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Groupola ceases to offer its own deals

Website is now an affiliate for other deal sites

Groupola, the group buying website recently criticised by the OFT for its misleading Apple iPhone 4 sale, is no longer offering its own deals.

A spokesperson for Markco Media, Groupola’s parent company, confirmed Groupola’s new status. ‘Groupola is no longer operating independently,’ he said.

‘Groupola is now working as an affiliate for a number of other deal websites, such as Groupon.’

The spokesperson denied the firm’s new status had anything to do with criticism it generated when it heavily promoted the sale of the handsets in July last year.

At the time, the website said it was selling the handsets at a knockdown price of £99 when the iPhone 4 was being sold elsewhere for £499.

See how Apple’s iPhone 4 fared in Which’s extensive tests 

The demand was so great that its website froze, leading to complaints from frustrated customers who could not access the sale. It later transpired that Groupola only had eight handsets to sell, despite claiming during the sale that it had sold 202.

In March this year, the Office of Fair Trading took enforcement action against Markco Media after it found that Groupola used bait pricing to ‘entice customers to join Groupola and sign up to receive daily email alerts from the company’.

Nearly 15,000 people signed up and registered with Groupola for the sale.

‘It is because of the lack of uptake in the UK’, he explained. ‘The UK has not taken to group buying in the same way that the US has.

‘So it made sense for Markco Media to concentrate on other business developments across other Markco Media companies and services,’ he said.

He said that Markco Media’s involvement with Groupola was now minimal and added: ‘Markco Media is re-focusing on its voucher code business, MyVoucherCodes.’

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