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It is my understanding that in the state of CA, there can be no expiration date on coupons, gift certificates, etc. Doesn’t this fit into this catergory?

Ben S.

Any chance you can use this Groupon at other Intercontinental locations? If so, what about international locations? (I’m assuming not but figured I’d ask)

What about parking there? Do we have to pay for it (how much) or is there any street parking?

Sabrina B.

Can the $205 credit be split between two people?

Jennifer,Ben, Leslie, since no one has responded to your comments, here are my 2cents, as an avid Groupie and reader of fine print:
1. Jennifer, I believe that after the expiration date you retain the value of what you paid—not the full offer. So you would still have a $99 gift certificate but it would not be worth $205 after the expiration date.
2. Ben, it seems pretty clear that this is specific to SF. There is no mention of other locations.
3. Leslie, in SF if parking is included, trust me they would indicate that in BOLD letters! Count on paying for hotel garage parking, finding another lot nearby, go on a Sunday when street parking is free, or take public trans. On a weekday or Saturday, you would unlikely be able to street park, because most of the meters are limited to 1hr. If you definitely want to drive, and go on any day but a Sunday, plan to spend a minimum of $20 on parking for a few hours at the spa.
3.

Trish G.

I’m a little confused. Do we get to pick whtever treatments we want for up to $205??

david b.

There is no hourly parking at the hotel. The best bet is the parking garage at 5th and Mission, about two blocks away.

Gift certificates do not have an expiration date, coupons, like Groupon, can have an expiration date.

I also want to know if I can use one groupon for 2 people. I’d like to use it on a couples massage and then pay for the difference. Can I? Thanks.

Maxine C.

I bought this groupon the last time around. Be aware that the spa adds tax, at the hotel rate, and 15% tip to your bill. I ended up paying quite a bit over my service.

Joanna S.

Does this mean any combination of treatments can be chosen to make it add up to be $205? For example, a combination of Hot Stone Massage ($185) and brow clean up ($15)?

SABRINA/MARIA
-the groupon may not be divided among two people. Groupon states “Limit 1 Per person”

Thank you,
Jenny Hong
Manager
The (I) Spa

BEN
-We do provide discount for valet parking within the hotel. It is $15 up to 3 hours. After 3 hours, it is $15 for every 20min.

Other parking options
1. Street Parking
2. Parking lot on Howard & 5th ($10 all day)
3. Mission st garage. (in front of meteron)

we hope to see you soon!

if you get a treatment that is under the groupon price, will the remainder go towards tax, and/or tip?

Please, be aware that these are not “Gift Certificates.” These are “Groupon Vouchers” which means they DO expire and there is NO cash back.

Thank you
-Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager

Problem here. Groupon Staff says I could use this with another person for two massages (and pay the difference). The manager of I Spa says that “the groupon may not be divided among two people. Groupon states “Limit 1 Per person”” – Which is odd, because that’s the wrong fine print to quote. It’s not giving more than 1 per person, it’s giving .5 per person.

So what’s the actual policy?

Also, it looks like Jenny Hong (Manager) is misinformed. In the state of CA, the base price of $99 will NOT expire. The promotional bonus of $106 will be the only thing that expires.

Groupon – please be sure your clients know the details.

Maria M.-

Unfortunately, you may not use one voucher for a couples treatment as the groupon states “1 per person.” If both parties purchase one, you may use towards a couples massage, but there would be a balance left on the Groupon. You may enjoy an express facial for $75 each or even a pedicure for $65 each.

-Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager

Michele,

As mentioned in the fine print, the groupon amount may NOT go towards gratuity, tax, or products. Thanks!

Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager

Andy J.

Alka . commented 39 minutes ago (Delete) alka-du-mont-1’s admin page

Hi Jennifer – After the expiry date you are entitled to only the amount that you paid to get the Groupon ($99), so it is worth your efforts to get an appointment before the 12 month expiry date.

Ben – This is not valid at other Intercontinental locations.

Leslie – I will look into the parking question!

Trish – You can pick any treatments you want and any amount over $205 you will have to pay the difference. Check out their site for more details about the services: http://www.icsfspa.com/

Joanna – Yes, you can combine services.

Alka
Groupon Staff

(this post was edited for accuracy)

Shirley H.

So I can pick anything I want off the service list, and apply the $205 for it? Do I have to specify that I have a GroupOn voucher when booking?

Shirley H.

Also, is the indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi all fixed? The last two times that I was there, they were closed for renovation.

Debbie S.

can i use this offer if i’ve already purchased an i-spa certificate from groupon at another time? it says one per person — is that for this time or any time? thx for this great offer! :)

Julie K.

Could you use this for spa parties?

Shirley- I am pleased to inform you that the hotel pool and jacuzzi is working.

Debbie- Of course! If you took advantage of the Groupon deal back in December of 2009, you may purchase another one today and tomorrow.

Julie- Unfortunately, you may not combine the Groupon discounts with any of our package discounts. We are not able to honor “double discounts.”

nisha b.

Jenny,
When you say one per person, does that mean at one visit/occasion? Can I buy 2 for myself to use at 2 different occasions?

nisha b.

