Share: have you bought a beauty coupon deal?

Wow, I have no idea since when, the number of websites offering online coupon deals have multiplied. Every day, other than attractive deals on spa sessions, facials, manicures and pedicures, I also see other items like holiday packages, restaurant deals, financial products, music lessons, etc on special offers. I’m sure you have seen these around one time or another, or maybe are even a frequent buyer of them because such online coupon deals allow us to buy offers at a much lower price and the prices are really irresistible.

Too good to be true?
For example, a makeup workshop and facial session worth $160 going for $28; or a 60-min full body massage worth $300 going for $23 only; and a classic mani and pedi session worth $200 going for just $20. Very attractive right? If you’ve come across such deals, you’ll know that they’ll give the full details of the deals along with the terms and conditions, which seem pretty straightforward with no strings attached. Or is it?

Any catch or strings attached?
I’ve used online coupons to purchase products but believe it or not, I have not bought any of these online coupon deals. Based on what I’ve read and heard, the offers and the responses have been mixed. Some offers are genuine and do not come with any strings attached and yet some users have had unpleasant experiences such as sloppy customer services. So this is why each time I see something attractive, I’ll click on the buy button but then back out at the last minute. My fear is having to deal with hardsell tactics. I mean, surely there is a catch to such an attractive offer isn’t it? Otherwise, why would the company offer such an attractive deal? In fact, I know that some of the businesses are losing money providing such offers. However, their rationale to provide such deals is that this will help them expand their customer base rapidly and hence, wouldn’t it mean they’ll capitalize on the opportunity to hold their audience “captive”?

What’s your opinion?
But I’ll have to concede the deals are pretty much irresistible and so I’ll like to hear your opinion on them. Have you bought a beauty coupon deal online? How was your experience? Was it worth the while and would you buy it again?

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  1. Paris B says:

    Yes I have. The spa deal was a wash out. The facial deal was alright, but I got fed up when the hardsell started. I’ve stopped buying group deals of any sort after trying a few.
    Paris B last post is: Ni Hao Shanghai… Again! With A Beauty Trip Around The Shanghai Museum

  2. xin says:

    Same as ParisB, I have mixed experiences with group purchases. I have stopped purchasing spa/facial, but i bought several deals on products, eg photobooks, which i know there would not be any hardsell or string attached.
    xin last post is: My Proud Purchase of the Year: Braun Buffel Luisa Card Holder

  3. Joyce September says:

    I would never get those spa/facial deals because there’s bound to be hardselling at the end of the session. It’s like those roadshows you see at malls, slashed prices to gain attention.

    I have never use any coupon deals before, and am skeptic, especially with travel. Don’t want to be stranded overseas lol
    Joyce September last post is: Lancôme Génifique Yeux Concentrate

  4. Jo says:

    yup, bought a few beauty vouchers – massage and eyelashes curl. So far, I had no luck with hardsell tactics..Heehee..Other than that, I have no bad experience.

  5. sesame says:

    So there is hardsell afterall. Argh…I dislike dealing with that.

  6. sesame says:

    Ah that’s clever…being more selective and buying products that won’t allow for pushy tactics. I think those that get delivered to your home via post is good.

  7. sesame says:

    You’re skeptical too? So am I and more so with the beauty deals because we all know how they operate. And oh, I did read some foul up with holiday packages….have to be very careful I guess.

  8. sesame says:

    So you still had to endure the hardsell tactics? But if their service is good on the whole then it’s at least not too bad. But I still cannot “tahan” having to deal with pushy sales staff.

  9. karen says:

    recently i just bought a medi n pedi voucher, hope i wont get those hardsell thingy.. **cross finger**

  10. EcoBeauty says:

    I’ve always been so tempted to buy beauty coupons especially for facials and massages but my fear of being cornered into a hard-selling ring always prevails.

    I’ve only tried buying food coupons and travel deal (once). Hubby & I will be using the travel coupon this Oct and I’m crossing my fingers and toes that they won’t ask us to fly back to Singapore from China in a kite.
    EcoBeauty last post is: Review: Silk Naturals Flirt Sheer Blush

  11. BatAttack says:

    I tried it once and bought some hair styling products, that were delivered to my home. Everything was okay, but I never had the temptation to try again, especially after some articles showed up in press.

