The Metropolitan Museum of Art has offered an $18 admission voucher on the social deals site Groupon, a seeming continuation of their longstanding tendency to mislead New Yorkers about the official “price” of admission. Though the museum is required by law to allow free admission, the institution has been criticized for obscuring this fact. The “recommended” ticket price is $25, but as two ongoing lawsuits allege, the Met is “deceptive” about the fee, pushing it on patrons as the price of entry rather than a voluntary donation.
Gothamist spoke about the Groupon with attorney Arnold Weiss, who represents the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits, and he reiterated the charge that this was “highly deceptive advertising.”
Dubious deals are increasingly the norm for the struggling coterie of social sale sites like Groupon and Livingsocial, once perceived as the future of retail but now just the latest victims of the insatiable startup hype machine. We particularly like the final sentence of fine print, which notes: “Admission tickets are required at time of admission or standard recommended Museum entrance fees and conditions apply.” Caveat emptor — if you lose your $18 Groupon, you might have to pay nothing!