Thanks, Alka. But can I buy 2 different groupons to use at 2 different visits. I will use the full amount both times.

That seems silly that I can’t use one coupon for a couples massage. I only want the 50 min session and am not interested in any of the other treatments. I was willing to pay the difference. I am going to cancel my order.

Nisha,

Of course! You may buy multiple as a treat yourself, but you may only use one per day. I hope this helps.

We hope to see you soon!

Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager

Arti D.

Is this for new clients only?

Max: Thank you for your clarification. I have just received a response from groupon, and you are indeed correct.

Beyond the expiration date, the vouchers are only redeemable for the purchased amount of $99.

I sincerely apologize for any confusing my earlier posting has caused.

-Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager

Arti,

Anyone may purchase these vouchers. You do not need to be “new” clients. Please, feel free to purchase multiple for future use.

Thank you

Dear Groupon Users,

Thank you for your interest in our Groupon promotional vouchers. Please, advise that The (I) Spa cannot combine the Groupon discount vouchers with package discounts. We are not able to perform “double discounting.” I apologize in advance for any inconveniences.

(For example, Groupon discounted vouchers may not be used with Signature Package Discount.)

Thank you, and we will look forward to having you as our guest here at The (I) Spa!

Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager

Lisa C.

What was the end result of Max’s comment re using the groupon for 2 people on one visit to the spa? Jenny H.’s comment seems to only refer to the expiration issue.

Limit 1 per person refers to limiting one groupon per person, not limiting one person per groupon (otherwise, the fine print should be Limit one person per groupon)…

Thanks.

Hi Jenny –
I’m sorry for the confusion but, where you saying that, with the $99 voucher, I’d be unable to apply to any spa packages?

Say ..
I-Spa Signature Package (100 minutes $230) or Inspiration Package (100 minutes $250)?

Does that mean we have to put together our own “packages”, multiple treatments to add up to the $205 value?

Thank you.

Is the couples Massage considered a Signature Package Discount? If not, will I be able to purchase this using my Groupon? Or is it better to just purchase 2 different treatments like “Spa Men & Spa Girl” so my partner and I can enjoy the $205 worth?

Diana

Maybe I am confused as well, but I would also like to know whether or not we can use the $205 worth for a couple’s massage?

Hi Jenny,
If I purchase 2 Groupons and use them both towards the “Romance Ritual for Two” and use the remaining balance towards add ons, is that an option?

Please confirm. Thanks!

Yael P.

Their website says they will automatically bill 20(!) “Service charge”, in the discussion above it is only mentioned that taxes and gratitude cannot be paid with the groupon (does gratitude=service charge?). So if I choose 80min massage for $180 I have to add 20 service which brings it to $216 + taxes it will be $232 bill or so. Can I use the full $205 (+$27 out of pocket)? or will I be left with $25 groupon and have to pay extra $52, which would feel very unpleasant after a great massage…???

Hi,

I am looking to buy this deal as a perk for my staff. However, I am limited to only buying one groupon for this offer. I will need about 12. Can I buy that many as gifts, is there someway to get around the limit.

Thank you,
Marie

… Also is the Groupon redeemable for any service?

How much per hour is parking at the Mission St. garage?

Sharon

Hi Jenny,

I’ve been to the spa at the Intercontinental LA and it was heavenly. I wonder if your spa has the same treatments and products?

Sharon

Laurie B.

What a fantastic deal! I look forward to using it! My only question is that if you have a groupon, and place a service online, would your credit card be held and then you apply your groupon at the front desk when checking in? :)

Payge

Hi Jenny, I wanted to find out if I would be able to use this voucher towards the
I-Spa Signature Package100 minutes $230
50 min I-Spa Massage
50 min I-Spa Facial

Thanks!

I wanted to know how much is Smart Lipo and can I use the groupon toward that?

Wendy L.

No one has answered Yael’s question.

Taken directly from I-Spa’s website:
GRATUITIES
For your convenience, a 20% service charge will be added to all spa treatment prices upon check-out. Should you wish to increase or reduce this amount based on your service satisfaction, please notify a spa coordinator upon check-out. Envelopes are provided at the front desk should you wish to leave a cash gratuity.”

So, does gratuity=service charge here or are they separate things? Can service charge be covered by the Groupon?

Wendy,

Thank you for answering Yael’s question. I believe this has already been answered from groupon’s fine print. Gratuity/service charge/tip are all synonymous.

Taken from Groupon’s fine print.
“Expires in 1 year
Limit 1 per person, may buy multiple as gifts. Not valid toward food items or product. Gratuity not included. By appointment only; subject to availability. 24-hour cancellation policy or Groupon is forfeited.
See the rules that apply to all deals.”

Groupon Users,

Please refer to previous posting regarding parking availability.

BEN
-We do provide discount for valet parking within the hotel. It is $15 up to 3 hours. After 3 hours, it is $15 for every 20min.
Other parking options
1. Street Parking
2. Parking lot on Howard & 5th ($10 all day)
3. Mission st garage. (in front of meteron)
we hope to see you soon!”

