Cheated by Groupon SG*

cheated by groupon, benefit little love potions

*DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way defamatory to Groupon Singapore, every penned thought is wholly from my experience as an affected consumer and the after sales service I was subject to.

If you are from Singapore, and you love buying makeup or stuff off groupon, you probably want to read this.

Recently in April I came across this Groupon deal offering Benefit’s Little Love Potions set at $39.90. Boy was I elated. I’ve been a regular shopper on Groupon and things were always rosy.. until now.

groupon 5

Here’s the deal, nothing fishy except the superbly inflated retail price which we all know is just a marketing strategy. I thought, hey this is a nice opportunity to stock up on some of the travel sized Benefit items which I love. And so, I placed an order and pretty much anticipated the day the parcel would arrive.

Eventually the parcel did arrive, but upon opening the polymailer bag, below was the tirade of emotions that washed over me.

Awesome, lets open this package and check out the goodies.
Hmm, the box looks cruddy. Maybe it’s due to shipping. – continues unwrapping
Why is there this strong, artificial fragrance? I don’t recall my benefit stuff having this smell
Why is the packaging of the individual tubes looking so shoddy? Stickers askew, scratches on WattsUp
Let’s open the items and take a peek, just to be sure.
Right, I’ve been sold a box of fake cosmetics from Groupon. How fantastic.

And so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Every single item had the same issue – bad text, off-coloured tubes, nauseating floral fragrance, but I’ll be showing just those with superbly apparent, screaming “I’M A FAKE” products.

cheated by groupon, benefit little love potions

IT’S POTENT – there’s no way I’m going to put this cream of unknown origin on my eyes. Print job was shoddy, text was all faded and blurry. Cream smells of artificial rose-ish fragrance

groupon 1cheated by groupon, benefit little love potions

WATTS UP! – Yea, really whats up? Why is the fake tube all scratched up? It’s a no brainer that this screams fake. A fresh box definitely would not tolerate having this QC failed product being circulated.

I took this out for a look, and compared it to my authentic Benefit Watts Up. The difference was as clear as night and day. The real deal has a flat bullet, and the branding monogram is crisp and sharp. The counterfeit, well it sported a lipstick bullet and the branding was a hot mess. The real thing clicked shut securely while the fake was barely able to keep itself together.

cheated by groupon, benefit little love potions

BAD GAL LASH mascara – I have the miniature of It’s Real, hence the different coloured tubes. That aside, after scrutinising the fine text, I found a new US state called San Frabcisco. WOW REALLY? How disappointing can the fake set get.

Other things included:
1. Hoola powder not sitting in its tray, sticker pixellated and askew
2. All other items – Benetint, high beam, stay don’t stray all sported lousy printing and questionable contents

I was incensed. So mad, so angry. I called up Groupon’s helpline, no one answered. I took to facebook to suss out what’s on their page. Lo and behold, it seemed that other consumers were taking their purchase woes onto their comments section. I left my disgruntled comment, and called the helpline a couple more times. Mind you, this was on the day I received the parcel, and that was in end April 2015.

Finally I got through the line. I nicely told the operator that I’ve been sold fake goods and I wanted a refund.

I’m not the kind of customer to kick a fuss, it’s not the customer helpdesk’s fault anyway, and they’re the ones helping you expedite your case. So be polite.

The helpdesk told me they would look into it and give me a response within 7 – 10 working days. I emailed them photos of the cruddy stuff and re-iterated I wanted a refund, no credits. (not that I will ever buy stuff from Groupon again, this experience broke the deal)

So 7 to 10 working days, during that period of time I had to call up the helpdesk 4 times to Β expedite my case and each time I got the same template response. “We are looking into it and will get back within 7 to 10 working days.” I was starting to get annoyed, I was getting the impression that “hey this happens all the time, we’ll look into your Β case.. eventually.” I made one more call, and told them if I didn’t get a response from the first time they told me “7 to 10 working days”, I would bring this to social media and CASE (consumer rights association).

Eventually someone emailed me and told me to bring the product to their customer service center and have my refund processed.

I asked them: “So.. I was sold counterfeits and now I have to make the effort to spend more to go down to your location and have my rightful refund processed. Isn’t there a return service?” I was answered with a “No.” – wow, awesome. Just awesome.

First I receive fake makeup, then now I have to go to them at my expense to return the item. What could I do then? If I didn’t go to their service center I will never get my refund. So without a choice, I went. Had the item returned, had a service ticket issued and until now I am still waiting for my money to return to me.

