Last week a box arrived in the mail from Groupon. Inside was something that I have desired for well over a year now, however I did not open it. Instead, I printed out a return label, and two days after the box came to my door, I took it to the post office to have it sent back. Inside that box was a PlayStation 4. As a gamer, I had wanted to get a PS4 since it launched, but various things have kept me from doing so up to this point. Two weeks ago it looked like the waiting period was finally about to end. I saw online a notice that Groupon was running a good deal for a PS4 and I clicked the link to investigate further. A standard, new PS4 costs $400, however a vendor had new PS4s on sale for $350, and Groupon had an online code you could use to take an addition $50 off the price, bringing it down to $300. There was free shipping, so with the applicable taxes the final bill for purchasing this PS4 would have been about $309. This PS4 even came with a game as a nice bonus. It was a limited time offer, but there was more than 24 hours before the offer ended, so I thought it wise to take a day and think it over. I slept on it, and after some more pondering the following morning and afternoon I decided that this was probably the best deal I had yet seen on a new PS4, so it was time to take action and make the purchase. The only downside I saw at the time was that I would have to create a Groupon account, which I knew would flood my email inbox with all their email offers. “That’s ok,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just unsubscribe as soon as the emails start showing up.” So, I created an account, and started the transaction. I clicked the Buy button, applied the discount code, put in my credit card and mailing information, and after double-checking everything I clicked the button to finish the transaction. The processing screen came up and lasted a few seconds. When that finished I was expecting to get an order confirmation screen, however instead I got a notice that the order had not processed and instructing me to contact Groupon’s Customer Support, along with a reference number which they could use to find out what had happened. Now, I completely understand that technical glitches sometimes occur, so I sent a detailed message to Customer Support with the reference number and an exact description of what had happened. I figured that it should be a simple problem to fix and I thought that within a day or two everything would be resolved and my purchase would be pushed through as originally intended. Sadly, this would not be the case. The next morning I had an email reply from Customer Support, which was the start of a long chain of emails that demonstrate what happens when Customer Support does not carefully read what you type, despite your best attempts to be clear and concise. They understood that I was trying to buy the PS4, but for whatever reason they didn’t understand that I was trying to purchase it with the discount code, so they eventually pushed through the transaction at the non-discounted price. When I learned this, I sent a polite but distressed email letting them know they had made a mistake and asking them to cancel the order before it shipped. However, they were not able to fulfill that request either, so my card got charged the wrong amount and the box with the PS4 was on the way to my residence. I sent Customer Support a final (again, polite and professional) email letting them know that they had made a mistake, and later in the week I went ahead and printed out the return label, even though the box had not arrived at that point. I was going to send this PS4 back. The PS4 inside that box was something I had desired for awhile, but Groupon had botched the order and as a matter of principle and personal integrity I could not give business to a company that had screwed up on such a basic level and then repeatedly failed to fix the problem. Also I wasn’t going to pay $350 (plus tax) for a PS4, as I knew that with patience I would eventually find another good deal. When the box arrived I didn’t open it – I just held it for a minute and then put it on the table. Opening the box and seeing the PS4 inside would tempt me to keep it, which in my mind would be akin to letting Groupon get away with their little debacle. No, there would be no opening, no reconsidering. Two days after the box arrived I drove to the post office and handed it off to them to deliver it back to Groupon. I was close, so close, to owning a PS4, but unfortunately I had no choice but to send it back.

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