-out dates.
REACH KELVIN COLLINS, president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia & the CSRA Inc., at (800) 763-4222 or www.bbb.org.