Groupon Sued For Having Short Expirations On Coupons

from the class-action-madness dept

While I'm still not as convinced as some that Groupon really is a sustainable long-term business, it is an interesting one to watch. And, with any massively successful business, it's no surprise that lawsuits -- especially of the class action type -- follow. The latest is that Groupon is being sued for having its deals expire too soon under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. That act does include a provision that gift cards cannot expire for at least five years. So it seems that the basis of this class action is to claim that the deals offered by Groupon are the equivalent of a "gift card," rather than a standard coupon, which can expire in much shorter time frames.

This seems like a pretty big stretch. It's not hard to see that Groupon is much closer to offering a coupon for sale, rather than a gift card. Furthermore, if we just look at the reasoning behind this provision in the law, again, that suggests this lawsuit is frivolous. The idea behind the five year expiry on gift cards is that it's often not entirely clear when those cards expire (they're often not marked) and since they work differently than a coupon (i.e., stored value of some kind, rather than a discount on a particular item) people often hold onto them for much longer. In this case, the expiration date of what's being sold is clearly stated, so comparing it to the situations with gift cards is misguided. The whole thing just seems like yet another attempt by class action lawyers to cash in at the expense of a successful company.
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Filed Under: class action, coupons, expirations, gift cards
Companies: groupon


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  1. icon
    Shawn (profile), 3 Mar 2011 @ 7:24pm

    Groupon's stance on the matter seems fair to me -
    "A Groupon is good until its expiration date; at that time, the merchant will still have to honor what you PAID (NOT face value), for five years or in accordance with state law. It's five years in Illinois, and that's the most strict in the country, so that's what we ask merchants to abide by.

    So if I spend $20 to buy a $40 Groupon for one dozen roses at Flower Shop, when it expires the merchant owes me a $20 credit to their store. They don't have to give it to me in one dozen roses, but they do have to give me a credit (not cash) for what I paid."

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