Thank you

Anna

Did anyone respond to the package question? I too am interested in one of the packages and would buy several. Specifically, the Teen and Tweeen?

SHARON: Unfortunately, we are a complete seperate entity from the hotel. This voucher is valid at one location. Please refer the main page for details.

LAURIE: Please, mention when booking you will be using your groupon. If you do not mention at the time of booking, you will not be able to use them upon your arrival if the maximum number of groupon appointments have already been met for that day. We also do not charge any credit cards until your checkout from the spa.

PAYGE & EMILY: Please, refer to my previous posting.
“Jenny H. commented 19 hours and 57 minutes ago

Dear Groupon Users,
Thank you for your interest in our Groupon promotional vouchers. Please, advise that The (I) Spa cannot combine the Groupon discount vouchers with package discounts. We are not able to perform “double discounting.” I apologize in advance for any inconveniences.
(For example, Groupon discounted vouchers may not be used with Signature Package Discount.)
Thank you, and we will look forward to having you as our guest here at The (I) Spa!
Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager"

Diana,

You are absolutely correct. For a couples massage/treatment, you each would need a groupon. You may use the balance towards add-ons or other services and pay the balance upon checkout. Thank you.

-Jenny Hong

Lisa C.

Thanks, Jenny for the explanation of the couples massage. That has inspired me to cancel my order as I think it is silly that the majority of your services are $130, but you want me, on my own, to spend over $200 to use this groupon.

Lisa, I am glad I could be of assistance. Thank you.

Hi Jenny, The reason people were confused is because " a limit of one groupon per person" actually means you COULD divide it between two people since you would be well below the limit of one groupon per person. It’s a contradictory message so people were wondering which one was true.

So, it appears the policies are 1) There is a maximum of one groupon per person per visit AND 2) Each groupon is valid for one client only. (meaning Groupons may not be divided among multiple clients e.g couples massage or two express services for two clients.) 3) A couples massage requires two groupons.

Groupon Users,

One person may use one groupon. This means one person may not use 1/2 groupon. This also means one person may not use 2 groupons per visit.

Because a couples treatment involves 2 guests, each guests needs to provide his/her own Groupon.

this is way too confusing…i was thinking about buying this as my first groupon, but now i think i’ll just avoid it all together.

i think i am most confused by the 20% service charge—would i be paying gratuity twice?!

not what i’m looking to deal with when all i want is some spa relaxation.

Nicole,

We add a 20% gratuity for your convenience on top of the service prices and 5% Healthy San Francisco surcharge is added. The listed prices for services does not include gratuity. You may also adjust the gratuity as you see fit upon checkout. Healthy San Francisco surcharge is not negotiable.

Thank you.

So, does the $99 cover the gratuity or not? I think people just want to know if they have to pay the gratuity on top of the $99. Jenny’s response seems to contradict the fine print that gratuity cannot be paid with groupon. Can someone clarify this? Can ANY gratuity be paid with groupon?

So it appears that at their prices, it is near impossible to get 50% off.

Even if you can get a “space available” reservation, per the Spa manager: “you will not be able to use them upon your arrival if the maximum number of groupon appointments have already been met for that day.”

Other deals do seem more in the spirit of Groupon.

Mr. David B.

Please refer to Groupon’s fine print for clarification.
http://www.groupon.com/pages/universal-fine-print

Nicole H. said it well:
“this is way too confusing…i was thinking about buying this as my first groupon, but now i think i’ll just avoid it all together.
i think i am most confused by the 20% service charge—would i be paying gratuity twice?”

Since they add the gratuity to the bill, and you cannot pay gratuity with Groupon, …?

Dear ALL Groupon Users,

Please refer to the following liniks for details.

FINE PRINT: http://www.groupon.com/pages/universal-fine-print

FAQ: http://www.groupon.com/pages/deal-faq#all

That’s reasonable. There is a difference between a business providing free service (which means their actual expenses are the marginal costs for providing the service) and a business forking over cash on your behalf.

Gratuity is a hard cash expense the spa must directly to its employees (it can’t be absorbed); sales tax is a hard cash expense the spa must pass along in full to the Franchise Tax Board; the and healthy SF is a local tax the spa collects on behalf of the city. To repeat there is a big difference between providing free or discount services and paying your cash costs of taxes and gratuity. (In fact the business will already be incurring the 3% visa service charge on the gratuity since no it’s unlikely people will pay cash.)

In the spirit of being helpful, I would suggest the way the groupon is packaged and priced relative to spa service prices, the unanticipated SF tax, and the high cost of gratuity on the full service price might call for spelling all of this out on the front page of the deal so people know what they’re getting into.

By the way, Jenny, thanks for your succinct clarification of the policy. I think it’s clear now. Now that this is all thought out, I ’m sure future offers will go more smoothly.

Hilda G.

Hi Jenny,

Just to confirm,
1. I can make an appointment for myself and others on the same day as long as we each have our on Groupon
2. We can be rest assured, the Groupon will be redeemable for services on the day used, irregardless, how many other Groupon users were seen day of service.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Vincent L.

Dear Jenny from ISpa/ Groupon Staff,

It seems very unfair and misleading that the fine print never mentioned anything about the purchaser not being able to use the coupon for the spa packages at ISpa.

