Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tippr: It Gets Worse

If you haven't read it, last week I skewered Tippr for some bad UX that kind of rode the line between thoughtless and willfully malicious; whether that user experience was bad accidentally or purposefully was a tough call. (If you haven't read it, you should. It's kind of necessary. We'll wait. [/elevator music]) Today, I finally got the email saying that my Tippr voucher was ready, and I'm ready to pick a side.

Before I explain, let's do a little mental exercise. If you've already closed the previous post or haven't opened it yet, open it up in a new tab/window and take a good look at the first picture of the Tacos Guaymas deal. Now imagine that you are buying it. What are you getting? What are you expecting to be delivered to you? How are you expecting to be able to use it?

Now look at this image of the resulting voucher download link:

So far so good, right? When you click on the (partially redacted and kind of hard to find even when it isn't) vouchers link, what do you expect to get? Really think about it: when you print this thing out, what's it going to look like? Get a picture in your head. Got it?


Was this it?

Probably not, right? I know I was surprised. I was fully expecting to get one voucher for $22. Neither the page selling the deal, the email receipt of the deal, the email informing me the voucher was ready, nor the voucher preview page at all prepared me for the fact that I'd be getting one voucher for $20 and one voucher for $2, which is quite a bit less useful than one for $22 and, by the way, can't be used together. Plus, now that I know the original deal value and the difference between that and the "tipped" value are issued as separate vouchers, withholding the original $20 voucher for 5 days makes absolutely no sense at all.

I believe this to be a purposeful bait-and-switch (there are many more grievous examples of the bait-and-switch dark pattern, but this still qualifies.) Why didn't they tell people right up front they'd be getting two coupons? I suspect it's because they thought fewer people would buy it if they knew it was split up that way - and they're probably right.

As a guy who believes in math and statistics, I try not to shirk a business just because I've had a bad experience. One bad experience doesn't necessarily mean that every experience will be bad, after all. But I I'm done with Tippr, especially since Groupon and LivingSocial offer deals that are just as good and don't pull this kind of stuff. The sad part is, the actual deal is really great, and even the way they decided to split up the coupons isn't really that big a deal. The big deal is that they misled me every step of the way: before I laid money down, there was no indication that I'd have to wait 5 days to use what I bought; after I realized I had to wait, there was no way to back out and get my money back; and there was no way for me to have anticipated what it was they were eventually going to give me. All of that just makes me completely unwilling to trust them with my money again. So, goodbye, Tippr. I hardly knew ye.

P.S. Hah. I can't delete my account. I can't even zero out most of the personal information. Awesome. I can unsubscribe from the email deals, but that's about it. Brb, I have to go wash the sleeze off my hands now.

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