I’m having problems with a deal I bought on Ensogo, a popular group buying site in the Philippines.
A few weeks ago, I bought a voucher for the supposedly low-priced deal of P8,999 for a 3D/2N accommodation at Gordion Hotel in Vigan. It turns out, I’m not getting any discount at all and I’m even paying more compared to making direct reservations with the hotel.
Here’s the story.
The link of the deal can be found here. The benefits of the deal include:
- 3 days / 2 nights deluxe accommodation for 2
- free pick-up at any bus station in Vigan
- welcome drinks for 2
- daily breakfast for 2
- 1 dinner for 2 at the hotel restaurant
- souvenir items for 2
- Heritage / City tour
According to Ensogo, this deal is originally valued at P17,999 and with a steep 50% discount, I only need to pay P8,999.
Of course, I wouldn’t instantly buy that voucher without doing any research. I checked the hotel’s official website but, at that time, it was down. I went to several travel websites to read reviews of the hotel. They had positive comments. One hotel reservation site mentioned that the price of one night’s stay was P8,000/night, which made me think that the deal was indeed a discount. I proceeded to buy the voucher.
This week, however, the Gordion Hotel’s website is up and lists the cost of their deluxe room at only P3,000 per night. Now, that is a problem.
If you compute the value of the benefits, they don’t add up to the original price of P17,999 as advertised on Ensogo. Let’s check:
- 3 days / 2 nights deluxe accommodation for 2 – at P3,000 per room per night, this should cost P6,000 total for 2 nights
- free pick-up at any bus station in Vigan – let’s assume the price for this service is P500
- welcome drinks for 2 – let’s sayP100 per drink per person, so P200 total
- daily breakfast for 2 – this is already inclusive with the accommodation, so no value
- 1 dinner for 2 at the hotel restaurant – assuming the food is really good, this may cost P500 per person, so total is P1,000
- souvenir items for 2 – let’s say P200 per person, so P400 total
- Heritage / City tour – according to the hotel, the tour costs P1,500 for a group of 4, so for 2 people this should only cost P750
Adding them all up, the original value is only P8,850 — even less than the discounted price of P8,999 on Ensogo!
I called the Ensogo support telephone numbers (519-6959 /519-6960 /519-6971) yesterday morning but no one answered the phone. I contacted Gordion Hotel to clarify the deal but the manager I talked to said they recently lowered their hotel room rates and I should try asking for a refund from Ensogo.
I called the Ensogo office again in the afternoon and after an hour of trying, someone answered the phone. The guy I talked to recommended that I send a formal email so they can investigate.
I immediately drafted the letter and I’m now waiting for a reply from Ensogo.
Lesson learned: do not fully trust these group buying websites. Do extensive research and ask other people for their experiences with the merchants before buying a voucher. Apparently, some customers of Ensogo and other group buying sites are also having problems with the deals they purchased.
Of course, in sales transactions, the rule is caveat emptor — “let the buyer beware” — but this cannot be used as excuse for false advertising and intentional deception.
I’ll update this post when I hear a reply from Ensogo.
Update (May 23, 2011): A week after I made this post, I received a call from an official representative of Ensogo. I told her I want a full refund of my payment and she said they will process it after verifying with the merchant. More updates will be posted when I hear from them again.
Update (June 10, 2011): I received a call from Kathy, representative from Ensogo and told me that Ensogo and the hotel will refund the full amount IF AND ONLY IF I delete this blog post. The compromise is that I will get half of the amount I paid and I will get the other half ONLY after I removed this post. Bullies!
Update (June 16, 2011): One month later, this problem is still not solved. Follow the updates in the new post: Beware of Gordion Hotel and Ensogo group buying site