I’m a very loyal Gropon customer. Trust me….I was even invited to the Groupon Loyalty Program event recently so I know that Groupon is consistently very specific about limitations on certificate rules of usage etc.

I find this extremely upsetting especially after seeing you post the “Universal Fine Print” thing. I’m almost insulted that you would pull that stunt especially with the kind of high-end establishment that you run. It’s the Intercontinental Hotel for goodness’ sake. We expect to read the deals when we click on the ad’s very detailed description which should already provide that info AND the “The Fine Print” section that Groupon has on that page. You practically tried to describe every single service you have when you wrote the ad yet failed to say we can’t combine it. That would have been so simple to ad along with the restriction on cancellation etc.

I’ve already bought 4 of these coupons and was planning to purchase 2 more because I was going to treat my best friend and a few other friends for his birthday to what I was hoping would be a great experience at your establishment.

This really leaves a bad taste in my mouth which has never happened for me with Groupon. From someone who has PAGES of Groupon that I buy for myself and to gift friends and family, I just need you to know that I am very disappointed in the way you continue to conduct this discussion page.

It is obviously not just me because a lot of people are confused by this deal. Your constant attempt at referring people to various links should really give you a clue that you did not do something right with today’s ad.

Lucky for those people who haven’t purchased before all of these issues came up but what about for people like me that have bought it and have already promised it to gift it to people? Do I ask Groupon to cancel the purchase? That would be the easy part. What about telling friends that I didn’t expect to spend a few more hundred dollars on this so i have t cancel.

Just note that I bought this deal super early. Before it even flipped. Is this supposed to teaches me a lesson to try and take advantage of Groupon’s promos?

In the future, I most certainly hope that you do a better job at being more clear in the future. It would save you from having very disappointed and upset clients like myself.

And to Groupon, I love you guys so I hope you guys take this not only as a rant but as a loyal customer addressing a serious concern.

I agree completely with Vincent L.:
" find this extremely upsetting especially after seeing you post the “Universal Fine Print” thing. I’m almost insulted that you would pull that stunt especially with the kind of high-end establishment that you run. It’s the Intercontinental Hotel for goodness’ sake. "

So per Groupon policy, they should refund you the costs for as may of these as you request.

No Questions asked.

I’d be interested if Groupon steps up to their offer.

Vincent L.

Thanks George! It’s not even at all the refund issue for me. It’s the principle of it all and the poor customer responses. I hope Groupon is reassessing their relationship with this establishment.

I also just got a chance to read some of Jenny’s response to the questions and her tone is very condescending towards people…

Lisa C said “Thanks, Jenny for the explanation of the couples massage. That has inspired me to cancel my order as I think it is silly that the majority of your services are $130, but you want me, on my own, to spend over $200 to use this Groupon.”
And Jenny responded by saying, “Lisa, I am glad I could be of assistance. Thank you.” Really?!!! A spa manager responding that way?

GROUPON, are you guys reading these responses your clients are getting? I know it’s Sunday and all but c’mon! I hope you are taking into consideration the reputation you guys have built and the loyal client base that you guys have who spend quite a lot of money with you. I hope someone is advocating on our behalf as we speak. At the very least, please address the manner in which the manager of ISpa answers inquiries. Don’ turn a blind eye and continue to answer other questions and act as if you didn’t read what just came before.

Sorry Alka! You’ve always been great in the past when I’ve read your responses to us and I realize you are probably the one assigned this task today but I hope you relay the message to the powers that be at Groupon. This is not the way we are accustomed to being treated by Groupon and your business partners. This is an isolated incident at least for me but it only takes one incident to turn people off sometimes. You’ve never disappointed me before so please try and make this right for us.

Vincent L.

Sorry folks but I’m just on a roll now.

Another Jenny response…

“Wendy,

Thank you for answering Yael’s question. I believe this has already been answered from groupon’s fine print. Gratuity/service charge/tip are all synonymous."

Is it just me? Answering by saying, “I believe this has already been answered from groupon’s fine print. Gratuity/service charge/tip are all synonymous.” is not what I would expect an appropriate response to be.

buyer beware:
Since 2,345 coupons have bought, and as Jenny said they are limiting the # used per day, if they allow 6 per day, in the best case, over 100 people won’t get in before the year expiration.
And I’m assuming usage spread evenly every day.

I totally agree – I purchased 2 coupons and was about to purchase 3 more when all the confusion erupted.

I was ecstatic to see this deal but Jenny H.’s responses has been confusing, contradictory, and at times misleading. For example, my inquiry to her only required a “yes or no” answer but she had to refer me back to her previous response (which was where my question derived from), as if I were the negligent party.

I believe the displeasure is shared across the board and canceled my orders. Hopefully, the next deal from I-Spa will be the same as their first, which was offered earlier this year – straight forward and honest … in the true spirit of Groupon.

Thank you.

Vincent L.

