According to some, the eleventh commandment is, “Thou shalt not buy retail.” Andrew Mason and Eric Lefkofsky heard that call, and that’s how Groupon came to be. Groupon is a portmanteau for “group coupon,” and that’s exactly how the site works. In order for customers  to purchase a coupon, a certain threshold needs to be met. If enough customers don’t purchase the coupons, then no one gets to purchase them at all. You’ll often see what looks like great deals for laser hair removal and electrolysis on Groupon and other deal websites. For example, a recent Groupon deal was six laser hair removal treatments on a small or medium area of the body for $99. Supposedly, this deal was originally worth $210.

Some people are spoiled by these amazing prices; who would want to pay full price after getting a 50-70 percent discounts? What these people don’t realize is that there’s a catch to Groupon – a catch that a woman named Stephanie Ahle found out the hard way. Back in 2010, Ahle paid hundreds of dollars for a series of hair removal sessions at bargain prices at the Hudson Med Spa in Kansas City, MO. According to the spa, they sold around 1,000 laser hair removal deals during the period of time in which Ahle purchased her deals. These deals had to be redeemed within nine months after purchase. When Ahle went in for treatment, she ended up with scars and burns instead of smooth hairless skin. Ahle filed a lawsuit against Hudson Med Spa alleging that the spa sold too many deals that needed to be redeemed within that nine month period, and because the spa was overwhelmed with clients, there was no way for each laser hair removal procedure to be carried out safely. For example, due to the time constraints, it’s possible that the technicians did not carry out safety procedures because they didn’t have enough time. Maybe the technicians did not have enough time to instruct patients on how to treat their skin after the hair removal treatment, or maybe they performed the treatment faster than advised in order to get to the next patient.

Another reason why Groupons aren’t as awesome as they seem is due to competition by customers. When a business that normally has around 20 phone calls a day sells 1,000 deals in two weeks and starts to average 60 calls per day, it’s possible that the one receptionist at the place won’t be able to handle all the phone calls. It can be frustrating calling multiple times until you finally get someone to pick up the phone. And even if you do manage to talk to someone, another problem is that if you wait until the last minute to redeem your coupon… so did everyone else. Good luck getting an appointment before your deal expires when 40 other people have the same limited redemption period combined with procrastination.  Also, when a spa gets overwhelmed with new clients, they sometimes bring in new people to help out. It can get very chaotic, what with the overscheduling and the untrained new employees and the overworked managers trying to keep it all together.

Ironically, one good reason not to use Groupons is because, in the long-run, they may not actually save you money. For example, you may purchase a six laser hair removal sessions for the amazing price of $99 in order to rid yourself of back hair. However, if you’re especially hairy, six sessions may not do the trick, and once you’ve used up the Groupon, you find out that the normal price for a session is ridiculously expensive. By the time you’ve finished getting laser on your back, you’ve paid more than you ever anticipated. In conclusion, Groupon may be great for trying out new restaurants, but if you’re looking to have cosmetic procedures done, look for a spa or clinic that offers lower prices from the get-go instead of ridiculously cheap deals on Groupon… you get what you pay for.

Jenna Pacht is a laser hair removal technician who specializes in Denver laser hair removal at the Village Laser Denver clinic. For great laser hair removal prices, look no further than Village Laser Denver.