Groupon Offers Large Settlement for Gift-Card Expiration Lawsuits
If you’re subscribed to Groupon, or have bought at least one in the past several years, you’re probably going to get an e-mail about a class-action lawsuit regarding the expiration dates on the company’s daily deals (if you haven’t already). The site has offered a settlement to customers who filed the individual suits alleging unlawful and undisclosed expiration dates or restrictions on when the daily deals could be redeemed.
A total of 17 Groupon subscribers filed individual lawsuits against the company over the past few years, alleging (among other things) that Groupon imposed illegal and undisclosed deal restrictions, for instance, a “must use gift certificate in one visit”, that violates most gift-card regulations. For example, a federal law exists that makes it illegal to sell gift cards that expire short of five years, reports CNNMoney.
All 17 individual lawsuits were consolidated into one class-action suit by a California judge last year, and is expected to rule on Groupon’s proposed settlement of $8.5 million in July. Remember when I asked if you’ve ever bought a Groupon before? If you get that e-mail, you can file a claim until July 6th, so long as you purchased it between November 2008 and December 2011, and get a piece of that settlement for yourself.
Not much. The original 17 plaintiffs who first filed the lawsuit against Groupon stand to gain a paltry $500 each with the rest to be divided between latent Groupon claimants minus the large chunk of change the lawyers will walk away with (as is the case with most class-action suits). Still, there’s a hypothetical $6.3 million to be divided between Groupon subscribers, but that number is in the millions itself – 34 million subscribers during the claim period, to be exact.
According to the Sun Times, Groupon will also be offering a voucher that can be redeemed for (up to) the original price with the merchant involved in the claim. If that voucher can’t be honored for whatever reason, Groupon will allow for a second claim and a subsequent refund check. Groupon has pledged to re-work its language to make deal lengths more understandable.