Living Social: answers to questions about credits, returns and more

I recently emailed Living Social‘s customer service regarding a question I had, and thought I’d take a minute to share the answer to that question along with some more info about their program.

I contacted them because I had purchased the deal to Barracuda Bazaar using Deal Bucks (referral credits), making the voucher free (well, free until I factor in the self-employement taxes I’ll be paying on it because it counts as business income, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The total that was to be charged to my debit card, which is required to be on file at Living Social, was $0.00; however, when I logged on to my bank account, I saw that they had authorized my debit card $20 for that purchase!

I emailed their customer service right away and was told this:

When you purchase your deal, your bank immediately places an ‘authorization’ for the full list price (no credits or Deal Bucks applied) of the deal on your account.  This confirms that you have the credit line or funds available if using a debit card, to make the purchase.

If you make multiple purchases of the same deal or change/edit your credit card while making your purchase, you may see multiple authorizations on your account.

When the ‘charge’ is processed, any credits due (Deal Bucks, referrals, etc…) are applied and the ‘reduced’ price is what actually gets charged to your account.  Following the successful completion of the purchase, the ‘authorization’ is removed from your account leaving only the one line item for your purchase.

Now, ultimately, it turns out fine.  But, I’m not a fan of the way they do it because depending on how your credit/debit card is set up, it could lock up funds even while it’s only “authorized” and not charged.

I understand why they do it this way: for instance, they do the deal where if you buy it and refer three of your friends who also buy it, the deal is free for you.  So, they would need to wait until the next day to do all that reconciling to see if your friends bought it, but of course they need to know whether or not you actually have money in your account.

Anyway, I’m still a little bit annoyed by it, as Groupon does not authorize your credit card when you make a purchase with referral credits and it seems like they should figure out a way to do it similarly, but that’s how it works and I wanted to let you know!

More helpful tips about Living Social

  • You can cancel a deal purchase up to 5 days after the purchase
  • Your voucher will be delivered after the deal is completely over.  If a deal lasts 3 days (a few do), you won’t get your voucher until the end of that deal.
  • You can refer friends via your special referral link (like this one!).  They’ll get a $5 bonus for signing up, and when they make their first purchase, you’ll also get a $5 credit added to your account.

What do you think about Living Social’s deals?  I think they’re my favorite site behind Groupon, aside from the minor annoyance above.



  1. Update: Living Social just sent me a message on twitter and said the issue has been fixed. I tweeted them yesterday and mentioned the issue; sounds like they listened!

  2. I like Living Social- I bought a promo code to see Little Fockers- we were able to get 1 tickets free cause of the sign up deal bucks and pay $5 for the other- so me and my hubby get a $5 movie tonight as part of our date!!! They did charge $10 in my account while it was pending, but it only ended up taking out the $5. Didnt really bother me since it only showed pending. Obviously if for some reason they ended up taking out the $10 it would have been a hassle and annoying, but I suppose we take that chance anytime we order anything online.

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