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GolfNow's SHADY Business Model

 GolfNowIsTheWorst ·  
GolfNowIsTheWorstGolfNowIsTheWorst Members  4WRX Points: 5Posts: 4 Starters
Joined:  edited Sep 6, 2019 in Courses, Memberships and Travel #1

Hello WRX'ers,
I'm not one to post any negativity, especially a complaint on a message board. However the experience I had with GolfNow must be shared with you all. I want you all to be aware of how SHADY GolfNow is. I took a 10-year hiatus from golf and decided to book my first round back, my Birthday round, on GolfNow. On 9/3 I booked a 4-some "Hot Tee" time for this Sunday 9/8. However due to an unfortunate circumstance (dad getting sick) I cancelled the reservation online yesterday. This morning I received an email from GolfNow stating "Hot Deals and transaction fees can only be refunded if the course is closed", so I called customer service to explain my situation and asked if I can get credit in lieu of a refund, because eventually we were still planning on playing a round, just not this Sunday. The customer service rep states that "Hot Deals" were non-refundable. OK, no biggie, I'll just take my reservation that I had already paid for. Now this is when things get REALLY SHADY. The rep then proceeds to tell me that my cancelled reservation was removed from their "Tee Sheet" and that she wouldn't be able to give me back my original reservation that I had ALREADY PAID for. And that if I wanted that same tee time I could go back on their site, rebook it and pay for it again...

WHAT? GO BACK ON YOUR SITE, REBOOK & REPAY??? FOR THE SAME TEE TIME?? BUT YOU WONT GIVE ME BACK MY ORIGINAL RESERVATION?? HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE???

As you can tell, I'm pretty pissed off. What kind of logic is this??! This is by far the WORST customer service I've ever experienced!!

Then as a consolation she offers to send me a few "promo codes" to play on future rounds...
M-THURS after Noon. Only valid on Hot Deals.

Are you kidding me??! Never booking through them again!!

Posted:
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Comments

  • Downtown_Brown_41Downtown_Brown_41 AlabamaMembers  668WRX Points: 171Handicap: 4Posts: 668 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Sep 6, 2019 #2

    I don’t like them either. I received a gift card from them and i can’t use the card on tee times, just the fee’s they charge. The only tee times is pays for us hot deals so it really has no use to me

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  • GolfNowIsTheWorstGolfNowIsTheWorst Members  4WRX Points: 5Posts: 4 Starters
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    "I suggest you talk to management."
    I tried, they wouldn't budge - NO refund, NO credit, NO tee time. So now I'm out $220...They did offer me a pity "promo code" tho

    Posted:
  • FEUOFEUO LaSalle, OntarioMembers  268WRX Points: 73Posts: 268 Greens
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    Its not shady if its laid out in their stipulations of hot deals. Sorry to say that by not reading them or understanding them you are out the $. It sucks and it has happened to me with certain hotel and flight deals.
    Just gotta read the fine print and know what the outcome of cancellations is.

    Posted:
  • GolfNowIsTheWorstGolfNowIsTheWorst Members  4WRX Points: 5Posts: 4 Starters
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    "further, i know you're upset - but 'i'm not one to post about negativity' ? you created the name today, a minute before your first post - with the screen name 'golfnowistheworst'..."

    Yes I know, I'm typically a lurker. But I was so infuriated to the extent I needed to warn my fellow WRXers...Please allow me this once

    Posted:
  • ArtMBgolfArtMBgolf Members  573WRX Points: 126Handicap: 8Posts: 573 Golden Tee
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    If the policy is no refund on a canceled Hot Deal, then you can accept that.
    Not booking your tee time again after you canceled it is bad service. Maybe the rep just didn't know how to reinstate your tee time or has to get a manager to do it. Ask again.

