Are travel deals the biggest headache in Group Buying?

Are travel deals the biggest headache in Group Buying?

We’ve seen the explosion of a lot of group buying sites and daily deal sites since 2011 and it has been estimated that total revenues are in excess of Php100 Million a year (and it is still growing). As such, it’s not a surprise that problems and issues tend to crop up more than their usual fair share.

Perhaps, these issues have risen because of the volume of transactions, the impulsive buying habits of consumers towards these deals (higher likelihood of buyer’s remorse?) and the clever wording of the so-called “fine print”.

I noticed though that a lot (or the biggest) of these headaches that group buying sites are experiencing come from travel deals.

Last year, we heard of the story with MetroDeal and their travel package that got screwed up leaving a lot of customers not being able to avail of the vacation package or get a refund for it. This got the attention of DTI and I also heard that a competitor reported them to Facebook which eventually led to the closure of their FB Fan Page and losing more than 500k fans (MetroDeal has since then created a new Fan Page).

Last month another deal site, CleverBuy got into some problems with their travel/vacation package. I am not familiar with the deal or how it went but this email newsletter from the company’s CEO might shed light:

[showhide type=”pressrelease”]

To our valued CleverBuyers;

We would like to express our sincerest apology regarding the problems that you have encountered with our recent deals specifically with our travel deals. Presently, we are experiencing chaos from these travel agencies when they declare that they can’t accommodate anymore our customers who purchased their deals from CleverBuy due to some unexpected circumstances; bad weather, full bookings for the month of April, May and June, abrupt increase of airfare and hotel accommodations and some other pertinent reasons which we failed to take into account at the onset.


Aside from being our business partners, CleverBuy is not directly connected with these travel agencies. But we assure our customers that we will assist our merchants and those who have been affected with the aforementioned circumstances. We are now in contact with our merchant and making our move on how we can help to iron out the problems.

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience these proceedings have caused you. We assure you that we will be more careful next time in choosing our partner merchants. We pledge not to run away from our responsibilities to our valued CleverBuyers, but we are asking for sobriety, understanding and more patience in this trying time.

It is never easy for us to receive complaints from our customers for the unsatisfactory services rendered by our partner merchants since we are just their marketing arm but nevertheless, we will take responsibility to be the bridge between our merchants and our customers.

It has always been our pleasure to serve you. Thus, we are looking forward to continue serving you in the future. If there are any other concerns that you would like to address, please feel free to call us at (02) 553-8197. We would be more than willing to accommodate them. Thank you very much and have a nice day.

CleverBuy Inc.


Oftentimes, the issue mostly stems from over-booking, fluctuating prizes of plane fares that are package along with the deal, and the fine print that usually requires customers to buy vouchers in pairs, upsells them, or include additional hidden charges.

These travel deals and the travel agencies that offer them could be the next target by the DTI. And, it might soon blow over that customer confidence towards online shopping will degrade instead of improve.

I haven’t really tried getting a vacation package from any of the deal sites before so I don’t have any first-hand experience. If you have any experience before, feel free to chime in at the comments.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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47 Responses

  1. Gang ngayon pending pa din yun amin. Pinuntahan na namin ung Travel Agency wala pa din sagot. Ayaw naman irefund ung pera namin. Di na to mauulit.

  2. Calvin says:

    what customers don’t get right away is that it’s unlikely that the dates they want to book their vacation will be available after buying the voucher. Overbooking is also a likely scenario.

    Imagine a resort having 10 rooms. On an ideal setup, that’s 3000 customers if the resort is fully booked for 10 months on a 2D/1N scheme. The problem is, these deal sites will sell more than 3000 vouchers. now what’s wrong with this picture?

    • martin says:

      I think they should inform the merchant the whole picture,before proceeding the deal, choose the right merchants, lot of merchant/resorts selling more than what they can accommodate, in this case, they should put a cap on the max numbers to be sold.

      @sir Yuga, Next i think will also be dinning deals bullsh*ts, Some buffet eat all you can deals turns out to be an order all you can, difference? they’ll serve meal once in every 20minutes.

  3. alcologne says:

    IIRC, Metrodeal’s problem with FB was due to their being an existing account that had nothing to do with group buying. They just renamed it for metrodeal.

  4. daniel says:

    naka-try na ako ng deals pero hindi travel… puro food and dining at event ang gusto ko hhaha. ung Manila International Pyromusical nakabili ako ticket no hassle :) pero i doubt kung ganun din sa travels… dapat kasi hindi sila nagbebenta ng sobra sa kayang i-accomodate

  5. dbone says:

    Mga cheap kasi. Walang pera pero gusto pa rin mag travel. Nagkakaproblema and naloloko tuloy sa mga ganyang deal.

    • sarapngballsmo says:

      your sad comment just shows how quick you are in generalizing the people who flock to these deal sites. your life must be so sad.

