Conn. AG probes coupon company

Bryan Cohen Jul. 14, 2011, 5:30pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced on Thursday that he has written a letter to the chief executive of a Chicago-based coupon company for more information about its business practices.

Jepsen is requesting more information from Groupon over concerns that the expiration dates imposed on some discount offers sold to Connecticut consumers may violate state law pertaining to gift certificates. Jepsen asked the company to explain the terms under which "Groupons" are sold to and redeemed by consumers, how much revenue those sales generate in Connecticut, and how frequently expiration dates are imposed on the sale of services and goods at a discount.

"It appears that what Groupon, Inc., sells or offers may fall within the definition of a gift certificate under Connecticut law," Jepsen said.

State law prohibits gift certificates from being sold or issued subject to an expiration date.

"Discounts on goods and services are good for Connecticut consumers, but only if they are getting the benefit of what they are entitled to under Connecticut law," Jepsen said. "I have not prejudged Groupon or reached any conclusions. I am hopeful that any issues can be resolved through discussion and cooperation."

Although many states have laws prohibiting or limiting gift card expirations, Connecticut may be the first state to raise questions about the Groupon sales. Multiple private civil suits have been filed nationally challenging the expiration dates. Groupon was asked to provide the requested information by early next month.

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