Groupon sits out daily deals code of conduct

The fledgling daily deals sector has launched a code of conduct in a bid to arrest growing concern over the misleading marketing practices employed by some in the sector. However, the sector’s biggest player Groupon has not signed up.


The code, which can viewed in full here, covers six broad areas:

  • Clear, accurate and honest communication with merchants and subscribers
  • Ensuring appropriate policies and procedures are in place and accessible on the main website.
  • Refraining from advertising prohibited items
  • Ensuring all commercial electronic messages comply with relevant legislation.
  • An easy to understand refund policy
  • Clear and effective procedures for handling complaints

Industry trade association the Global Daily Deal Association (GDDA) hopes the voluntary, self-regulatory code will promote “fair, honest and ethical best practice” in the industry in a bid to “improve its reputation with both consumers and merchants”.

Perception has been hit by a string of recent high profile cases of misleading practices. Most notably, Groupon, which was earlier this year ordered to change its marketing practices by the Office of Fair Trading after attracting hundreds of complaints about its promotions.

Despite this, Groupon has decided not to sign up to the code. A spokeswoman says: “We take customer and partner satisfaction very seriously and support the concept of a global code of conduct. Any code needs to be robust, enforceable and ensure the highest possible protection. At Groupon we are constantly improving our standards and approaches to lead the industry in ensuring the best possible levels of partner and customer service.

“We will be continuing our engagement with regulators, retail and consumer organisations. We welcome these types of initiatives and will evaluate them on an ongoing basis.”

Just a handful of services have signed up to date –, Time Out Offers, MumsandMe and DealCollector in the UK and, Sweetdeal and Bownty elsewhere in Europe. The GDDA is hoping that more will sign up over time.

Sanctions for breaking the code are limited by its voluntary nature. Signatories breaking the code and subsequently failing to address breaches could be forced to withdraw from the agreement. Complaints could also be forwarded to the relevant advertising or competition authority.

Stavros Prodromou, CEO of the GDDA, says: “The GDDA has spent a great deal of time producing a Code of Conduct that is suitable and relevant to the industry. The sector has previously been affected by a lack of merchant and consumer confidence. The code is the first step toward improving the sector’s reputation.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here