EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

August 16, 2013

What's the deal with 'Daily Deals?'

Dear Jill,

I would like to know if you ever take part in daily deal websites. Are there any good deals on them? What kinds of things do you buy? I trust your judgment and would like to know how you know if something is a deal worth buying, especially deals for family fun and activities. And, do you ever have trouble redeeming them once you buy them?

Joanna T.

There certainly is a plethora of daily deal websites out there these days. I do enjoy some of them, and I’d be happy to share my strategies for using them wisely:

Stick to reputable websites

Two of the largest and most popular deal sites are Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com. The majority of offers that I purchase or take part in come from these two websites. Why? Both have been around for a long time in “web time”; nearly five years for Groupon and six for Living Social. Both sites have established customer service policies to guarantee the validity of their offers and offer refunds or credits if something is unsatisfactory. And, both sites usually have a countless offers running simultaneously — everything from entertainment to dining to destination stays.

My local newspaper also has a daily deals website that offers discounts on local, area attractions. I’ve purchased from them enough times to know that their offers and deals are reputable. And, because it’s a smaller newspaper, their offers tend to be very local to the area I live in.

There are many websites offering daily deals though, and every few months, another one seems to disappear. The market is rather saturated with these kinds of deals and, as with anything, the sites with the best reputations and customer service continue to reign.

Look for deals that are half-off or better. Just as we validate a grocery item’s price by trying to cut its usual price in half with a coupon or sale, you can apply the same barometer to daily deal sites. When I make a decision to purchase a deal, I compare the purchase price to the actual cost of the experience if I purchased without the discount. If the deal price is half off the regular price or better, it’s a bargain.

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