Deal Busted: LivingSocial Discount Comes With Lots of Exceptions - TheStreet

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Of all the deals you’ll find on group-buying and daily deal sites, none are more popular than the national deals, which typically provide a 50% discount off a national retail chain or website. Last year LivingSocial sold a deal offering $20 worth of groceries at Whole Foods for $10, ultimately selling 1 million of the deals in just 14 hours. A similar offer from Amazon Local earlier this week, in which customers could get $10 Amazon gift cards for $5, was likewise a barnburner – the company tells us that Amazon sold out 1 million gift cards in a little more than 17 hours. Clearly, these sorts of deals are winners for daily deal sites.

So we were excited this morning when we saw what looked like a similar national deal on LivingSocial which offered $20 credit at Overstock.com for just $10. While Overstock’s selection can’t match Amazon’s, the prices are competitive and you can usually find what you’re looking for there. The deal will last another 13 days, and the credit expires July 5.

But this is a case where the fine print all but kills the deal: The credit can’t be used on books, magazines, music, movies, games, electronics, cars, travel or insurance.

Of course, that does leave a few categories still included – furniture, for instance, plus apparel, jewelry, home décor items and sporting goods. But the exclusion of virtually all entertainment items is going to be a deal-killer for some, and we hope no one buys this deal thinking they can use it to purchase books or get a small discount on a new stereo system.

Overstock is, of course, within its rights to limit the scope of the deal to select product classes. But it should bear in mind that doing so means that its deals won’t be nearly as popular as the Whole Foods and Amazon offers, which had few significant exceptions.

Don't want to spend too much? Check out our Deals & Steals hot topic for more bargains. Don't want to spend anything at all? There's plenty of Free Stuff to be had as well.

Matt Brownell is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at matthew.brownell@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @Brownellorama.