Hi Alka,

As professional as you are attempting to respond to our concerns, and I can certainly speak for myself when I say that I definitely appreciate the effort you are making, I have to be brutally honest with you…the explanations, the calculations for the number of visits and all the promises of having more clarity in the future sort of feels disingenuous to me now. I will only ask you this…how can you maintain the stance that Groupon is “happy to work with them” when you’ve received so many complaints about the way your customers have been dealt with and treated by ISpa? The rudeness was unnecessary and the condescenscion is completely unacceptable. I would only hope you guys at Groupon would agree. The questions placed to them were totally appropriate. Only clarity was being sought. Nothing more or less. There must be a quality management team at Groupon that can review this whole thread. Sugar coating the situation and trying to accept total blame for what someone else is also at least partly responsible for is only worsening the situation for your customers that have been offended by all of this. It is obvious at this point how riled up this has made me but if you have spent as much money as I have to get several of these deals and promising them to friends only to find out that complete informatin was not provided, I think it’s safe to assume that you’ll be upset too. The apology needs to come from both the offending parties. You guys have now done your part. What about the spa? Then again, the manager has been quiet since she was called on her rude behavior. Lastly, is the spa really a completely separate entity from the hotel as Jenny has claimed? I’m sorry that I continue to make this an issue but this was a birthday celebration planned and promised to someone dear to me and that is now in jeopardy. Not only because of the money issue but the quality of customer service from the spa that I now seriously question as well.

So nobody can answer my simple question – how much per hour is parking at the Mission St. garage?
The only answer I got was the same answer repeated again that the garage is one of the options – I get that! I just want to know the price of this option to know where I want to go when I get there.

Alka: Regarding this quote “Christina – I am not sure who you spoke to, but that is not a requirement of the Groupon, there are not set requirements as to what you need to order to use this Groupon at the spa. Please let me know if you hear otherwise.”

We did hear otherwise several times from Jenny:
“Dear Groupon Users,
Thank you for your interest in our Groupon promotional vouchers. Please, advise that The (I) Spa cannot combine the Groupon discount vouchers with package discounts. We are not able to perform “double discounting.” I apologize in advance for any inconveniences.
(For example, Groupon discounted vouchers may not be used with Signature Package Discount.)
Thank you, and we will look forward to having you as our guest here at The (I) Spa!
Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager”

She mentioned this and the fact that it could not be used for couples massages (on your description it never mentioned that you cannot use it for 1/2 person as Jenny keeps saying).

I would never have known all this since you did not list any restrictions on services on the description. How could anyone know that a package is considered a discount? There is nothing on your description or their site that mentions this. This is exactly why we and even you are sooo confused here. By restricting what we can use it for is not right for all the people who purchased it thinking they could use it for any of their services.

Vincent L.

Groupon,

You need to do right by your customers. We need to know that some action has been taken to rectify this situation. This is one of the most aggravating experiences I’ve ever had purchasing from your site. Yes, AGGRAVATING! It’s difficult to say that because I absolutely love Groupon and have told everyone I know and their mother about it.

And feel free to look at my history of purchases from you guys…loads!!! Look at the history of complaints up until this deal…zero!!!

This is only simple business logic. Not making it clear on the site was not our fault. They should honor it since they made the mistake and announced the restrictions after the fact that we’ve purchased it. Leslie is right. How were we supposed to know that that they would consider a spa package a “double discount” when no one specified it clearly? We can read ads but we can’t read minds. It has been mentioned before, if this was not misleading, it’s pretty darn close. And Groupon, you wouldn’t be as popular as you are if you went along with these types of misleading ad campaigns. Inadvertent or not.

Another suggestion: Next time you guys have merchant reps answering these message boards, please make sure they either have plenty of reminders that you at Groupon and your customers have come to expect excellent customer service or at the very least, run their responses by you first to ensure that they meet your standards of customer care and are not being rude to your customers.

And for the record, we have had nothing but complaints from the last several messages about the spa yet still no apology from them. Not even one simple sincere attempt at apologizing for their (or her) tone to try and appease us. Their silence speaks volumes about their way of doing business. She did not have any problems chiming in before the kitchen got hot so I find it perplexing that their end is quiet suddenly. Perhaps they are waiting for this to just die down on its own. I guess to say I’m sorry is too high a road for her, or perhaps even senior/executive management at the spa itself, to take.

I guess it’s worth giving them the benefit of the doubt and give them until today to say something. Otherwise, I have one word to everyone on this message board: YELP.

Judy H.

We purchased 4 certificates and will celebrate a friend’s 50th there with all of us having a massage and facial on September 28th. Can’t wait!

It is my opinion that this gift certificate/coupon is NOT being sold deceptively and the expiration and usage rules are clearly stated. We are paying less than the face value and an expiration date is allowed. It is simply not true that all gift certificates do not have an expiration in California. If you buy a $100 GC for less than $100 (i.e., at silent auctions when the retailer has donated a coupon is a good example) it can have an expiration.