    In Lithuania (however, this might be the case in other countries too), there was a slight scandal with a mani+pedi group coupon of a “Get 80LT worth of services for 20LT” type of a deal. It seemed like a very good deal, the pictures were nice and so some people were interested and got the coupons. 80LT is something you would leave at a high end salon for a mani+pedi here, but it turned out to be a rather shabby salon, the servicing person was rude and did things crudely, didn’t listen to requests not to cut the cuticles, left the client with bleeding fingers, said that a hand massage with moisturizer was an extra you had to buy and the pedi was altogether denied and told to come as a normal paying customer. Overall, a horror story.

    I think here, some businesses pretend to have higher prices so that the discount would be more impressive and in the end you can be left feeling betrayed. That’s why I would probably never get a coupon for a service.

  12. Sel says:

    I think it really depends on luck. I’ve bought quite a no. of vouchers from these group purchasing sites. Of course, I’ve had my share of hardselling, but hardselling is rampant in spas / facial salons anyway, so whether you go as a coupon customer or a normal customer, it’s the same! (I’ve since learnt the art of rejecting firmly.)

    I find that these “deals” are actually good for trying out the services of the spas / facial salons before you actually commit a big amount in them. Or simply to take advantage of a cheap deal! But we should not have too high expectations for such deals.

    I’ve had a fantastic experience with Ikeda Spa, bought the $38 coupon off one of the sites and the whole experience was awesome. In fact, there was no hardselling at all, and on top of that, they offered me another $180 voucher for my next visit! I was so pleased with their service I signed up a package with them on my 2nd visit and nothing has changed, service remains top-notch and not just from my therapist, but from all their staff.

    I’ve recently bought a travel package to Phuket and I’m hoping that I won’t face too many problems (some problems are expected, e.g. availability since 2000+ ppl bought it too!!) with my booking! *cross fingers*

    All in all, when purchasing coupons from these group buying sites, one should ALWAYS read the fine print (T&C) carefully before you buy to avoid any rude surprises when you use it!

  13. Sylvia says:

    I have bought several for facials and other beauty treatments and have good experiences for the most part. My experience is that you get the normal service as you would normally get and I find it a good way to get to know a different business. I think that what you need to do is to decide for yourself beforehand that you will NEVER sign up for a package on the same day as you have had the treatment. Of course they will always try to sell you something (some more than others) but I find it easy to say that I’m not interested, and basically explain straight away that I never sign up for a package before thinking about it at home. That way you keep those ‘sales talks’ to a bare minimum and can keep the whole experience positive.
    Sylvia last post is: How to dress the apple body shape

  14. sesame says:

    Same here! Quite scare of committing to a beauty deal that might leave a bad after taste.

    Well, you’ll be blessed with an enjoyable trip so don’t worry too much. I think they are now wiser not to make bogus offers due to the negative publicity.

  15. sesame says:

    Hmm…very interesting about some salons pretending to charge a higher price. I understand that the coupon websites themselves get like 50% of the deal so if that’s the case, it’s quite hefty to the salons to bear the price too. But really, I think salons that offer such deals must be ready to honor and provide a good service and not try to shortchange customers. It’ll leave a very bad taste and bad word-of-mouth!

  16. sesame says:

    Very good advice! Read the fine print! What you mentioned about adjusting expectations is also true…we should be a bit more flexible in terms of what we expect with such deals. However, I still think the service level should be acceptable. I’m okay with a bit of hardsell but terribly frighten of those who are too pushy.

    I’ve heard of Ikeda Spa – pretty high end isn’t it? Well, if the service is good and offer is great, then yes, definitely a good way to try out before committing more $ into a package.

  17. sesame says:

    That’s a good strategy. I guess the hardsell depends on the company and how much pressure they give to their therapists. Actually if they just educate, leave the customers to decide and provide an acceptable or even good service level. chances are, the customer will return and may even bring some friends along.

  18. sesame says:

    Haha…use some of the strategies given by the readers here. Some very sound advice!

  19. Stephanie/Yukaeshi says:

    I’ve just only purchased a Decleor facial from those sites after contemplating through a multitude of those for offer- mainly because the location was nearby my place and it’s a brand I sort of trust. That, and I’d like to give Decleor a try as well, and it was 70%+10% off so I figure it’s not too bad for a first try.

    I haven’t made my appointment yet, and my only concern at the moment is the hardsell. I’ve had my fair share of them- though I just usually tell them I need time to think it over or I’m just not interested and they’d back out. I might make an appointment sometime next week, and will let you know how it went! ?
    Stephanie/Yukaeshi last post is: Hello From Labuan!