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  • DonatelloNobodieDonatelloNobodie Members  187WRX Points: 92Handicap: 5Posts: 187 Fairways
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    That's the risk trade-off on GolfNow hot deal bookings. On one hand, you get a great price. On the other, if you have to cancel or one of your group no-shows, you're out the money.
    Agreed that tee GolfNow (and Teetime) customer service is bad. It will eventually cost them. Try challenging the charge with your credit card company. That worked for me. Depends on how the customer service is with your credit card company.
    Even weather-related cancellations can get contentious.

    Posted:
  • tideridertiderider Members  3178WRX Points: 2,197Handicap: 5ishPosts: 3,178 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #9

    Posted:
  • DrOldSchoolDrOldSchool Noblesville, INMembers  760WRX Points: 376Handicap: 6Posts: 760 Golden Tee
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    They're pretty clear in the fine print about no refunds - unless you are a VIP member. Call them back and ask them to make you one for the $220 you spent - that's about what it costs anyway. They'll probably say no, but it can't hurt to ask.

    Would think if it's your first booking with them they'd be a little more lenient than a promo code, but their customer service has skyrocketed downhill the last few years, and it wasn't great to start with.

    Posted:
  • storm319storm319 USMembers  4446WRX Points: 580Posts: 4,446 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @DrOldSchool said:

    They're pretty clear in the fine print about no refunds - unless you are a VIP member. Call them back and ask them to make you one for the $220 you spent - that's about what it costs anyway. They'll probably say no, but it can't hurt to ask.

    Would think if it's your first booking with them they'd be a little more lenient than a promo code, but their customer service has skyrocketed downhill the last few years, and it wasn't great to start with.

    I didn’t know it was possible to skyrocket downhill ;)

    To the OP, I know it sucks in this day in age where Amazon will take any return, but Keep in mind that hot deals are GolfNow’s primary source of revenue and being ultimately owned by Comcast should be an indication as to why they are primarily focused on revenue. Reading the fine print is the big lesson here but I would recommend accepting the promo code because even with the restrictions it is not a complete loss.

    One thing to note is their biggest competitor TeeOff (formerly EZLinks) allows for refundable cancelations less a $2 fee.

    Posted:
  • FadeFade Members  1396WRX Points: 282Posts: 1,396 Platinum Tees
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    Interesting, so there is no point (for the consumer) to cancelling a hot deal, other than allowing GN to sell it again?

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  • airjammerairjammer Members  1357WRX Points: 345Handicap: 4.2Posts: 1,357 Platinum Tees
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    Can you call your credit card company to dispute the charges?

    Posted:
  • Hack DaddyHack Daddy Members  1111WRX Points: 349Posts: 1,111 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @airjammer said:

    Can you call your credit card company to dispute the charges?

    I know hot deals are non-refundable. That being said, one time I had a legitimate, serious emergency, and I couldn't make the tee time.

    Disputed the charge with Amex. Full refund.

    But I'm religious about making sure everyone can make a hot deal tee time. They are no joke about the non-refundable part, lol.

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  • airjammerairjammer Members  1357WRX Points: 345Handicap: 4.2Posts: 1,357 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @Hack Daddy said:

    On -, @airjammer said:

    Can you call your credit card company to dispute the charges?

    I know hot deals are non-refundable. That being said, one time I had a legitimate, serious emergency, and I couldn't make the tee time.

    Disputed the charge with Amex. Full refund.

    But I'm religious about making sure everyone can make a hot deal tee time. They are no joke about the non-refundable part, lol.

    Exactly...in this case since they won’t reinstate his original tee time they didn’t provide anything for the money he paid. If the website allows you to cancel a hot deal tee time imo all he should be out is a booking fee. Ideally golfnow shouldn’t make hot deals cancelable at all. They should say “only cancelable by the course”.

    Posted:
  • SuperbritSuperbrit Members  664WRX Points: 182Posts: 664 Golden Tee
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    It says non refundable but you cancelled anyway without speaking to them first?

