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Websites let daily deal coupon buyers have a change a heart

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NEW YORK — Wish you hadn't bought that daily deal for a hot-air balloon ride? You're not alone.

A growing number of shoppers with buyer's remorse are tapping an emerging resale market to unload the coupons they no longer want from sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, among the daily deal sites offering limited-time discounts of as much as 90 percent on a variety of products and services. But the elements that make the deals so enticing — the steep price cuts, limited supply and countdown clock — can also be a potent mix for impulse purchases.

The pitfalls are apparent in a key statistic: An estimated 20 percent of the discounts are never redeemed.

That's where sites like DealsGoRound.com come into play. There's no charge for sellers to list an unwanted coupon, but the sites takes a 10 percent cut if it's sold. At Lifesta.com, another resale site for daily deals, sellers pay 99 cents plus 8 percent of the sale price. Buyers don't pay any fees on either site.

"People buy deals with good intentions," says Kris Petersen, founder of DealsGo­Round. "But then the planning doesn't come together or they run out of time to use the deal."

Although Groupon and LivingSocial are by far the biggest and best known players in the space, there are now an estimated 400 similar sites, according Daily Deal Media, which tracks the industry. And this year, consumers are expected to spend an estimated $1.9 billion snapping up bargains, about double the amount spent last year.

It's worth noting that technically, Groupon's terms of use prohibit the unauthorized resale of its coupons. The fine print on LivingSocial's site also prohibits the sale of its vouchers. But DealsGoRound, which is based in the same building as Groupon's Chicago headquarters, notes that it has operated for more than a year without hearing concerns from any daily deal sites. It says it would honor any requests to stop listing coupons from specific sites.

Websites let daily deal coupon buyers have a change a heart 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11:02pm]
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