Online coupon site Groupon.com now finds itself the subject of a lawsuit claiming the expiration dates on its deals violate existing gift card laws regarding expiration dates.
A man in Illinois filed the lawsuit after buying a Groupon deal in August that expired on Feb. 16 before he had a chance to use it. Under Illinois law, gift cards must keep their value for at least five years. He is now seeking unspecified financial damages.
“The company is deliberately misleading consumers to believe that there is, in fact, an expiration date when there is not or cannot be,” the lawyer behind the lawsuit says.
Consumerist recently asked this very question about expiration dates to Chicago-based Groupon. At the time, a rep for the company replied:
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.
So even though the company is not commenting on this specific lawsuit, we’re guessing that its defense is that, while the deal has expired, the plaintiff can get his $55 back from the issuing company.