New Daily Deals Industry ‘Code of Conduct’ Tries To Stem Tide Of Bad Publicity

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Groupon-style Daily Deals have had a mixed reception. For many consumers they can be amazing deals, and a great way for small businesses to grab new customers. For others it’s a nightmare of good deals that turn out to be bad, and customers flooding a business with unfounded requests. And let’s not even go into Groupon’s plummeting share price.

So it’s little wonder that the Daily Deals industry (I guess we can call it that now given the number of clone companies) has been feeling a little bruised. And hence the newly formed Global Daily Deal Association, largely driven out of the UK, has put some collective heads together to come up with the industry’s first ever “Code of Conduct”. Oh yes.

The voluntary Code of Conduct (isn’t it always with these things?) aims to standardise practices across the industry and “enhance accountability and sustainability”. The GDDA hopes it will improve the reputation of the industry with consumers and merchants.

The GDDA claims the code will promote fair, honest and ethical best practice; detailed product and service information for cusnsumers; clear and accurate communications on offers; clear policies and procedures on offers web sites; providers will have to have effective procedures for handling complaints and an easy to understand refund policy. The code addresses privacy, misleading or deceptive conduct, complaints, refunds and credits. Businesses that sign up to the code will get a say on its continued development.

Those joining so far include DiscountVouchers.co.uk, Time Out Offers, MumsandMe and DealCollector. Across Europe Dailydeal.de, Sweetdeal and Bownty have signed up.

Stavros Prodromou, CEO of the GDDA admits the daily deals industry has suffered a bad rep: “The sector has previously been affected by a lack of merchant and consumer confidence. The code is the first step toward improving the sector’s reputation.” Gerard Doyle, CEO of DiscountVouchers.co.uk says they signed to “show consumers our dependability as a daily deal provider.”

However, it’s not clear what sanctions there are yet on what happens if a signatory to the code breaks the rules. Would getting chucked out of the GDDA affect their business? Plus, the awareness of the code amongst consumers right now is likely to be zero. So far the members are smaller players, which in a way are circling the wagons under some some of collective interest.

And if Groupon, by far the biggest provider, does not join, then it’s hard to see this initiative getting anywhere other than being yet another ‘approved’ logo consumers barely ever see.

UPDATE: Despite Groupon’s non-involvement in the scheme they sent us this statement: “We take customer and partner satisfaction very seriously and support the concept of a global code of conduct. Any code needs to be robust, enforceable and ensure the highest possible protection. At Groupon we are constantly improving our standards and approaches to lead the industry in ensuring the best possible levels of partner and customer service. We will be continuing our engagement with regulators, retail and consumer organisations. We welcome these types of initiatives and will evaluate them on an ongoing basis.”