    • martin says:

      grabe ka makapag down ng sarili mong kapwa filipino. siguro wala kang bf/gf or mayaman ka? kaya di ka naghahanap ng magandang deal para sa pera mo.

    • unggoy says:

      hindi cheap tawag dun pre. uneducated lang. ignorante oo, pero hindi cheap. kasi may pambayad sa travel. :)

    • showbiz says:

      It’s not cheap to buy on group buying websites. Perhaps, people just want to get the most out of their hard earned money. Kasi nga kung pwede ko naman mabili ng mura yung isang product with same quality then bakit ako magbabayad ng almost double sa mga malls.

  6. Luffy says:

    Question is do these group buying sites even do background checks on their merchants especially the travel deals? Also some of these sites does not put a limit on number of buyers unlike other deals. They should have settled this beforehand.

  7. Ruga says:

    Ei Abe you have to understand that eventhough the price are discounted they still get profit from those because of the number of people going! Its the old chinese philosophy na kahit maliit ang tubo pag marami mag-aadd up yan… Unlike sa mga pinoy na ang laki laki tumubo na ayun walang bumibili.. Shows Abe that you have that kind of Pinoy mentality because of that comic that you chose to post.. No wonder why mga chinese ang mga succesfull businessmen.

    • Mwuira says:

      Gusto pa siraan ng Intsik beho na ito ang mga Pinoy! Balik ka sa China and hindi nagpapayaman dito sa Pinas and nanloloko sa mga totoong Pinoy!

    • sarapngballsmo says:

      ang babaw mo naman! blog picture lang may criticism pa, pumasok pa ang pretend “analysis” mo.

    • Yuga-Fan says:

      hehehehe wag nyo awayin! interpretation nya yan, pero sa totoo naman ung mga sinabi nya eh very self-evident karamihan na mga successful business men eh chinese. Bayaan nyo siya na hurt sa comic strip hahahahaha

  8. Mark says:

    We bought a deal for a trip to Coron (all inclusive, with airfare) with my friends. They told us that they can’t book 7 people because they have limited available airfares for that date (or any date for that matter – they can only provide 4 promo plane tickets per day). I tried to negotiate with them and they told us that we would need to pay the fare difference for the additional passengers. It’s really a hassle, but I went with it, well I already bought the coupon. The sad thing is that they booked late arrival and early departure (to and from coron). Our became sort of a race to complete the entire itinerary and we ended up more tired than relaxed. That was the first time a bought a travel coupon. I bought a few others afterwards but I became really cautious with trips that include airfare.

  9. galaga says:

    You get what you pay for.

  10. Miko Bustamante says:

    Some of these “deals” are scams in my opinion. One specific example was one deal said you can get this giant sandwich for P500 at 50% discount. Meaning, the original cost of the sandwich is P999. But looking at the official website of the restaurant, that sandwich only goes for P600. 50% discount my ass.

    • memedroid says:

      Yes, parang ‘sale’ din sa mga malls(most of them), say the original price(no promo yet) is 500, then on the sale date they will change it into 1000, advertised it as 50% off so 500 na lang. wa-is nga naman!

  11. Mark says:

    “android’s battery life sucks”

    “kaya galit kayu sa apple kc wala kayu pambili ng magandang phone ”
    Several android devices are as expensive if not more expensive that the iPhone. If anything, you actually have more choices in android.

    “freaking value ng android phone after 6 months tapyas ng 10K ”
    I can give you this one, indeed because of the speed that android evolves it’s inevitable. But I don’t get why you talk about gadget valuation when you clearly LOVE your phone. You don’t plan on selling it are you? O.O

    “iphone gawa sa glass at bakal, android gawa sa plastik….”
    Just plain stupid. What exactly are you trying to prove? There are a lot of android manufacturers out there that match, if not surpass the build quality of Apple. And have you looked at a few drop tests lately?

    “iPhone’s dual core cheap is equal to Android’s quad core 1.3 to 1.5 GHZ. 512 Ram ni apple is equal to 1 GB ram ni android.”
    Aside from making an ill constructed sentence that’s barely understandable, your statement is just DUMB! 1 is not equal to 2, capiche?

    “compare nalang kayu iPhone has the best camera resolution on smartphones.”
    Just plain stupid.

    I pity you more than I despise your ignorance. So I’ll try to enlighten you.

    Just like any smartphone OS, Android is far from perfect. But that doesn’t mean the iOS, Symbian or WP7 is any better.

    Each has it’s pros and cons.

    I believe that the iOS is simply hands down the best in terms of user experience. However, in terms of capabilities and customization, it could really do a lot more.

    Android on the other hand has better customization and capabilities. You can really make your phone, YOUR OWN. There is however a big problem on android fragmentation. This becomes a problem for both the developer and the end user. One proponent is that it’s an open platform. This in turn would also give the end user several choices. (There are several good reads on how an open platform and a closed platform like the iOS differs and what is better for future devices).