I had to email their service desk again to check on the status of my refund, and as of yesterday someone replied and advised me to wait 7 working days for the cash to be credited to the method of payment I used. This is akin to a new waiting period from the 2 weeks I’ve been waiting for nothing since the day the item was returned.

I’d have to be a saint to have so much patience for such impeccably slow and inconsistent customer service. I do not deny I am utterly disgusted, annoyed and displeased with the way my refund was handled. The whole incident has spanned for 2 months just to get my $39 back.

Groupon, please get your act together and have some basic urgency and respect for your “Groupies”. If you really want to grow, minimally evaluate these partner merchants of yours and make sure they are selling quality products and not trying to fleece people for a quick buck.

In my honest opinion, I doubt all those people who bought this set realise they got fakes. I happened to know because I have Benefit items. I told their staff in all ethics they should have suspended that deal until the investigation was over. But who would care right? The deal went on and now it’s “SOLD OUT” – So I can safely say 107 people have been fleeced by a dishonest Groupon partner merchant.

Today is day 2 of the 7 working days for my money to be refunded. We’ll see if I eventually get my money back. Else, it’s one final call to groupon and a trip to the police station.

Have you also encountered the same situation as me? What did you do? Share with me in the comments below πŸ™‚

UPDATE: I finally received my refund to my credit card. Though I am thankful that I did get my refund, as opposed to others who claim they didn’t get a single cent, this experience has thoroughly marred my impression and confidence in shopping with Groupon. Alas, I am going to unsubscribe from their emails.. today.








14 thoughts on “Cheated by Groupon SG*

  1. Hi Heidi

    Thank you for posting this! I had a recently similar experience on Groupon too when I bought the StyleNanda makeup brushes. When I received them, they felt nothing like the authentic ones I’ve seen in Korea or Singapore. The bristles were terrible and rough, but the quality of the printing etc were done fairly well. I suspected they were counterfeit but just counted myself very unlucky and too gullible. Kudos to you for going through the whole nine yards to get your refund! I didn’t even know a full refund was possible because Groupon does not claim responsibility for the goods their merchants put on the site. After reading your post I’m really kicking myself!

    It was a very unpalatable experience on Groupon I must agree! Although I still browse, I have never bought anything from Groupon since then. The unbelievable perfumes and cosmetics deals just look too good to be true now. It is very disappointing. I used to trust that Groupon at least does some QC but now, sigh! It’s a real shame! 😦


    • Hi Catharine!

      Oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear of your experience. In my honest opinion Groupon should really verify all merchant goods before allowing them to be listed. It’s not fair to consumers to see authentic brand photos online, be misled into buying, then receive crap counterfeits. If your purchase was recent and you can justify that you received fakes, I truly suggest you to fight for a refund. πŸ™‚


  2. I had the same issue when buying Laneige BB Cushion on Groupon.
    The item arrived…and it was quite obvious that the BB cushion is fake.
    I made a complaint and the customer service said they will prevent such matters from happening….
    But three weeks from then, the partner merchant is still selling the item.
    Will never buy any goods from Groupon again.
    Bad bad impression.


    • Hi Pristine,

      I’m sorry to hear you had such an unpleasant encounter. How fake did the BB cushion look, and did you manage to get a refund from this? I’ve totally unsubscribed myself from all their emails and will also never patronize them again. The customer service is terrible and their products are lackluster at best. By the way, happy new year in advance! πŸ™‚


  3. Hi Heidi, I had the same experience with Groupon SG and I’m convinced too that they are/were selling fake Benefit Cosmetics!

    I ordered the “Benefit Cosmetics Big 10 Bestsellers” from them in Jan 2015. Just after I made payment, I started having a bad feeling that the deal was too good to be true. Upon googling, I found that Benefit officially sold the set several years back and it should no longer be available. So I wrote to Groupon to enquire about the authenticity of this set they were selling. They gave me a template answer:

    “Everything that we sell on Groupon goes through extensive quality checks before being featured. Often, we source products direct from the producer, but even when we don’t, we make sure to check out the origin of the item so we can be sure we’re not selling anything inauthentic. Groupon Goods orders are often fulfilled by a third-party shipper rather than a manufacturer.”

