Groupon deceptive gift certificates

March 24, 2011

Groupon helps arrange group discounts. You’ve probably heard of the website, and maybe you’ve been able to get an amazing deal.

But maybe there was an expiration date for taking advantage of that deal.

Legally, because you paid, up front, for the privilege of getting the deal, Groupon cannot call this a “coupon.” State and federal law are clear that this is a true “gift certificate.” A coupon can have an expiration – but a gift certificate cannot.

The idea is that with a gift certificate, you have already paid for goods or services, so no profit should be made simply because you have not been able to use it yet. A coupon is more like an invitation to buy, so no harm is done to a consumer if you don’t use it within a certain time period.

Lawsuits are already being filed by people who have not been able to get a refund from groupon when the deal was about to expire. ¬†Prentiss Cox, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, who was interviewed stated “It looks like a new company that really didn’t do its homework.” Groupon knew, or should have known, about the prohibition against an expiration date for the deals it offers.

If you have been left without a refund or the ability to use your deal, you may want to contact an attorney to discuss your options. The deceptive trade practice means that your attorney’s fees may have be paid by Groupon.

Three day revocation period for consumer contracts in Missouri

December 31, 2010

Many people have heard that you get 3-days to cancel a contract. Unfortunately, for most deals, including vehicles, that is not true. There is no law in Missouri thatyour purchase.  automatically allows a 3-day cooling off period to reconsider.

But Missouri does have some consumer contracts that are subject to a 3-day revocation period:

  • Agreements with a licensed public adjuster (for owners of damaged property), section 325.050 R.S.Mo.
  • Health Spa contracts, or health spa services paid in advance, section 407.330 R.S.Mo.
  • Purchase of time share properties (5-day period), section 407.620 R.S.Mo.
  • Credit service organization (like consumer reporting agencies or companies that claim they can improve your credit) services, section 407.642 R.S.Mo.
  • Club memberships (like cooperative purchasers or discount buying groups), section 407.672 R.S.Mo.
  • Purchases made from the home or based on solicitation at your home, section 407.700 R.S.Mo. and 16 CFR 429.1
  • Services from a foreclosure consultant, section 407.937 R.S.Mo.
  • Travel Club memberships or the purchase of discounted travel benefits, section 407.1249 R.S.Mo.

These types of contracts and purchases may not be made that often, but they also represent some of the highest-pressure situations.

While Missouri does not include vehicle purchases – that does not mean there are no avenues to revoking acceptance of a vehicle. Depending on the facts of your situation, there might be alternative ways to get rid of the car or truck you no longer want.

Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Ford recalls

October 31, 2010

Suzuki, Mitsubishi, and Ford all announced recalls for several defects.

Suzuki is recalling the most vehicles – 70,000 SX4 – for side mirrors that can come loos and fall off.

Mitsubishi is recalling over 20,000 Endeavor SUVs for nonfunctionable defrosters.

Ford’s recall affects some 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers with malfunctioning liftgates.

The significance isn’t the severity of the recalls, but the fact that manufacturers acknowledged the defects and moved to correct them quickly.

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