In a recent article, we asked if Groupon will be better now, following regulation from the UK's Office of Fair Trading (essentially, the UK's version of the FTC).
In a blog post called "Groupon's Commitment to Customers," the company responded to the OFT's regulation, talking about all of the improvements it has been making, and will be making. Apparently, however, that only applies to the UK.
That's not to say the company hasn't made or isn't making improvements elsewhere, but the outline for the UK isn't necessarily the same as it is everywhere else.
While the post was posted on the company's UK blog, and discussed the OFT situation, one might expect the "how we’re making it right" elements to apply to the broader Groupon business, around the world. That it apparently not the case, necessarily. A Groupon spokesperson tells WebProNews, "The blog refers to specific actions we're taking in the UK to address issues the OFT identified; some were designed in response to the OFT's findings and others were already underway. It is aligned with our corporate mission and values carried out in the rest of Groupon's 48 countries, but again, should be read as a plan we're executing in the UK." Emphasis added.
There is "zero relationship" between Groupon's launch today of Groupon Scheduler across the US and Canada, according to the spokesperson, even though it's in beta, and was only available in a handful of cities until today, which seems interesting, considering one of the "how we're making it right" bullet points in the UK post was:
"We will provide merchants with a free online scheduling system allowing customers to book appointments at the time of purchase."
That's exactly what Groupon Scheduler is.
"Groupon Scheduler originally soft-launched last year and the product is part of a larger timeline of merchant product development - an evolution of tools provided to small business owners to help them run operations more efficiently," said the spokesperson. "The OFT only reviews UK operations; Scheduler is currently open to North American businesses only. They're unrelated."
"For merchants, this is an easier way to efficiently manage appointments and employee workload, while catering to customers' requests at any time of day," she said. "Scheduling systems, especially the good ones, are often too expensive for the average small business owner. Groupon Scheduler is free and has already alleviated this point of stress for many of our salon and appointment-based merchants."