Deal or no deal: the Dealdozen Boracay package

Discount voucher sites are all the rage these days. Ensogo, Deal Dozen, Deal Grocer, Tipidto… they are just among the many. These sites partner with hotels, resorts, restaurants, spas and even nail salons to give the public “discounted rates.” Anyone interested registers and, as a registered member, one can buy vouchers online. The deals and featured establishments vary from day to day and the vouchers are always limited. I’ve registered with some of them (I wanted to see what they were offering) but have never bought a voucher. I don’t think I ever will now.

I still haven’t been able to resize and upload the Cape Bojeador photos and Sam is already asking if we’re not going anywhere else before their summer break is over. In dutiful mother mode, I started searching for places to go that won’t break my credit card in half. I was going through my Facebook wall when I saw an ad on the sidebar. The clicked and I landed on Deal Dozen. Here’s a screenshot.

Not bad, I thought. A loft suite at Alta Vista de Boracay. Two queen beds. A living room, dining area…

The question was how far was the resort from the beach. I decided to visit the Alta Vista de Boracay website.

The location is great — it’s nearer Puka beach (which I love) than White Beach (which I hate). I started checking the amenities and availability. And I almost burst a vein in my forehead. From shock and anger.

Remember that the Deal Dozen 3D/2N package for four was P11,990.00, down from the original value of P27,996.00.

But the regular price of the loft suite is only P9,000.00 (highlighted in pink box in the screenshot above). That would be P18,000.00 for two nights. Add the taxes and service charges and the price is P21,960.00 for two nights. So, where did the “original value of P27,996.00” come from?

I clicked the “Book now and get special online rate” and the shock multiplied many times over.

The price has gone down to P13,998.00 (inclusive of taxes and other fees) — for four with breakfast just like the Deal Dozen offering.

But the Deal Dozen price of 11,990.00 is still lower than P13,998.00, so there’s still a P2,000.00 discount — still a discount so why get upset?

Well, because it’s misleading. By claiming an “original value of P27,996.00”, the Deal Dozen site makes it appear that I’m getting such a huge discount by buying a voucher. It’s a freaking mind job.

Discount voucher sites are very popular. Vouchers sometimes get sold out within a day. I don’t know how many people bother to cross check with the websites of the featured establishments to see how much discount they are actually getting. I don’t know how many buy vouchers instantly after getting carried away by numbers like 60% off and a price tag that’s fifty percent lower than the “original value of P27,996.00.”

Personally, I’m done with this shit. I am unregistering myself from the sites I have already signed up with.


    • says

      Caveat emptor. It is good that you are a wise and careful buyer. In these hard times, this is an important lesson. So is the bottomline in that Deal Dozen thing, just to get as many vacationers as possible attracted to their offer? Hmmm, tingin nila magaling na tactic ito? :(

  1. cai says

    i only go to 3 group buying site: cashcashpinoy – because they are with enjoy card. dealgrocer and beeconomic – i think they got great deals. but only for food. for hotel/vacation packages, i would still do research before buying. other sites especially those with cosmetic/dental deals, how would u know if those centers/clinics are good/trusted? better to be safe than a botched cosmetic surgery or whatever.

  2. says

    I don’t have anything against the sites who offer discount vouchers. I haven’t had any bad experience with them because I only buy vouchers from establishments which I already tried in the past – so, I know the real price…. :)

    That could be a little tip to everyone…

    • says

      Mark, I think the average buyer isn’t all that wary… :(

      Cai, what? Discounts for cosmetic surgery? Seriously? I thought nails spas was the limit?

      Crisma, yah, I think so. Just a promo blitz thing to create a buzz about the featured establishments.

      Pinoy Adventurista, re “I only buy vouchers from establishments which I already tried in the past” — that’s smart.

      • cai says

        Maybe more of treatments? Slimming treatments… I saw one groupon site having promo on botox.

      • curiousGirl says

        kaya tinanong ko muna eh bago ko binili.. malabo sila..
        Sometimes nga may promo tapos pag tinawagan mo yung establishment, wala silang alam na may ganon..hmmm

  3. d0d0ng says

    Vendors are very tricky. They always focus the customer to the size of ghost discounts. It is a common practice.

