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LivingSocial Review – Best Daily Deals Online, Right Where You Live

By David Bakke

livingsocial logoLivingSocial is a website dedicated to giving you the best deal on a variety of different restaurants and activities, all right in your own neighborhood.

The website is organized by geographic location, so if you sign up to get their deals, you’ll only receive opportunities for discounts near where you live.

How It Works

The difference between LivingSocial and some other “deal of the day” websites like Woot.com is that it does not sell products. Rather, what it offers are more like gift certificates at a discount. If you sign up for the daily email, you’ll get one deeply discounted offer per day from a local business. If you find a deal to your liking, you just click on that deal, and you are emailed a link to your voucher within one business day. It’s a very simple process. Below is a sample deal from today for NYC Uptown:

living social nyc uptown deal

The Pros

I particularly like the fact that LivingSocial is broken down by geographic location. This way, you don’t have to waste time searching for deals in your area or checking to make sure the offer applies to you. You know that it is going to be something local.

Another advantage that LivingSocial has over many other similar group buying sites for daily deals and coupons is that when you buy a deal, the site sends you a link that you can share with your contacts. If three people also purchase the deal using your link, then your deal is free. This is great if you happen upon a deal that you’re pretty sure your friends or family might also be interested in buying.

This would especially come into play if there’s a certain activity or restaurant that you know you’d like to enjoy with your friends. You could purchase the deal, get three of your friends to do the same, and then yours is free. That way, you and your friends all share in the savings. That is, if you’re nice enough to let them in on the fact that you got yours for free!

The Cons

The offers available at LivingSocial are somewhat limited. I saw discounts for local spas, salons, massages, and a variety of outdoors activities -nothing right off the bat that immediately appealed to me. Of course, I may discover wider variety over time; I did see a few recent deals involving restaurants, for example.

When it comes to these sites and their offers, make sure you know what you’re getting. Always read the fine print, as sometimes the offers you receive are limited to certain locations or can only be applied to specific packages that the business offers. The site says that they offer clear and simple terms, but be sure to review any offer you are thinking about purchasing. Check for expiration dates as well.

In addition, these discount websites can sometimes tempt you to spend more money that you should. They offer you a variety of different discounts and you might think, “That sounds fun…” Here at Money Crashers, we want you to spend your money wisely, which means distinguishing between your wants and your needs making it a priority to get out of debt. Be sure you are spending money on things that truly benefit you, and not just because you’re getting a “deal.”

Recent Deals

To give you a glimpse of what LivingSocial has to offer, a quick search on their site yielded the following recent deals. Keep in mind that these are location-specific to where I live; the deals that you may receive could be slightly different:

  • Half off at a holistic health center
  • 60% discount at a studio salon
  • 60% discount at a vision institute
  • Half off a NASCAR race

As you can see, there is some variety to what they offer, but most of the deals that I found were in the areas of self-improvement and outdoorsy activities.

Final Word

I signed up for the daily emails offered by LivingSocial, because you never know what you’re going to find. As long as it doesn’t encourage you to spend money on impulse, it can’t hurt. I also recommend keeping LivingSocial in mind when doing your holiday shopping. You may find a deal at a local business that you know a friend or family member may enjoy, and cross one gift off your Christmas shopping list. Overall, LivingSocial is definitely worth a look.

Have you had any experience with LivingSocial? If so, how does it compare to its larger competitor, Groupon? Feel free to share your comments below.

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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  • http://TheCustomerAdvantage.ws Kevin Sousa

    More and more companies are providing the best daily deals online. Some are rewarding people who share the savings opportunity with their connections.

    • David Bakke

      Kevin

      I did see that one recently–and you’re right, that niche is getting a little flooded.

      Thanks for commenting

  • shindigger

    These deals are really bad for service related businesses, since LivingSocial pressures them to offer their service for only 50% of their regular rate, then LivingSocial takes 50% of THAT! This is why everyone is getting into the daily deal game: because it’s a highly profitable SCAM, where Living Social walks away with $50,000 for doing nothing but sending out some emails, posting a few postings to Facebook and Twitter, and having some lying sales person send out paperwork to sign and write some text.

    • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers

      Shindigger

      Thanks for that ineteresting perspective. I never knew it affected business in that way.

      Thanks for commenting

    • Troyolson1981

      So who writes the articles that are posted? When my business ran a daily deal they did. I believe there’s a lot more that goes into it than we, the business owners know. My deal was a great success and I am looking forward to running again.

  • Rcslyn

    I recently purchased Sunseekers Tanning Salon in Prairie Village: $29 not only fixes your footsies, but scores you a manicure, too (a $65 value). Sunseekers is a fully featured salon and spa, and with a deal asking for less than half the regular price, we think you’ll find more lure than lore.
    The service I received was getting my nails filed and polished. I do not believe I got my $65 worth of service I was promised.

  • Hermightypen

    They are dishonest and won’t admit when they make a mistake like double charging your account. Their practices are unethical.

  • Kath

    I recently purchased a Family Fun magazine subscription through Living Social. I was unable to redeem my voucher, contacted customer service twice before I was finally told there was a coding issue which had been resolved. Unfortunately, I am still getting the error and can’t redeem my voucher. I have contacted them by email 2 more times and they still have not responded to my emails. Yesterday, I asked for a refund and have had no reply. In addition, I can’t get a person on their customer service line when I call.

    In the past I have had excellent customer service from Groupon and EverSave. Eversave even gave me an additional $5 credit for my trouble once when I had an issue with one of their vendors who had service restrictions that were not mentioned in the fine print.

    There is a noticeable difference between the poor quality of customer service of EverSave and the satisfactory service of Groupon and EverSave.

