Thumbtack.com put out some research last week suggesting that many daily deals in the local services industry are priced equal to or higher than the average local price of the service. In other words, the deal isn’t always much of a deal.
Since that study, the site has done some more digging, placing phone calls to various businesses that have run deals with Groupon and LivingSocial, and has found that the deals appear to have been inflated in various cases.
“In 8 of the 10 deals we reviewed, the ‘regular’ prices quoted by Groupon and Livingsocial were higher than the prices quoted by the same merchants when we called them,” says Thumbtack.
“Of five Groupon merchants that we called, all quoted prices lower than the merchant’s regular price advertised by Groupon,” says Thumbtack. “Of five LivingSocial merchants that we called, three quoted prices lower than the merchant’s regular price advertised by LivingSocial.”
It’s not as if inflating prices for sales is a new concept. I’d say the practice has been around for decades, but in the midst of the daily deals craze, it’s got to be worth noting that some businesses may be doing this. Perhaps before you buy a “deal,” it would be wise to price the service to begin with, before determining just how great a deal you’re actually getting.