“Certain gift certificates or gift cards sold after January 1, 1998, are not subject to any of the rules discussed here. To be exempt, these gift certificates or gift cards must contain an expiration date, if any, in capital letters in at least 10-point type on the front of the card and must be either:

  • Distributed by the issuer to a consumer without charge under an awards, loyalty or promotional program;10 or
  • Donated or sold below face value at a volume discount to employers or to nonprofit and charitable organizations for fundraising purposes, if the expiration date is 30 days or less after the date of sale;11 or
  • Issued for perishable food products.12"

I just learned that the purchase i had made for Spa Chakra (at Hilton) a few months ago to celebrate our annual gathering of 3 of my girlfriends (one coming in from Finland) this coming weekend is no longer in business! This was by far one of the most frustrating experiences I have had because this planning took lot of hours of coordination (timing, choice of services, scheduling with the spa and planning the rest of the day around it) only to find that they are out of business! This happens to be 2nd business that went out of business (first one was Nectar Lounge in burlingame) that was featured on Group that I know of. I sincerely hope that Groupon does not continue to dump these unstable businesses onto the customers as this has been a HUGE waste of time/energy and a major DISSAPPOINTMENT and an INCONVENIENCE.

Vincent L.

Claire, sorry to hear about your experience which is somewhat similar to mine :(

But actually, there was another one…Britesmile. I did get my money back though so hopefully, you get yours back too.

Quite unfortunately, that is no consolation for ruined plans for an annual gathering so I wish you luck in your quest for something that hopefully turns out even better :)

Ryan O.

Hello All,

We are sorry about the confusion. Some frequent post that I have noticed that may have been addressed already, but I will address them again, the 20% service charge is for gratuities, you are more that welcome to increase or decrease from this. Gratuities and tax are not included within the groupon voucher; this has to be paid out of pocket. We cannot combine this with any other promotion, discount, package, or group special, since you are already receiving a 52% discount. Parking at the Mission St. Garage is $3.50 per hour according to their website at www.fifthandmission.com.

Also, our direct line was posted incorrectly on the groupon, our phone number is 415.616.6597. The number posted on the groupon is also being forwarded to us. Due to the heavy influx of calls, it may take us a while to respond to your message and answer the phone, we will get to every message unless you have already booked. You may also book on-line at www.icsfspa.com.

The Spa also does need a physical copy of the groupon upon checkout. Please bring this with you.

Once again, sorry about the confusion, and we will try and respond to anymore inquiries as soon as possible.

Ryan O’Connor
Spa Director

Thanks Vincent for your comment! I’ve calmed down now but still have to come up with another spa services for all of us. Yes, Groupon has refunded for Nectar before so I am not worried about that. I am just frustrated that Groupon is not doing a better job of filtering unstable businesses. Lesson learned from this experience is NOT to purchase anything that you are not planning on using in the next 30 days from the purchase!

Thanks

Vincent L.

I feel your pain Claire. I have 30 days myself to plan something also.

I’m also just disappointed with the Spa’s lame attempt at apologizing. They addressed the superficial issues but not the more egregious issues. The “we will try and respond to anymore inquiries as soon as possible” bit does not work because they have not even addressed all the previous ones. I guess that’s their way of saying so sorry Charlie! The apology sounded forced and contrived. And who even really asked whether their phone number was listed correctly or not?

And Groupon, your silence throughout the day today has only done nothing but reinforce the disappointment for at least one of your very loyal customers that expected more from you. You could’ve done better and should’ve done better. The whole ignore him because he’ll eventually give up bit was so uncool! As much enthusiasm as I spent spreading the word about how much I loved you guys before, I now plan on spending as much energy to say otherwise.

Jennifer

Dear Ryan O’Connor,

I received 2 of these group-ons for my birthday and am very excited about using them. I receive massages on a regular basis from Massage Envy due to chronic back pain. I have, however, recently considered trying other massage locations. As a result, I was ecstatic about receiving these group-ons. I have booked an appointment for myself this Saturday, my actual birthday, for a hot stone massage for $185. In September, I would like to use my second group-on for a couples massage for me and my boyfriend. I will pay the $55 difference and, depending on my satisfaction, continue frequenting your spa on a regular basis. Can I use my group-ons in the manner described above, if not, can you please tell me why?

Thank you for your time.

Jen C.

P.S. Nowhere in the group-on fine print or your web site does it state the number of people who can use a group-on in one visit.

Vincent L.

Christina,

Unfortunately, I think our complaints are now falling into deaf ears. They don’t seem to care about the few since they’ve sold over 2,000 of these deals. What’s a few of us when they have sold that many?

The disappointing part of all of this is that Groupon has essentially been complicit because they have been silent for over 63 hours on this issue. Count ’em. 63 hours. That certainly has been a lot of time to at least ponder what the best business decision is with regards to the unclear fine print and poor customer service etc.

Furthermore, notice a trend? Refer to the website or “Some frequent post that I have noticed that may have been addressed already” when in fact they haven’t. “Sorry for the confusion” when it should in fact have been “Sorry and we realize that we made the mistake and since we made that mistake, our customers should not be the ones having to suffer the consequences because that would be the right thing to do”. By the way, did you read any apologies for the poor customer service that so many have complained about? NONE!

