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Groupon, FTD give refunds on flower deal after complaints

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Associated Press / February 14, 2011

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NEW YORK — The coupon site Groupon.com and flower company FTD Group are offering refunds after getting complaints that a Valentine’s Day flower deal wasn’t so sweet.

The companies said they did not do anything wrong. But online, people accused FTD of inflating prices for Groupon customers who used a coupon for $20 off an FTD flower purchase of $40 or more.

Several Groupon customers found the flowers they had bought were priced lower, as sale items, on FTD’s own website. They complained on the Groupon site and on the Web that FTD was making up for the Groupon discount by jacking up the prices Groupon users paid.

That was not the case, FTD Group’s president, Rob Apatoff, said yesterday. It was clear on the sites that the coupon did not apply to sale items, he said. Still, the company will credit customers’ accounts to give them the sale price, even if they do not ask for it.

Both companies said they will make full refunds if people aren’t satisfied.

“At no time did we inflate any prices. Absolutely not,’’ Apatoff said. “Because there was some confusion with a few, we decided to step up and do the right thing to make sure everybody was happy.’’

Even with the higher price on the Groupon site, Groupon customers always got a better deal with the $20 coupon than buying from the FTD site, Apatoff said.

Groupon Inc. started seeing the complaints Thursday and contacted FTD, Groupon.com’s president, Rob Solomon, said yesterday. Together, they decided to credit the accounts of people who bought the sale items through Groupon, giving them the difference between the sale price and the price on the Groupon site. The companies also put the FTD sale prices on Groupon.

“Tens of thousands’’ of people bought FTD flowers via Groupon site, but Solomon estimated only a few hundred bought the sale items and would get the credit to their charge accounts.

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