    As a buying customer, the only measure is your pocket. Run a couple of test buys and see the final amount (after fees and taxes).

    Actually it is easier these days because one can call an agency to get a quote while you can run a series of test through 3rd party like expedia plus doing it direct with the vendor itself especially for airfares.

    You are making it fun by having different parties compete for the least money. The best part actually is talking live to the person and still haggle the price further down. You won’t miss anything if they stick to the price but certainly miss if they give others and haven’t tried.

    • curiousGirl says

      Was gonna get discounted tickets to Manila Ocean’s park- parang less P200 ata. But the catch is you have to go to their branch to get the voucher and then clear it with Manila ocean park office (different place ata) and then you can go visit. Hello Hassle!
      Maybe you’ll be saving a little, but that goes to gas na kagad, Anlayo kasi I’m from the south.
      Not to mention may specified date kung kailan ka pwede pumunta. Nevermind.

  4. browneyedgirl says

    i think buying from these discount sites is okay as long as you do your homework first. i’ve seen some offers that had me thinking, “ows? ganun ba talaga ang regular price niyan?” and yes, i wouldn’t dream of getting those laser hair removal-bleaching-liposuction chuchu discounted treatments. but then again there are admittedly some pretty good deals out there too. i’ve stayed overnight at crowne plaza for only P3500, eaten a full course meal at bistro filipino for only P450, and enjoyed a hotel buffet for only P700. i guess one just has to exercise caution before buying something. and it also won’t hurt to have a general idea of the original prices of stuff so you’d know if it was really an honest-to-goodness deal.

    • says

      d0d0ng, re “Vendors are very tricky.”

      I think SHADY would be more apt in this case.

      curiousGirl, whaaaattt? You can just print out the voucher? Gee, even plane tickets can be printed out at home these days…

      browneyedgirl, did the Crowne Plaza price include breakfast?

      • says

        Don’t you just love it when businesses try to get as much money from you as often and as fast as possible and *then* try to convince you that you *saved* money doing precisely the opposite?

        These coupon/group deal sites is just the latest tool in the psychological warfare consumerist-materialist businesses wage against its consumers’ wallets.

        It’s trying to get people to be addicted to these kinds of deals. And that’s what scares me about them.

      • browneyedgirl says

        yes it did, as well as all service charges and govt taxes… may deal din naman na ok, apart from the kaduda-duda ones =) it also helps to know if the provider is a reputable one. most of the deals i got were from deal grocer and ensogo.

  5. says

    I followed the lead of a blogger in Chicago, who is a member of Groupon – he uses the service not to buy coupons, but to discover places to go within Chicago. He’s got an entry up where the coupon of the day was for *Domino’s*, of all things. In Chicago, home of good deep dish pizza (oh lawd, I is hungry).

    I doubt I’ll ever get a coupon from the local tie-up with Groupon, but I’ve already seen places I’d like to try out some time.

  6. Blackwidow says

    When it is too good to be true- then it is.

    Enough of this shit- I concur with you panyera.

    • blacksheepchi says

      it always pays to do a little research before buying anything, lalo na online.
      i’ve been able to buy vouchers from cashcash, ensogo and beeconomic. ok naman so far.
      i was able to buy yung mga food (kasi sure ako na discounted talaga –like the recent chooks to go promo, 2 chickens for P210!!! parang advert promo ng chooks for their new flavors so i thought it was too good a deal to pass up), massages, and also shirts from lifestyle manila.
      basta, if masyadong maraming conditions yung deal (like curious girl’s experience), hindi ko na pinapatulan. :-D

  7. Carol B. says

    I can relate with you on this issue. A couple of weeks ago, I tried to book a hotel through expedia and the likes. At first glance, one will think that they are saving a lot of money by booking through these sites until you get to the bottomline. The discount sites are charging me extra fees for third and fourth person (eventhough the room is designed for 4 occupants) and other fees that hotels don’t normally charge (such as parking). To make the long story short, I’m actually paying more if I booked thru them. Plus I have to pay upon booking instead of at check out.

    It is always wise to do a little sleuthing before taking the plunge.