Ever bought an online deal, only to have it expire before you can use it?
It's incredibly frustrating, but in accordance with recent ruling, it's also against the law. A class action suit was brought against Groupon, and the courts found that the some of the expiration dates on their deals are illegal.
Groupon will pay a settlement of $8.5 million and will allow some expired Groupons to be redeemed for their original value.
If You Have an Expired Groupon ...
If you're in possession of an expired Groupon that you purchased before December 1, 2011, you've been given a second chance. Because Groupon was found to be in violation of consumer protection laws, no more than 10% of its coupons over the next three years will have an expiration date less than 30 days after its issue. Gizmodo reports that you can redeem your no-longer-expired Groupons in the usual way, by scheduling your appointment or outing and presenting the coupon to the company offering the deal.
(But before buying your next one, consider: Is it really a smart purchase?)
It's also worth mentioning that even deals that remain expired are still worth the purchase price, which has always been the Groupon policy. For example, if you pay $20 for $50 worth of artisanal cheeses, you will still have the $20 you already spent to spend on Gouda when the coupon expires.
More Trouble for Groupon
The lawsuit has brought a lot of attention to Groupon, which The Wall Street Journal reports may soon be investigated by the SEC. The SEC is currently conducting an unofficial preliminary investigation into the company's finances. Groupon had revised its finances twice before its IPO in November of 2011 (more on that here), and announced that not enough money had been set aside for customer refunds.
We can only hope that the original daily deal site will check out with the SEC ... at the very least, until we've gotten our artisanal cheese.