    Errrr yeah totally there fault

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  • PoserPoser Members  1782WRX Points: 139Handicap: +1Posts: 1,782 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Sep 9, 2019 #17

    They've changed their rules so many times as well. They now give you "free Rounds" that you can only use during the full moon 3pm-310pm Monday - Thursday on leap years. I never do hotdeals anymore just for this reason and the rewards program is a joke and pointless. I rarley use it anymore

    Posted:
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  • Hack DaddyHack Daddy Members  1111WRX Points: 349Posts: 1,111 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @Poser said:

    They've changed their rules so many times as well. They now give you "free Rounds" that you can only use during the full moon 3pm-310pm Monday - Thursday on leap years. I never do hotdeals anymore just for this reason and the rewards program is a joke and pointless. I rarley use it anymore

    Works okay for me and I'm non vip member. My buddy and I took a half-day off work and played using our promos. What's great now, is they allow you to stack them. We played a $90 green fee course... FREE.

    Golf now sucks if you don't want to understand the stipulations. It's great if you can navigate the minefield.

    I will say, though, they will run into one problem that's unsolvable- more and more, courses are making hot deals at 12:01, 12:03, etc. So the options to use promo codes is dwindling. when that becomes standard practice, I foresee I sharp decline in people using golf now.

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  • GSDriverGSDriver Members  1102WRX Points: 265Handicap: 3 to 4Posts: 1,102 Platinum Tees
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    Gave up on GolfNow years ago. Great when started, as more competitors arose and since NBC bought GolfChannel, went further downhill than thought was possible.
    Hot Deals are a unique one, if in terms & conditions, you might just be stuck.
    Best feedback is with you wallet, just don't use them anymore...worked for me.

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  • diablocrusherdiablocrusher Members  199WRX Points: 109Handicap: 6.5Posts: 199 Fairways
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    GolfNow was a great resource for tee times years ago but over the past 4 or 5 years or so they've become almost obsolete. As others have mentioned, competition from other sites and courses pretty much dropping GolfNow has added to their demise.
    I talked with an owner of a course a few years ago about GolfNow and he told me his course and others in the area have gotten rid of GolfNow because they were essentially the middle man between the golfer and the course. He said to me, why should he pay GolfNow a fee for discounted tee times when he can offer those same times and prices himself on their web site.
    He said more than once he ran into issues where a 4 some had come into the clubhouse to pay for their round, they booked through GolfNow so they got a discounted tee time. Then while all 4 guys were paying there was another 4 some behind them ready to pay for their round. The 2nd group booked through the course and had to pay full price - when it was their turn to pay they started asking why did that group pay less than us. He then had to explain to them GolfNow etc. etc. and essentially came to the conclusion it was more of a headache than it was worth.

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  • Hack DaddyHack Daddy Members  1111WRX Points: 349Posts: 1,111 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @diablocrusher said:

    GolfNow was a great resource for tee times years ago but over the past 4 or 5 years or so they've become almost obsolete. As others have mentioned, competition from other sites and courses pretty much dropping GolfNow has added to their demise.
    I talked with an owner of a course a few years ago about GolfNow and he told me his course and others in the area have gotten rid of GolfNow because they were essentially the middle man between the golfer and the course. He said to me, why should he pay GolfNow a fee for discounted tee times when he can offer those same times and prices himself on their web site.
    He said more than once he ran into issues where a 4 some had come into the clubhouse to pay for their round, they booked through GolfNow so they got a discounted tee time. Then while all 4 guys were paying there was another 4 some behind them ready to pay for their round. The 2nd group booked through the course and had to pay full price - when it was their turn to pay they started asking why did that group pay less than us. He then had to explain to them GolfNow etc. etc. and essentially came to the conclusion it was more of a headache than it was worth.

    But most courses DON'T offer the same rate as GN. That's the issue. The guy you talked to is the exception, not the rule. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten, "Well, book through GN, then.", when attempting to book through the course...