    I intend to cut my losses and discontinue my patronage of Living Social after this experience and will not be recommending them.

    • Kath

      oops… meant to say:
      “There is a noticeable difference between the poor quality of customer service of LIVING SOCIAL and the satisfactory service of Groupon and EverSave.”

  • http://dailydealsincity.com/ Nt Anh

    Great work! The post is very clear

  • Anonymous

    ordered 3 resturant coupons and they would not print out even though it said it did. please send again or return money, thanx

  • Cheryllinks08

    I think they’re a big rip-off. They sold me a voucher for a company that was a huge rip-off and when I let them know how horrible their deal was their response was “so sorry….but we can’t help you”….so buyer beware! You better know all about the company before purchasing vouchers through this one!!

    • Davidbakke

      Sorry to hear about your bad experience, but thanks for sharing

  • Cheryllinks08

    I think they’re a big rip-off. They sold me a voucher for a company that was a huge rip-off and when I let them know how horrible their deal was their response was “so sorry….but we can’t help you”….so buyer beware! You better know all about the company before purchasing vouchers through this one!!

  • Nawal Abouhamdan

    They are a rip-off, i bought a 3 vouchers and went abroad, when i got back, the voucher date was expired on my arrival, i contacted them for refund (as groupon does), they said no and it is not on their policy.and the customer service (her name was Sona) was so rude.

    • Davidbakke

      I would try calling back and ask to speak to a manager. It could help…

      Thanks for sharing…

  • MaryamA

    I’ve tried Living Social a few times. They’re a scam. Overall, the quality of their merchants and their service is beyond poor, their merchants treat the LS voucher holders as if they’re there on charity and once they divest you of your money, Living Social takes no responsibility whatsoever for the crap they sell vouchers for. To top that, their customer service and feedback mechanisms are nonexistent. In short, their prices may be low, but what they sell is worth even less, much less.

    • Davidbakke

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Our other readers will appreciate it…

  • Emjdrvr

    My wife and I have been using living social for some time with good results. Now I will never use them again and caution anyone thinking of buying a getaway. We purchased a getaway and have been trying to use it and the resort is all but unresponsive. I have gotten so fed up at this point I just wanted my money back, and living socials attitude was to bad we wont help. DO Not Use them unless you like throwing money away, so far we have tot he tune of $531.00, I have also filed a complaint with the better business bureau

    • bubbas

      That was exactly our experience with LS….they are a rip-off!

  • Linda

    I purchased a voucher for a photo canvas on 13th March. I have still not received this and livingsocial don’t want to know. Their exact words are as follows “Remember that you are purchasing the deal from the merchant directly and that
    LivingSocial just sold you a voucher which advertised the deal”. I beg to differ as my payment on my bank statement says livingsocial, my receipt says livingsocial and I paid through the livingsocial website! I would never use livingsocial again and certainly would not recommend anyone to use them.It’s been 4.5 months now and I have received nothing!

  • LB

    I purchased a $40 canvas portrait from Livingsocial and it going to expire at the end of the month, the photo shoot I reserved is a month later as that is when my family will fly in and travel to make it to this family shoot. I contacted Shutterfly and the response was we can only extend it 3 days after the expiration date. Livingsocial responded with Shutterfly is suppose to give me a $40 credit,
    but they did no such thing. I’m sticking to Amazon, they hold the feet to the fire of merchants on their site. They make it good until the customer is satisfied after all happy customers purchase products and buy services right? Beware of buying purchasing services from Livingsocial, after they get your money, their done.

  • Steelrose

    Be wary as Living Social is now advertising coupons that are deceptive and cannot be redemed. Then, when you ask for a refund they will not give it to you. They used to be ethical but are crooks now.

  • LjubavVeraNada

    Please be aware that you do not only pay for a coupon: for example if you buy $29 coupon, you will pay extra $16 when you redeem it. Additionaly, Livingsocial presently do not check businesses they work with, so when it comes to use their coupons, it’s always a huge disappointment. No matter how bad everything goes, even if you can not use a coupon at all, they will never ever give you refund, so do not bother calling,

  • Bill Smith

    They took away my $25!!

    I have a $25 credit on living social that expire on Feb. 4. When I try to use it on Feb. 4, it said says credit expired.

    Their explanation is that when they mean expire on Feb. 4, it can expire any time on Feb. 4. So when I try to use it, it’s the time that they decide to take away my credit and they are not give it back! This is completely a ripoff.

  • Gotrippedoffbylivingsocial

    Yes, living social is really disappointing, they do false advertisement and customer service treats people differently. We were 4 people who bought the vouchers, they gave refund to some of us and denied to others. They are here to suck the hard earned money of individuals. They are a huge scam in broad daylight. I don’t recommend them to anyone. People please don’t buy any false deals with them.

  • pk

    living social are terrible. even in australia they do not stand behind their product. shame on livingsocial.

  • Aly Sp

    WARNING!!! Don’t buy from this place!!! EVERYTHING I HAVE BOUGHT FROM THEM HASNT BEEN ABLE TO BE REDEEMED!!

    Online course: code didn’t work, company won’t respond, living Social say it’s not their problem

    Day Spa: closed down, couldn’t redeem, living social say it’s not their problem

    Restaurant Dinner: voucher not valid and they never had a deal with living social, living social say it’s not their problem

    Pet Product: email requesting an addition $13 for delivery, living social say it’s not their problem

    I’ve also been charged by them for items I didn’t buy! Living social say I must have bought them and not their problem!!

    There have been too many issues to list! I CANT BELIEVE THEY HAVNT BEEN SHUT DOWN YET BUT ONLY A MATTER OF TIME!

    DODGY COMPANY

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