If “Groupons” are gift certificates, there’s a daily deals site in Chicago that may run into some trouble in Connecticut, where it’s unlawful for gift certificates to have expiration dates. When consumers buy Groupon’s deals, there’s typically a months-long timeframe in which they have to use the offer – otherwise it’s an empty purchase.
“It appears that what Groupon, Inc. sells or offers may fall within the definition of a gift certificate under Connecticut law,” Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said in a written statement yesterday. “I have not prejudged Groupon or reached any conclusions. I am hopeful that any issues can be resolved through discussion and cooperation.”
Groupon put out a response, saying the company would help “him and his team understand our business model as it relates to the many Connecticut merchants and consumers who use our service.”
The development underscores a couple of items.
First, it’s a little unclear to most people what exactly a “Groupon” is. Is it a for-me gift certificate, a coupon, or the term Groupon, LivingSocial and other daily deals players prefer, a “voucher”?
Second, the Connecticut Attorney General’s office isn’t afraid to challenge business practices of web-based companies.
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