The Art Of Punishing The Customer For Buying A Coupon In Cairo

Coupons might save some cash in your pocket but you will end up paying someway or another the price of choosing the cheap option… This might be from your time, your comfort or your convenience … Here is my personal experience on this:

City Stars Cinema Ticket for 9 LE:

I bought 3 tickets from coupon for one of their most selling offers in Cobone site probably one of the best selling offers in Egypt,  city stars cinema ticket for 9 LE instead of 30 LE. They have made around 3,000 sales from that offer.

Here is how the process begins; very smoothly i ordered the cinema tickets from Cobone.com, the voucher said that tickets must be collected in person from coupon office, i thought this is not the case when you pay online, and that it is related only with the pay on delivery option so i went to the cinema with my wife and tried to give the coupon to the ticketing window… who looked very strangely at it and asked me to see the manager who told me i can’t use the voucher as  is but i have to replace it with a real voucher from Cobone office… Okay my mistake…

I went to Cobone office after a couple of days and replace the tickets, they told me a hint that i can’t use the vouchers on the weekends.. although the voucher itself said that you can use on weekdays and weekends… i said okay no problem for me…

I went again to the cinema this time with the nice looking coupon that looks like the cinema ticket, not as surprised with the voucher as the previous time, the ticket window guy sent me to the manager again, who sent a guy with me to the ticket window again to replace the voucher with real ticket, which didn’t look real at all… It looked like this:

So i entered the cinema with this strange ticket after a strange look from the cinema door man… and another strange look at the ticket from the guy who shows you your way to the seat… but above all the strangest look it took on that very very weird unfortunate day was the look of the guy who issues the ticket at the parking lot, as you have to present him the cinema ticket to give you a 5 LE discount of the city stars overpriced parking… I spend 5 minutes to convince him that this is my cinema ticket… but i wouldn’t blame him to take all this time to accept that fact.

I don’t blame Cobone on this… they actually offered me what they wrote in the offer… but i blame myself for buying this offer… I still have one more cinema voucher remaining which i am not planning to use because using it is completely inconvenient for me.

Euro Deli 50 for 100 LE nightmare discount voucher:

How Euro Deli my favorite order in restaurant in Maadi became a nightmare for me after buying the 50 for 100 LE Euro Deli Voucher from Offerna and how Offerna wiped out the bad experience with their great customer service.

First thing i must say Euro Deli is one of the best options to order from at work not just for the quality of food but fora number of different reasons; There is NO added cost, NO delivery fees, NO taxes, so if you order a 12 LE sandwich, you will only pay 12 LE… and they would deliver your order even if you just order that sandwich alone! ideal budget deal and is also good if you are ordering food alone. Read more reviews about Euro Deli in Maadi on Dalili

So when i saw their offer it was like Great! why don’t i save 50% on my daily orders! but the voucher said you can’t use it for delivery so you either go and eat there or pick up your food. So i bought one of these vouchers and went for lunch with my wife and we ordered, 2 soups, a sandwich and a main dish, the total cheque was for almost 100 LE.

The ugly part is when you show the voucher, when the waiter takes it form you and goes to the restaurant manager and then the managers comes to you and says:

“I am sorry sir but the voucher can’t be used by 2 people, only one person must use it to order a full course of appetizer, salad, main dish and desert. So we are sorry again we can’t accept your voucher for the order you’ve just made. Actually this is not the first incident, sir. 3 or 4 customers came before and we had the same argument with them”

Nothing from the above terms and conditions was ever mentioned on the voucher which you can check online yourself in the above link… My response was very simple, since i don’t wanna argue, and i like this restaurant i would move my fight with Offerna instead of Euro Deli.

I called Offerna customer care which were very understanding and supportive and they offered my an immediate money back… Whether somebody can come and bring me the money, or i could add the points to my balance on the site or even they can refund my credit card. I choose the later option. What i loved about their customer service is that they wanted to know what the restaurant manager said and they never argued with me about whether he is right or wrong but just offered my my money back… Which i find great.

Anyway i think i will refrain from buying any vouchers for quite some time after the above disappointments. Let me know your customer experience with other deals that you’ve bough. Are you experience troubles redeeming them? which sites are you buying your deals from? How do you find value of money of these deals?

Cairo Daily Deal Sites Comparison

Daily deal websites have been around in Cairo for about 6 months since February 2011, during this period the daily deal industry have evolved a lot from offering low quality deals that has lots of conditions and restrictions to much better quality daily deals that offer value to consumer…

As more and more people turn to social media sites, the idea is becoming more appealing to both the local businesses and the consumers, there are now 6 major deal sites in Egypt basically covering Cairo and trying to cover Alexandria as well but not so much success so far covering other Egyptian cities.

I’m writing reviews about all these 6 sites in order to help you know what to expect from each site, that said don’t go crazy with the deals thing and spend your money wisely!