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  • diablocrusherdiablocrusher Members  199WRX Points: 109Handicap: 6.5Posts: 199 Fairways
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    On -, @Hack Daddy said:

    On -, @diablocrusher said:

    GolfNow was a great resource for tee times years ago but over the past 4 or 5 years or so they've become almost obsolete. As others have mentioned, competition from other sites and courses pretty much dropping GolfNow has added to their demise.
    I talked with an owner of a course a few years ago about GolfNow and he told me his course and others in the area have gotten rid of GolfNow because they were essentially the middle man between the golfer and the course. He said to me, why should he pay GolfNow a fee for discounted tee times when he can offer those same times and prices himself on their web site.
    He said more than once he ran into issues where a 4 some had come into the clubhouse to pay for their round, they booked through GolfNow so they got a discounted tee time. Then while all 4 guys were paying there was another 4 some behind them ready to pay for their round. The 2nd group booked through the course and had to pay full price - when it was their turn to pay they started asking why did that group pay less than us. He then had to explain to them GolfNow etc. etc. and essentially came to the conclusion it was more of a headache than it was worth.

    But most courses DON'T offer the same rate as GN. That's the issue. The guy you talked to is the exception, not the rule. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten, "Well, book through GN, then.", when attempting to book through the course...

    Yes, I would agree with you there - most courses do not offer the same times and prices GolfNow does.
    I've never done this myself but I've heard of plenty of others who saw a tee time on GolfNow then called the course to ask if they would honer the same time and price. More often than not, the course will say yes because then they don't have to pay GolfNow their fee. If they are going to lose money on tee times during slow periods of the day then why not take the loss yourself while not having to give GolfNow their cut.

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  • Hack DaddyHack Daddy Members  1111WRX Points: 349Posts: 1,111 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @diablocrusher said:

    On -, @Hack Daddy said:

    On -, @diablocrusher said:

    GolfNow was a great resource for tee times years ago but over the past 4 or 5 years or so they've become almost obsolete. As others have mentioned, competition from other sites and courses pretty much dropping GolfNow has added to their demise.
    I talked with an owner of a course a few years ago about GolfNow and he told me his course and others in the area have gotten rid of GolfNow because they were essentially the middle man between the golfer and the course. He said to me, why should he pay GolfNow a fee for discounted tee times when he can offer those same times and prices himself on their web site.
    He said more than once he ran into issues where a 4 some had come into the clubhouse to pay for their round, they booked through GolfNow so they got a discounted tee time. Then while all 4 guys were paying there was another 4 some behind them ready to pay for their round. The 2nd group booked through the course and had to pay full price - when it was their turn to pay they started asking why did that group pay less than us. He then had to explain to them GolfNow etc. etc. and essentially came to the conclusion it was more of a headache than it was worth.

    But most courses DON'T offer the same rate as GN. That's the issue. The guy you talked to is the exception, not the rule. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten, "Well, book through GN, then.", when attempting to book through the course...

    Yes, I would agree with you there - most courses do not offer the same times and prices GolfNow does.
    I've never done this myself but I've heard of plenty of others who saw a tee time on GolfNow then called the course to ask if they would honer the same time and price. More often than not, the course will say yes because then they don't have to pay GolfNow their fee. If they are going to lose money on tee times during slow periods of the day then why not take the loss yourself while not having to give GolfNow their cut.

    GN doesn't make a cut on a hot deal - they get the whole thing. The course has to offer so many hot deals to GN per month. Option two would be to pay a monthly fee. So, a single hot deal tee time honored by a course would be of no benefit to the course. No if it were a NON hot deal, that's a different story. But I'm only playing hot deals, so ymmv.