What I’ve done now is that I have contacted Groupon to find out what my options are with regards to my unused Groupons. Why support you when you’ve chosen to ignore my one and only complaint ever? Also, I now realize that the Customer Loyalty Program party that they threw recently was a sham. Customer loyalty does not mean anything except this—-continue to buy our “deals” but when you complain just one time, we’ll ignore you because we treat these complaints as just a pain in the behind.

I would definitely like to hear what your lawyer has to say about the fine print though because that issue continues to be a sticking point that is not being answered adequately. I’ll also keep you guys posted on how Groupon responds to my inquiry re. my unused Groupons. I just hope I don’t get cut off from this thread before that happens. But if I do, I just want to say GOOD LUCK Christina and Claire and Leslie and Emily and George !!!

It’s really disappointing to see the thread sink into a flame war like this, and getting past the actual facts.

First of all – I mostly agree with groupon and the spa on this regarding the terms of the Taxes and Fees. As well as the questions about parking. But I don’t agree with the whole “no double discount” idea or the “no couples massage” thing.

Let’s go into these one by one.

It appears that the spa may not have been fully prepared for, or understanding of, the implications of Groupon.

1) First of all – Parking. I’m sorry – this is 2010, and the customer is already proving he/she knows how to access the internet and use a computer by posting on here, and could do a search for the Mission garage (not affiliated with the hotel) and either read the website or call them and ask how much parking is.
Or call the hotel and talk to the concierge who I am sure would be willing to answer that question. But the spa should have this information readily available and Groupon should not have had to answer this question. In SF (or any normal major city) nothing includes parking. In fact, I could see a groupon coming out for parking soon.

2) Taxes and Tip
It does clearly say on Groupon’s website (and it has been the case for all groupons so far that I have bought) that Gratuity and Taxes are not included.
However, the language that the Spa manager uses is anything but clear. She says the following:
Jenny H. commented 4 days, 8 hours, and 59 minutes ago
Nicole,

We add a 20% gratuity for your convenience on top of the service prices and 5% Healthy San Francisco surcharge is added. The listed prices for services does not include gratuity. You may also adjust the gratuity as you see fit upon checkout. Healthy San Francisco surcharge is not negotiable.

Thank you.
===
Her comment makes the 5% “healthy san francisco” tax sound like a fee which is part of the bill. However, it is a tax, and should be called such. Then people wouldn’t get upset.
The 20% “gratuity” (tip, for those who can’t read English), is pretty clearly covered under the prior Groupon FAQ that tips are not included. But I think the manager could be a little more clear about it by stating something like “Tipping is automatically done for the customer for your convenience in the form of a 20% gratuity surchage which is added on top of the fee charged for services”. Or something like that, that makes it clear it’s not part of the normal bill.

3) Restrictions on services that are not part of the deal:
See what Jenny H says below
==
Jenny H. commented 4 days, 11 hours, and 43 minutes ago
Diana,

You are absolutely correct. For a couples massage/treatment, you each would need a groupon. You may use the balance towards add-ons or other services and pay the balance upon checkout. Thank you.

-Jenny Hong

AND

Dear Groupon Users,
Thank you for your interest in our Groupon promotional vouchers. Please, advise that The (I) Spa cannot combine the Groupon discount vouchers with package discounts. We are not able to perform “double discounting.” I apologize in advance for any inconveniences.
(For example, Groupon discounted vouchers may not be used with Signature Package Discount.)
Thank you, and we will look forward to having you as our guest here at The (I) Spa!
Jenny Hong
The (I) Spa Manager"

However, see this screenshot of their website, which I have posted on my blog:
http://hannacabana.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/intercontinental-services.png (in the following blog post: http://hannacabana.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/groupon-vs-businesses-vs-the-customer-round-1/ )

It’s pretty clear that all the “Discounts” and “packages” she lists are listed on the website as normal services. The same thing goes for the Couples Massage – which is listed as a normal Service. Packages are a normal service the spa provides and the website makes that pretty clear.
The groupon FAQ does state that it cannot be ‘combined with other offers’. That is what would be ‘double discounting’ – like if the spa emailed a special coupon to their loyal customers on their newsletter list. Or listed it as a “special” under a “discounts and specials” section of their site. However, that’s not where they listed it.
Apparently the spa does not understand that when a user pre-pays for these services from them, they are entering into a contract with the customer to provide a certain value of services for a pre-set price. The only stipulations or restrictions that are valid on the deal are those stated in writing on the coupon. They are not allowed to further restrict the use of the coupon after-the-fact and without specifying such stipulations therein.
This would be like receiving a coupon for buy one meal, get one free at a restaurant, and they told you that it’s not valid for a full meal, but only for appetizers, and the 2 meals have to be eaten by the same person in one sitting.

Disgruntled as all of you may be, I find it quite inappropriate to post up Jenny’s personal Facebook page and direct people toward it. Take it up at the I-spa’s facebook page, email her at her work email, or call the spa directly. Ridiculous.

I took one look at the discussion q/a, saw the red tape, and promptly decided against purchasing. 5% healthy SF tax at a spa? No thanks. If everyone’s so unhappy with the deal they’ve purchased- ask groupon for a refund! Not that hard.

Vincent L.