  20. Chris says:

    I have never bought one. My fear is also of the hardsell tactics. I have been swindled a few times, so I am wary of a lot of things nowadays.
    Chris last post is: Review: Nuance Walnut Facial Scrub

  21. sesame says:

    I know what you mean…even though the deals are attractive, we won’t feel good being shortchanged.

  22. sesame says:

    Okay, I hope you’ll have a good experience. Good to get prepared for some hardsell so that you won’t feel so cornered then and will know how to protect your pocket.

  23. Chelsea says:

    I have never bought any of these either (although I am on the Groupon mailing list just for kicks and giggles). However, having been a part of the beauty industry, I can tell you that during economic hard times (especially here in the West), the high end salons/spas actually suffer more than the cheaper ones. Many of them are probably offering these deals just to meet expenses, stay afloat and ride out the economy.

    So here is my advice to getting great, NON-PUSHY customer service while still cashing in on these awesome deals: tip the manicurist/masseuse/etc. BEFORE the service–and tip according to the percentage of the ORIGINAL price, not the discounted price. That way, the service provider will feel like SHE HERSELF is getting the good deal, and won’t want to push away a good tipper from future services.

  24. sesame says:

    Oh this is interesting info! I’ve come across one salon who refuses to offer such deals because she can’t make money out of them; so it’s interesting to know that some of them offer them during bad times just to stay afloat…make business sense.

    Not sure about tipping here because we do not have a tipping culture here at all. It’s common in the west but here, it’s rare. So for the consumers to want to tip according to the original price, hmm…I think they’ll rather do without the service.

  25. zmadison says:

    i’ve bought a spa coupon before. after we were done, we were seated and given a cup of tea. when they recommendeded their products to us, we gave a lame excuse and they let us off just like that!

    i think the providers also understand that a lot of us simply wanna grab the cheap deal and won’t really commit for long-term.

  26. sesame says:

    Good for you! Does make me wonder what’s the point of losing money on such deals though But. I guess it’s a way of advertising and getting the name out. And chances are, if they don’t push, you and your friends might just head back if the service quality was good.

  27. Amy says:

    Hi all,
    All the consequences makes me feel sad for those Spa/Facial Industries. It’s really horrible for those who is being forced to buy a packages.

    But for my experience is some of the small place for facial Salon is also did a good facial and it’s also fair to give them a support and try out. and the good thing is they are not hard sell at all.

  28. sesame says:

    That’s good…I’m glad at least you had a good experience. Not all hardsell…I know some also cannot bring themselves to do that and they rely on good pricing and service to bring the customers back.

  29. silvergreen says:

    I have just bought a hair removal deal recently and just went to my first appointment few days ago. To my surprise , no hard selling at all. One happy custy here!

  30. sesame says:

    Oh that’s great to know…another happy customer. ?

  31. Ren says:

    Those who is disapointed with some hardsell spa?
    I been to a salon which is word of mouth. Small place which works with 100% natural and authentic products can be found in the smaller shops in orchard plaza. There you get individual service for your skin and no packages.
    Furthermore is not a big company like in the big warehouses, where you just pay for the marketing.

  32. Karen says:

    My medi n pedi goes very well no hard sell thingy at all… Keke
    Think I might be one of the lucky ones… :p

  33. sesame says:

    That’s good. I might give some of these mani and pedi coupon deals a trial first.

  34. domncroxd says:

    it depends on your luck. i’ve heard parisB’s experience at the spa and i got a little worried, but i bought a coupon nonetheless to try out a brazilian waxing place and that was great. we need to be wary though. there was a restaurant i visited some time back and we roughly remembered the prices, so when the resto had its own coupon deal, we realized that they overinflated their prices to make it look like there’s a legitimate discount (e.g. in reality, the set costs only RM30, but on the deal site they claimed it was RM60).
    domncroxd last post is: Review: SEPHORA COLLECTION Mineral Foundation Compact

  35. sesame says:

    Oh that’s really a shame! Hasn’t it cross their minds that some customers will know their underhand method and spread via bad word-of-mouth?

  36. domncroxd says:

    possibly, but i think this is quite common nowadays. i’ve kinda given up on buying all these coupons because they’re making me spend more too lol.
    domncroxd last post is: Review: Nivea Pure and Natural Moisturising Day Cream for Normal to Combination Skin

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