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Sunday, February 13, 2011

FTD Overcharge Groupon Customers ? Offer Flower Refunds

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FTD, Groupon get complaints, offer flower refunds

By TOM KRISHER | AP Business Writer www.STLtoday.com 
Sunday, February 13, 2011
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The online coupon site Groupon.com and flower company FTD Group Inc. are offering refunds after getting complaints that a Valentine's Day flower deal wasn't so sweet.
Both companies said they didn't do anything wrong, but they responded to Internet complaints that FTD inflated prices for some Groupon customers who used a coupon for $20 off an FTD flower purchase of $40 or more.
The problem surfaced when several Groupon customers found the flowers they bought were priced lower as sale items on FTD's own website. They complained on the Groupon site and the Internet that FTD was making up for the Groupon discount by jacking up the prices.
But FTD Group Inc. President Rob Apatoff said in an interview on Sunday that wasn't the case. He said it was clear on the sites that the coupon didn't apply to sale items.
Still, Apatoff said the Downers Grove, Ill., company will credit the customers' accounts to give them the sale price, even if they don't ask for it. Both companies also say they will make full refunds if people aren't satisfied.
"At no time did we inflate any prices. Absolutely not," Apatoff said. "Because there was some confusion with a few, we decided to step up and do the right thing to make sure everybody was happy."
Even with the higher price on the Groupon site, Groupon customers always got a better deal with the $20 coupon than buying from the FTD site, Apatoff said. Discounts on the FTD site were $5 to $10 lower than the price on the Groupon site, he said.
Groupon Inc. officials started seeing the complaints on Thursday and contacted FTD about the problem, Groupon.com President Rob Solomon said on Sunday. Together, they decided to credit the accounts of people who bought the sale items through Groupon, giving them the difference between the sale price and the price that was on the Groupon site, he said. The companies also put the FTD sale prices on the Groupon site, he said.

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