    Posted:
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  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members  2621WRX Points: 1,039Posts: 2,621 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @diablocrusher said:

    GolfNow was a great resource for tee times years ago but over the past 4 or 5 years or so they've become almost obsolete. As others have mentioned, competition from other sites and courses pretty much dropping GolfNow has added to their demise.
    I talked with an owner of a course a few years ago about GolfNow and he told me his course and others in the area have gotten rid of GolfNow because they were essentially the middle man between the golfer and the course. He said to me, why should he pay GolfNow a fee for discounted tee times when he can offer those same times and prices himself on their web site.
    He said more than once he ran into issues where a 4 some had come into the clubhouse to pay for their round, they booked through GolfNow so they got a discounted tee time. Then while all 4 guys were paying there was another 4 some behind them ready to pay for their round. The 2nd group booked through the course and had to pay full price - when it was their turn to pay they started asking why did that group pay less than us. He then had to explain to them GolfNow etc. etc. and essentially came to the conclusion it was more of a headache than it was worth.

    Dynamic pricing for you. It absolutely is a headache. I hate to use the word victim but I have been in the place of the guys in the second foursome. I found a golfnow price and took that to mean the tee sheet was open so I went on down to the course only to pay full rack rate.

    I think you are better off to just charge what you need to charge to cover a round of golf and don't offer any discounts, provided you are doing ok financially. If you are struggling I suppose any revenue is better than none.

    Posted:
  • macedanmacedan Members  423WRX Points: 131Handicap: 18Posts: 423 Greens
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    On -, @gioguy21 said:

    this my friends is why you read the fine print when getting a 'hot deal' tee time.

    further, i know you're upset - but 'i'm not one to post about negativity' ? you created the name today, a minute before your first post - with the screen name 'golfnowistheworst'...

    Beat me to it

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  • Kevlar10Kevlar10 Members  109WRX Points: 61Handicap: 13Posts: 109 Fairways
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    GolfNow used to be so much better but they have been buying out the competition and forcing exclusivity contracts on some courses. I spoke with one pro shop that refuses to do business with them because of this. A few years ago, I booked a hot deal at a local course and the course booked the tee time to another foursome. We showed up and the pro shop told us the time was already booked. I called GolfNow and they booked us another time that was 40 minutes later, which wasn’t a big deal. While we were playing, they sent me an email with a voucher for a free foursome any course anytime they had a listed tee time. We actually played a round at a course that was three times the cost of the round that I originally booked. That was unexpected and very good customer service. Unfortunately, now their customer service is horrible. I’ve found that you can book tee times at the same courses for the same price as GolfNow and you can usually can cancel up to 24 hours prior with no penalty or fee. I’ve even cancelled the day of and got full credit towards a different tee time.

    Posted:
  • 2bGood2bGood Members  5592WRX Points: 830Handicap: 3-8Posts: 5,592 Titanium Tees
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    Can't say I have a big issue with this. Sure they could have done better trying to keep you happy, but they did not do ANYTHING shady.

    Posted:
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  • GolfNowIsTheWorstGolfNowIsTheWorst Members  4WRX Points: 5Posts: 4 Starters
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    Fade said:
    Interesting, so there is no point (for the consumer) to cancelling a hot deal, other than allowing GN to sell it again

    My exact thoughts, why even provide a "Cancel" option if you can't get credit or a rain check?? Seems VERY grey-area to me...

    Posted:
  • CMCSGolfCMCSGolf Members  649WRX Points: 166Posts: 649 Golden Tee
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    On -, @GolfNowIsTheWorst said:

    Fade said:
    Interesting, so there is no point (for the consumer) to cancelling a hot deal, other than allowing GN to sell it again

    My exact thoughts, why even provide a "Cancel" option if you can't get credit or a rain check?? Seems VERY grey-area to me...

    From a purely economic perspective, cancelling it allows for the best economic situation. If you cancel (and don't get your money back), you're in the same spot as you would have been - Paid money and still not golfing. Golfnow is in a better position because they get the same money and the potential to make more by selling it again. Thirdly, a new golfer is better off because they are now able to book the round that you the first golfer would have skipped (but still paid for).

    I fully agree that the first golfer has no incentive to cancel under the current rules, but if they did, the situation would probably be better in aggregate. The ideal situation is giving some money back if golfnow is able to resell the tee time, but they don't really have much of an incentive to do that. As they say, caveat emptor.

    Posted:
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