Minnesota Man Sues Groupon Over Expiration Dates

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Groupon Inc., an online provider of daily e-mails offering deals on everything from restaurants to dance lessons, was sued Tuesday by a Minnesota man who alleges the expiration dates on the company’s discounts are deceptive and illegal.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis said federal and state laws prohibit companies from selling or issuing gift certificates with expiration dates.

The suit says Chicago-based Groupon and its retail partners issue their daily deals knowing many customers won’t use them before they expire, and “many consumers are left with nothing, despite already having paid for the particular service or product.”

“Accordingly, Groupon and its retail partners reap a substantial windfall from the sale of gift certificates that are not redeemed before expiration,” the lawsuit said.

Groupon spokeswoman Julie Mossler said the company never comments on litigation.

After settling a lawsuit in Chicago last year, the company said in a blog post that when a Groupon gift certificate expires, customers can still redeem it for the amount they paid for it. For example, if a consumer pays $20 for a Groupon that offers $40 worth of food at a restaurant, the customer can still redeem the Groupon for $20 after it expires.

Under Groupon’s terms of service, if a merchant refuses to redeem the voucher for its cash value, the company will either refund the money or give users a Groupon credit.

The lawsuit filed by Brian Zard of Richfield seeks class-action status. It asks for unspecified damages, including full refunds, and a court order preventing Groupon from issuing discounts with expiration dates. It estimates the amount of money at issue is more than $5 million.

Groupon started in 2008 and more than 50 million people signed up to receive its daily e-mails as of January, according to the company’s website.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Seriously? says:

    Here’s another example of WCCO not doing their homework… if they had, they could have mentioned that this lawsuit will go nowhere, seeing as Groupon certificates are good for the purchased value after the expiration date. The only thing that expires is the discount that one purchases. For example, if you purchase a $50 gift certificate for $25, it still holds it’s $25 after the expiration date. All that required was looking at the FAQ on Groupon’s website! http://www.groupon.com/faq

    1. Jon says:

      Are you a groupon employee and part time lawyer? Me neither….We live in Minnesota and gift cards do not expire here plain and simple. If I pay 25.00 for a 50.00 loaded card it better be loaded at 50.00 in 2014 that is how the law is written regardless what a website faq says. Sounds like you are mad at the news but not the person suing your company. Well all the drama will unfold and things always work out for the better. I do not see this going very far either.

    2. THAT-Guy says:

      “After settling a lawsuit in Chicago last year, the company said in a blog post that when a Groupon gift certificate expires, customers can still redeem it for the amount they paid for it. For example, if a consumer pays $20 for a Groupon that offers $40 worth of food at a restaurant, the customer can still redeem the Groupon for $20 after it expires.”

      Yep, was written in their article…..READ, DUMMY.

      1. Kristin says:

        The point being THAT-Guy is that Groupon must honor the gift certificates original value of $40, not the $20 that was paid for it. That is Minnesota law.

  2. Sue says:

    What’s not to love about Groupon? It’s optional folks, and they are very up-front about what you pay and what you get. It’s a great way for small businesses to expand their exposure.

  3. joel says:

    Groupon killed my father.

  4. MK says:

    This guy is an idiot. Groupon does not sell gift certificates. They sell coupons. By law, coupons MUST have an expiration date! Nice try. If Groupon is too difficult for him to figure out and use within its allotted time, maybe he should just NOT BUY ANY. This country is filled with too many idiots.

    1. Chantelle Knick says:

      Um. I receive coupons often that have NO expiration date. Does that mean that the companies that send them to me are breaking the law? And as far as this law suit goes…it’s ridiculous. Find out when it expires, and if you’re not going to use it before then, don’t buy it! If you do buy it, then pay attention or don’t complain when you forget to use it in time.

  5. GroopThink says:

    Do you pay for a coupon? Do you pay for a gift certificate? What law provides that a coupon must have an expiration date? Think MK. Think.

  6. sesme says:

    Frivolous lawsuits cost ALL of us money.

  7. against lawyers says:

    I agree. If people would spend half the time keeping their skills up to date as they do looking for ways to milk the system we would all be better off. The only ones getting rich from these frivolous lawsuits are trial lawyers. Shame on them for destroying this country.

  8. nancy says:

    Frivolous lawsuits are what is wrong with this country.

    Brian can get the original value (the gift certificate), but not the coupon value.

    Does Kellogs, Kleenex or FritoLay honor expiration dates on “coupons”

    Groupon should counter sue Brian ZARD!!

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