City Desk

No More LivingSocial Remorse: Coupon-Trading Site CoupFlip Coming to D.C.

There'll soon be a place for your impulse-buy LivingSocial and Groupon deals. CoupFlip, which buys and resells unused social deal coupons, is opening a Washington site later on July 30.

To offload a coupon, sellers download a PDF of the deal from their coupon site, then upload it to CoupFlip. Payment then comes via Paypal or in a mailed check. People who buy the coupons after that will save a couple dollars or so off what they would have paid by buying it directly from Groupon or LivingSocial.

"We're really excited to be launching in D.C. because, you know, it's the home of LivingSocial,"says Phil McDonnell, one of the site's co-founders.

LivingSocial might not be so thrilled. Its terms of service forbid selling coupons.

According to McDonnell, CoupFlip is working to stay within LivingSocial's terms. It's also hard to see how LivingSocial could police the PDF black market.

Or maybe LivingSocial won't want to get involved at all. "Everyone that sells to us is no longer an unhappy customer," McDonnell says. "Right?"

UPDATE: LivingSocial spokesman Brendan Lewis confirms that selling coupons violates the company's terms, and says that businesses can refuse to honor resold vouchers.

"They're taking an inherent risk," he says.

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  • RT

    I tend to agree with the guy. This is just a secondary market for a product they've already sold. It may increase redemption rates, which depending on your perspective and strategy could be good or bad for the individual businesses.

  • @SamuelMoore

    How is this different than ?

  • Kate

    @SamuelMoore - If you look at it gives you an instant offer for your deal. Pretty cool. If you try to sell stuff on that other site (or craigslist) you're likely to get stuck with it never selling.

    Definitely worth checking out if you won't end up using some of your deals. Also, nice if you missed something on Groupon or LivingSocial. Hope they come out with a mobile app soon. That would be really helpful.

  • Tobin

    Your name is printed right on the Livingsocial coupons. All Livingsocial has to do is start requiring that vendors check ID when people redeem coupons, and Coupflip will be out of business. It's a pretty risky business model.

  • Will Sommer

    You're right, Tobin! Take a look at the update.

  • Don

    I'd love to know how LS thinks they're going to police that. If I was a business I'd swear up and down I checked that name against the credit card they used. Is LS going to start secret shopper testing their coupon sellers? Not bloody likely.

  • Jason

    @Kate - Clearly you work for "CoupFlip" and that was a terrible plug for them.

    Personally I think the idea is ridiculous. First off you are counting on people to purchase a "deal" in which they are interested enough to buy in the first place, then hoping they don't redeem the voucher (which I'm sure usually happens only a week or so out from the actual validity date of the voucher. So just like craigslist "you're likely to get stuck with it never selling".

    Another thing that won't work is when the campaign requires the customer to be a "new customer only" in which case the person buying this "coupon of a coupon" won't be able to redeem it at the merchant and then have the cycle of contacting "coupflip" customer support (if they have this service) and then finding out they have to contact LivingSocial or Groupons customer service to receive original conditions based on the original voucher.