    The set arrived a few days later and one look at it and I knew that it was fake. The box was kinda filmsy, text poorly printed on the products (i.e. the thickness of the strokes were inconsistent for the font). The sticker labels were also crooked and poorly presented (I had this Hoola powder sticker that was so crooked it was ridiculous). I’ve been using real Benefit products (bought from departmental stores or direct from the US website) for years and the quality of this Groupon set was clearly very different from what I’ve come to expect from Benefit (or any legitimate cosmetics brand for that matter). I was so pissed off!

    Fortunately for me, I noticed that out of the 10 items in the set, 5 were entirely different from what Groupon advertised. I used that as an excuse to get a refund (rather than waste more time arguing with them about the authenticity of the products) and they refunded me (yes, I had to go down to their store too). Phew!

    I did notice that hundreds of people bought the set together with me and I doubt most of them knew what they were getting… What was worse was that Groupon continued selling the set (even after I alerted them) and even put up a new set for sale a couple of months later! I couldn’t take it, so I wrote an email to Benefit Cosmetics. Unfortunately, I received no reply to date.

    I do hope Groupon will stop such irresponsible selling before anything bad happens to anyone. As for me, I’ve learned my lesson that there are no free things in this world. For cosmetics and skincare, I strictly only buy them from departmental stores or reputable online stores like Luxola. As for Groupon, I now buy ONLY dining deals from them but will never ever buy any goods/products again!


    • Hi Sher!

      Firstly, Happy 2016! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s a bummer you had to go through what you did.

      The template answer you shared, it’s ludicrous. If they did extensively check the merchant or goods, the deal would have never made it to the website. I’m pretty sure the “products” are bought in bulk from places like taobao and masqueraded as the real deal.

      Mine had sucky packaging too. The Hoola was hanging off the plastic shell and all the misprints you noted, I had them too. Grr so angry still, looking back now.

      Honestly I feel Groupon has lost its touch. The customer service is horrible (they give you all the blanket responses and they don’t care), the products are questionable and the overall consumer experience is crap. Ever since that incident, I have never patronized the site again.

      I totally feel you babe, receiving a bunch of crap bogus items when original images are presented, and having to twist an arm and leg to get your money back.

      Someone should lodge a CASE report.. Or maybe there already are. Whichever the case, I’m pretty sure both you and I will never click on the “beauty” deals on Groupon ever again.

      I honestly hope this posting garners enough eyeballs for people out there to realize:
      – you highly may not get what you think you paid
      – groupon will not stop selling the deal even if you report it
      – their customer service is crap (I mean, I had to go to their shop which was out of the way to get my money back. They should come collect the item from me in my opinion)

      Overall what I felt was misrepresentation and they came across as unwilling and hesitant to give transparent answers to us consumers. They will definitely need to up their marketing & PR game.

      It’s a pity Benefit didn’t respond to your email. Though not directly, this still affects their branding 😦



      • Thanks for responding, and happy new year too! πŸ™‚

        Yes, that template answer – I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes when I first read it. I do understand that Groupon deals are largely sold by third parties so it would be very challenging for Groupon to make sure that ALL the products sold by these third parties are the real deal. But after a customer highlights concerns about a fake product (something that one puts on the face no less!), you would think that they would pull the product off the shelf and do some investigation. My email to them was polite too, not angry/childish.

        But what do we know. Shortly after my episode with them in Jan, they were selling those “Benefit Cosmetics” sets again. Your deal was in Apr so that was probably a few batches later than the one I encountered. I can’t bear to think of the hundreds of people who have been putting those dubious products on their faces, ouch!

        So yes, I wish too that more people will come across posts like yours here, or those warnings posted by well-meaning people on Carousell. Actually, I’d kinda forgotten about my episode but I saw someone selling a Groupon-bought “Benefits Cosmetics” set on Carousell today, and the alarm bells started ringing in my head again. In Jan when I googled, no one seemed to have raised any questions about the Groupon-Benefit thing, but today when I googled, I found your post. I also came across someone’s post on Benefits Cosmetics’ Facebook page in Jun 2015, suspecting that she bought a fake from Groupon ( Unfortunately, Benefit did not reply her either. Sigh.

        As for Groupon, like I said, I haven’t written them off just yet. I do bag some great dining deals from time to time, especially for restaurants I already go to. However, it’s best never to buy any brand-name items from them. As for brandless miscellaneous items, often there are better deals on Qoo10.