Here is a list of daily deal websites in Cairo and my reviews about them:

Cobone - Best Deals, Great Savings in Cairo

Offerna.com DARE'n'DEAL - Together we win 

GoNabit - A Living Social Company  Dealwaty - Live it up for lesseDealo.me  

Cobone. Cobone is one of my favorite deal sites in Cairo, they are a good money saver as they bring places where i usually go,  so it’s not only about going and exploring new places but rather saving money on everyday places, i bought 2 deals so far one for Trianon Cafe and another one for Grey Lounge in New Cairo. Visit Cobone.com Here >>

Pros

  • Few limits and restrictions, usually deals are valid in all restaurant branches and on all menu items
  • Reputable website with good experience in several middle east countries
  • The offer 5% additional discount when you buy online with Master Card

Cons

  • Invite your friend and win 46 LE is a kind of hoax, i invited a friend before and he purchased but i never for the money, talking to the customer service, they mentioned that the deal value should be more than 46 LE in order to redeem that money but the deal was only for 30 LE. Didn’t like that…
  • The site could use little bit more work on bug fixing, displaying the right map location, importing contacts from email, …

Offerna. is the Egyptian daily deal site with a full local flavor, as the name suggests it means “our offers”.  Due to this reason Offerna is one of the easiest names to remember, as the same matter with other popular sites which has a local name such as Masrawy, YallaBina or FilGoal….

Offerna stared off the wrong foot, when they offered deal with good brand names but with so many restrictions that made the offer lose its value, for example they offered a meal in Abou El Sid with half price, however it was restricted to a certain branch, at certain weekdays and a certain dish! That said, it seems they got over this problem recently when (i got confused, it was darenadeal who made this bad abou el sid offer http://www.darendeal.com/deals/index/4-EGP-89-Instead-of-EGP-183-for-a-Delicious-Meal-of-Authentic-Oriental-Cuisine-for-Two-at-Abou-El-Sid-(Set-Menu-of-2-Salads,-an-Appetizer-and–Abou-El-Sid.mhtml) Offerna made recently a very successful Ramadan Iftar without any restrictions to days or branches, this offer sold 1,382 times! Visit Offerna.com here >>

Pros

  • Most deals are available at prices less than 50 LE
  • Deals are getting better over time

Cons

  • Some venues that offer the deals are not well known
  • Many deals discounts are 50% not more

Dare’n’deal. Darendeal is world class daily deal website, everyday literally you will see a new offer, sometimes two offers are released in the same day. So you will never get stuck with that Thai massage ad for one week on the site waiting for a new offer to be released. Although i have never personally bought a deal from there, you will find a few past deals with over 1,000 or 2,000 purchases like spend a day by the pool for 35 pounds. Visit Darendeal.com here >>

Pros

  • Highest number of deals in terms of quantity
  • The Arabic site is fun to use, it seems that they have specialized editors in Arabic section who write in the same language we speak, not the formal Arabic thing

Cons 

  • You can easily miss a deal if you don’t check the site on daily basis
  • Mostly restaurant deals, not much of  other lifestyle deals

GoNabit. Acquired by Living Social, you would expect the $ 1 billion daily deal giant to dominate the market in Egypt and kill the competition, well No. Unlike expected the website is poor in terms of deals and content, since the beginning of Ramadan i have seen tens of Iftar and Sohour deals on many websites… Guess what GoNabit have for us? Ice cream offer!! Visit gonabit.com here >>

Pros

  • Supported by the giant Living Social

Cons

  • Website and daily deals are below the quality you would expect from Living Social
  • You can’t browse the older deals

eDealo. With deals targeting class A, eDealo is trying to expand the daily deal business to other verticals such as travel, eDealo have launched the vacations sections with Trips inside Egypt including Sahel and Red Sea and outside trips as well. Visit www.edealo.me here >>

Pros

  • Penetrating new verticals such as travel and vacations

Cons

  • Past deals are not listed
  • New deals are not as frequent as other deal sites

Dealwaty. The newest member of daily deal websites, just launched about 2 weeks ago, so it is early to judge the site now. The site now probably started the same way as other deal sites but with the advantage that people know learned the concept in Egypt. Visit dealwaty.com here >>

Pros

  • Upcoming deals is a good idea to present some teasers for the new deal

Cons

  • The past deals don’t seem to do very well, yet it’s early to judge
Updated:
One more site was suggested by members
el7a2.net. Another local daily deal website with the name “Catch it”, so they tell you go and catch it before it expires, the slogan says “Life isn’t cheap…but it comes with discounts” and that’s very true. The website in general looks pretty neat, seems that they had in the past a good deal with Apple tradline that gives you a 1,000 LE voucher at half price to buy apple products, awesome! Probably they need to focus more on Marketing the website and increasing their “Likes” on Facebook to reach few tens of thousands to be more popular.Visit www.el7a2.net here >>

Pros

  • Live online support

Cons

  • Comes in English only – no Arabic

I’m sure more to come soon!

Updated (17/8/2011):

Haladeals. The new Cairo based daily deals site has not started yet its marketing campaign, with less than 2k likes on facebook as compared to 160k likes in other giant sites, you can assume that the message is not reaching the audience. That said the site looks neat and have a few but very nice deals in cool restaurants and cafes specially in Maadi area. This website could make it to the top with the right marketing efforts, now offering iPad 2 as gifts in a competition. Visit haladeal.com here >>

Pros

  • Good quality deals in very nice places
  • Bilingual support

Cons

  • Needs more marketing efforts to spread the word. Also makes you think, are these too many players in the market now, or there is still space for more?

Updated (11/04/2011):

Offeratak. Egypt Yellow Pages have just joined the daily deals and group buying sites business by launching its daily deals aggregator Offeratak.com. Offeratak is a patent pending daily deals aggregator that collects deals from Cobone, Offerna and Dare’n’Deal. Visit Offeratak.com here >>

Also read this nice comparison to the popularity of daily deal sites in Cairo

Learn more about Offeratak by visiting Offeratak blog