    Ignorance is bliss, and your post proves it. Have a nice life. :)

  12. Yuga-Fan says:

    The Best talaga ang Yugadeals :P

  13. Jose B. says:

    I recently bought a resort voucher from Cashcashpinoy in which they updated the deal details 3 days after I bought the voucher (they didnt even inform the customers who already bought the vouchers). Apparently they posted the wrong information according to the resort. The bad thing is I had to coordinate between these two parties to explain the issue when it should have been settled entirely on their side. It shouldn’t even have reached me as their customer. These companies should take extra care of their customers or else users will stop trusting them and their whole market will be affected. As for me, I won’t be buying travel-related vouchers anymore and I’ll be extra careful when checking the fineprints. Tip for everyone, take a screenshot of the details on the website when you buy a voucher because usually these fine print are not included on the voucher PDF that they send via email.

  14. JAL says:

    MetroDeal sucks bigtime, They made an ads about Oakley’s for 2K and as a precaution I read first the whole ads if it says its fake nor replica, I thought it was a great bargain already and I paid using my CC but upon checking my voucher I saw the magic word “Replica” which was inserted, good thing I havent closed the webpage at my other laptop and I saved it then refreshed the webpage ads then voila, they changed it to REPLICA! I wrote a formal dispute with MetrDeal, Mozcom PayEasy for me not to be charged but till not no reply from MetroDeal!

  15. Gwapito says:

    ‘You get what you pay for’ as the saying goes. One good example is Cebu Pacific. Which led to Santiago-Tulfo boxing.

  16. best laptop brands says:

    people loves to get the best deals but they always complain whenever there are issues.

    And group buying is still new and good job DTI for your action. Protect the consumers always!

  17. Sam says:

    this is what a group buying is all about. full of crap if issues arise.

  18. No surprise here, both overdo there cheap travel deals, too many cupcakes that one can bake.

  19. James M. says:

    I have a friend in groupon. They pitched to my restaurant once. They’re the only site in the country that hasn’t had a DTI complaint yet out of all the group buying sites. And they’re efficient and easy to deal with in my experience. No problems with any of the deals i’ve bought there

    • juan says:

      Your “unbiased” comment is very much appreciated.

    • Joe says:

      What if it’s biased?

      Feel free to refute it.

    • Ahnya says:

      Groupon sucks big time. Their incredible customer service as claimed in their profile is truly incredible sa kakapalan ng mukha. They dont answer calls or is forever busy. Dedma din sa emails. Tell your friend from groupon na imposibleng walang nagfile ng complaint sa DTI sa kanila. Impossibleng ako ang una! Kakaririn ko talaga!

  20. Joe says:

    I’m not a CleverBuy customer yet, but after seeing this press release, I’m checking them out. It’s rare for these group buying sites to reach out to their customers for apology.

  21. Panama says:

    Perhaps the fact that Living Social generates over $150 million from their travel packages is one reason. Another is the fact that travel is exciting, is popular and much like a restaurant table or hotel room, is a perishable item. If an airplane seat or resort stay is not sold for a given day, then that revenue is lost forever. Travel companies are, therefore, very motivated to sell that inventory and Daily Deal sites seem to be another viable option for them.

  22. Joshua Nathan says:

    in my experience I usually do is choose a Merchant / Resort which has a big capacity . also ahead of time before I purchase vouchers I will get the a commitment from the Resort on my preferred date .

  23. deals4 says:

    It is the Best Travel Place to visit.

  24. obviously like your web-site however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the reality on the other hand I’ll surely come again again.

  25. Soon, we’re changingt the group buying game.

    Imagine this, no need to deposit your money for purchases. Just click on the coupon, then print, and its ready to use.

    FOr details and launch date, kindly visit our fb page

  26. Soon, we’re changing the group buying game.

    Imagine this, no need to deposit your money for purchases. Just click on the coupon,print, and its ready to use.

    For details and launch date, kindly visit our fb page

  27. This site is interesting. You can also Visit and see the best deals in the Philippines.

  28. digitales says:

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  29. Everard says:

    If you are looking for travel deals and don’t want to pay any hidden charges. Avoid buying vouchers on-line, instead, do a direct transaction with the travel agency.
    You can visit They are currently on their open-beta but you can already see some few interesting tour packages.
    Foot Steps is an on-line market place like and, but only focuses on tour packages.
    Transaction is between the customer and the travel agency, so issues like hidden charges, over-booking, and fluctuating prices are being prevented.

  30. MN says:

    Has there been any recent news update on this cleverbuy issue?

  1. February 15, 2014

    […] the best way to scam online buyers? Around two years ago, a number of Filipino consumers were victims of daily deal sites’ travel deals. This time around, fingers are being pointed at Cash Cash Pinoy, accusing it of posting travel […]

  2. July 10, 2015

    […] the best way to scam online buyers? Around two years ago, a number of Filipino consumers were victims of daily deal sites’ travel deals. This time around, fingers are being pointed at Cash Cash Pinoy, accusing it of posting travel […]

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