Groupon’s £39 flight tickets cost me £200

Groupon sold me £39 tickets – but they ended up costing me more than booking direct with the airline

I bought four flight tickets from Groupon for £39 each. They were sold as tokens to fly to one of 25 European destinations, excluding taxes. However, it turned out that they merely offered £39 off the price of a flight rather than a £39 flight, and there were charges to pay, such as the fuel surcharge. The end cost was around £200 per ticket – more expensive than booking direct with the airline. I complained to Groupon, but they didn’t want to know. AL, London

This was an interesting case as you were prepared to take it as far and as high as you could – which I applaud. First, you initiated proceedings against Groupon in the small claims court, then you complained to the Advertising Standards Agency.

The ASA said it couldn’t help while a court case was ongoing, but after someone else complained about the advert it eventually ruled that it was misleading as “the wording of the offer was ambiguous and could confuse customers”.

Despite this, Groupon continued to defend its case against you, but I’m pleased you stuck to your guns because, just before the trial was due to take place, Groupon settled. While it did not accept liability, it has agreed to refund the money you paid, offering £1,050, which includes around £200 per ticket plus your court costs, putting you back in the financial position you would have been in had the adverts not been unclear.

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