        Anyway, nice “chatting” with you! πŸ™‚


      • Hi Sher,

        Nice chatting with you too! Yea I agree with you that Qoo10 is a better platform to look for stuff like Korean cosmetics. (At least you can see from the tracker that they do come from Korea)

        I guess we can only hope that someday Benefit takes some form of action against these counterfeiters, and that Groupon can step up on their credibility.

        Bottom line is, no one should buy dubious makeup shown as authentic. That’s plain fraud.

        Have a great year ahead! πŸ™‚


  4. I bought a fake L’Oreal Mythic Oil from Groupon Malaysia. Up now, they are still ‘looking into it’.

    LESSON: Only buy branded goods on Groupon if it comes directly from the manufacturer or authorized distributor!


  5. Hi Heidi,

    I believe i got sold a counterfeit product from groupon as well !! My mom recently bought for me a Sulwhasoo Cushion from Groupon and i just received it recently. It looked so legit from the packaging UNTIL i tried it. It was terrible. The foundation was so sheer and it was so different from the highly raved cushion. I had my doubts initially… i thought that maybe it was just my skin. But after some googling on the fake cushions and comparing with another cushion from the same parent company (Amore Pacific) … I pretty sure the one my mom gotten was fake. I’m so angry ! How can groupon even allow the selling of counterfeit products. This is no joking matter especially when i don’t know what is in this fake product and i already used it on my face without knowing! I’m so worried that my face is gonna breakout !! ): Even as i type this now, i can feel my skin burning slightly already after removing the product !! >(

    I will be writing in an complaint after going down to the actual Sulwhasoo Store and confirm that the one i gotten is a fake ! So unethical and unprofessional of groupon !! I am never buying anything from them ever again !! Ugh !!

    I’m so sorry if my comment sounded nasty ! But i just feel so frustrated about this ! T_T


    • Hi Le!

      First things: your blog photos are fab, Korea looks immensely picturesque from your photos ❀ and thanks for the OOTD credits, I'm so gonna haul me some TB clothes now πŸ˜›

      I'm sorry to hear about your Groupon incident, I am assuming you have used Sulwhasoo's cushion before to know that the Groupon version's consistency is different. I haven't used that before (I know its highly raved) – If you do a review, please tag me for I would love to read it. The thing that the Groupon staff told me was they approve the merchants but I don't think they do a physical "authentication" of the products sold. Nonetheless its still not right, discerning consumers won't know they got a dupe.

      I've since unsubbed from all Groupon services and mailers, and I would generally caution not to buy beauty products/ perfumes from them. In all fairness, I think tickets and travel coupons (generally any vouchers offered by them) are fine, but you know, just read the fine print. I hope you get some form of resolution babe!


      • Hi Heidi !

        Thanks for your kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed my photos as much as i did taking them ! πŸ™‚ Taobao is certainly a heaven for nice clothes !! πŸ™‚ Do check them out !! Heh!

        I have never actually used Sulwhasoo Cushion before. But the product that i gotten was so gross and weird in consistency as compared to the Laneige Cushion that i have been using regularly! I actually inferred that i gotten a fake one considering that laneige and sulwhasoo is under the same parent company Amore Pacific and it would be totally weird if the more established and higher end brand’s cushion (sulwhasoo) is lousier than their lower end brand (Laneige)! I also came across articles about fake cushion online. Thus, i was pretty sure the one i gotten was a fake. I just feel bad for the other girls who gotten the same product as me thinking that it was the real product because it is really hard to tell the difference unlike your case.

        That being said, i shouldnt have been greedy and gotten the cheaper deal thinking that its probably legit. Oh wells, lesson learnt the painful way. ):
        Groupon def. need to do something about this. Otherwise third party merchants can just sell their fake products without any problems because i believe, most Singaporeans trust groupon, thinking there’s some sort of QC involved. But you are right on the deals on groupon that are alright. I think they should stop allowing third party merchants to sell beauty products unless its from the main distributor/company.

        I will be emailing in them soon, hopefully i get some sort of refund ! πŸ™‚

        I hope my comment wasn’t too lengthy for you to read! ^^v


      • No worries at all!

        You may have to constantly hound them for the refund, I remember I made endless calls and well, follow-ups. Think loanshark hounding, that was pretty much the frequency I called. Hopefully all you have to do is to bring the item to their groupon shop @ amara hotel and then yet another wait for them to credit your cash back.

        They’re more prompt to calls than emails, but just a heads up their CS isn’t really the most helpful around. Hopefully that has changed. πŸ™‚


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