Zachary, thanks for taking the time to make comments about this thread and obviously doing your research AND for sharing your blog. Sadly, neither Groupon nor the spa seem to understand that most of the beef started with the “double discount” bit that the spa is trying to pull along with the way they went about answering inquiries or the lack therof now. I’m very interested with the legal twist that you and Christina are putting on this.

J G, I’ve tried to ask Groupon to let me know what I can do and even leaving it open to them to tell me what my options are, up to and including giving me a refund and as a matter of principle, also cancel the rest of my unused Groupon certificates to convey my unhappiness with how this has been handled. Guess what? No response. And one more thing… just as I feared and said on my previous comment, I have now stopped receiving notices about further comments on this page. I was merely looking to see if I’ve been cutoff and it looks like I’m starting to be.

I guess I’m sounding like a spurned lover now but just like a divorce, I want to get what’s fairly mine and get my fair share of what was promised and earned during the marriage. Unfortunately, it’s looking like I’ll need a divorce lawyer to get that.

Vincent,
If Groupon refuses to refund you for your un-redeemable coupon that they sold you – a contract that they and the Spa entered but the spa refuses to fulfill, then I would venture to guess that your credit card company would be able to reverse the charge.

Hi Groupies-

I just wanted to send out a friendly request asking you to not post the personal information of anyone else on this website- that includes links to any online profiles. We hope you understand. I have deleted several posts that included personal links of an i-spa employee posted by a customer.

Lindsay
Customer Support
Groupon

Groupon:

Well then at least you could be kind enough to respond to these complaints? As soon as we bring up something wrong with this deal (mainly that not all services are included) you go silent. What did you expect would happen?

Judy H.

C’mon guys. Your expectations seem a bit unrealistic. What did YOU expect? You bought a certificate worth $205 in services for $99. If you didn’t anticipate using $205 in services yourself you shouldn’t have bought it. Also If they have already packaged services together to save customers $$ those are already discounted and you can’t double dip. Makes sense to me. They are not adding any hidden fees. Would any of you actually go to the spa and not tip? You can change the tip to what you like they said. The health tax and sales taxes are fixed and are not optional. I agree they probably could have been more diplomatic but seriously – I could not believe that you guys were expecting for $99 to purchase already discounted services up to $205, pay no tip and complain about the taxes. Also, if you’ve ever been to a spa you know that the number of people is limited. If I were the spa I might allow a couples massage but I would not discount it the full $205. Perhaps they could say $205 in ala carte services and $175 off packaged services. I think you have been very unfair and posting someone’s facebook link is absolutely insane. I’m going with 3 girlfriends on the 28th and we absolutely cannot wait. We arranged each of us to have a facial and a massage at $99. WOW!!

Vincent L.

Well, this is my update. I wrote Groupon to complain about what happened. They responded and considering the predicament that I had already promised these deals to several friends as I mentioned, I was still honestly holding out hope that an amicable resolution can be achieved. The principled part of me was overcome by not wanting to ruin a promised gift I guess. Admittedly and embarrased as I am to say it, I woosed out completely.

They said that they will try and talk with the business. What I got instead though was not even just a mere refund but a statement that the spa was exercising it’s right to deny me the services for all 4 of the certificates I purchased.

Here is what I was told: "So, Alka and I both talked to the business, and their reply was essentially this: the message board got very nasty, even to the point of posting an employee’s personal information. And they wish that you would have followed the proper channels of getting this worked out, like calling customer support or calling the business to ask if they might honor the deal as you intended to use it before posting several times on the discussion board. They understand that they should have been clearer in communicating that the Spa Packages are considered a special offer and could not be combined with the Groupon, and this was an honest mistake because they assumed customers would know that a “package” was a special. They sincerely apologize for that mistake. They claim that they would have certainly been willing to honor the deal for you and combine it with the Spa Packages if the posts on the message board had not gotten so deliberately offensive. So, they said that they have the right to refuse service to anyone, and they are exercising that right.
So, I will be refunding each of your Groupons. You can expect to see this on your statement within 5-7 days. Very sorry for all of the trouble. This is not how I would like to see this end for anyone involved."

My last response to Groupon was this: "That is such a dishonest and deceitful reaction from the spa especially considering that we certainly posted numerous complaints asking someone to intercede and correct their mistake. They had a chance then to say “Vincent, can you please call customer service so we can discuss this”. NOW they are saying that they would’ve been willing to do something about it when they didn’t for almost 3 days. They could’ve responded appropriately within the first day if they truly intended to honor the fact that they were the ones that made the mistake. These mistakes were pointed out to them in good faith in the beginning. Do they not understand that the manner in which their emloyee responded initially was the cause of all of this? It got worse because they stopped answering. Groupon also stopped answering. What were we to do?"

Oyyy!

Winnie W.

Since I hadn’t checked the discussion thread since I purchased my Groupon and was thinking of making my appointment to use my Groupon soon, I decided to catch up. Wow. I agree with Zachary and Judy H that the sticking points they mentioned seemed pretty clear when I first bought it. It does seem like this thread has spiraled down into unnecessary flame wars and ranting that I hope will not become a trend on other discussion threads. I am still looking forward to using my I Spa Groupon.

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