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Groupon settles in coupon expiration case

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SALT LAKE CITY — Users of the popular Groupon website are receiving emails from the company, but those emails have nothing to do about getting a great deal.

It's about a class-action lawsuit that Groupon has agreed to settle, and subscribers might be eligible to a part of the settlement. The site allows users to get coupons for discounts on everything from energy drinks to Las Vegas getaways.

Now, Groupon has agreed to a $8.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit, dealing with claims that coupons expired too quickly, or had to be used in a single visit. The suit claims federal laws require gift cards and certificates be valid for at least five years.

The lawsuit covers coupons in the period between November 1, 2008 and December 1, 2011. The case, filed in a California court, is likely to be finalized by this summer.

Utah's Division of Consumer Protection hasn't received any complaints from Groupon users. According to Utah Division of Consumer Protection Director Traci Gunderson, the law in Utah says that a gift certificate can expire as long as the expiration date is disclosed to the recipient of it.

But if there is no disclosure about the expiration date, it is safe to assume the certificate does not expire. Be sure to read the small print, and if you suspect your purchase is not being honored, the state will investigate. Complaints may be submitted through the state consumer protection agency.

Though Groupon has agreed to the settlement amount, a judge must still approve it, which should take place in late July.

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Keith McCord


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