You see them on Facebook. You see them on other websites. 75% off! 90% off! 95% off! They're supposedly "great deals" on various services or restaurants in your area. They go by several names: Groupon, LivingSocial, and more, but ARE you getting a great deal?
I saw an advertisement recently from Groupon. It went something like this: 80% off horseback riding lessons! I immediately recognized the stable, and I laughed:
Special through Groupon - BUY NOW! 80% horseback riding lessons at Suckers R' U Riding Stable! Regularly priced at $150 per 1/2 hour now only $70 per 1/2 hour! Only fifteen certificates left!
Wait a minute. I just saw Suckers R' U Riding Stable's website a few weeks ago. I pop on over, and sure enough...very clearly...it says "$50 per 1/2 hour lesson." You'd actually be paying MORE through Groupon. Of course, the write-up is so intoxicating that you'd think, "oh yes! I must get it now!" (Great marketing, guys) However, you're getting screwed!
How about this? Another coupon for $20 ... Buy One Get One Free dinner from Chain Italian Restaurant (with the purchase of a $30+ entrée in teeny tiny print.) On Chain Italian Restaurant's website...there's a FREE coupon for Buy One Get One Free dinner entrée (with no purchase amount.)
I'm not certain how the coupon sites work, but I would imagine that these websites offer ad space of sorts - put your deal here for this much money (and hey - jack up the prices and get an additional kickback!)
But when it comes to these "awesome" secret coupon sites, remember the saying, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is."