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Can I Get Sued Over a Groupon Coupon?

By Jason Beahm on March 03, 2011 8:48 AM

Groupon is big right now. As a business owner, you might be thinking, "I'd like to get some of that sweet Groupon action. But can I get sued over a Groupon coupon?"

A Groupon lawsuit, like anything, is possible. But if you use reasonable precautions, your exposure shouldn't be significant. Plus, if you were served with papers, your attorney would have the option of pointing the finger at Groupon if there were ever such a Groupon lawsuit against your business.

Groupon is a hugely popular new website that offers deals to local businesses, but the coupons only become valid after a certain number of people accept the offer, or sign up and pay for the deal.

Groupon was recently sued in an Illinois federal court by Eli R. Johnson, who said he bought a gift certificate to an amusement center through Groupon, but it expired within months. Johnson contends that such a gift certificate violates the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which prohibits the sale of gift certificates with expiration dates of less than five years, reports. Johnson also sued the amusement center.

There have also been stories of irate customers where business owners refuse or restrict the use of Groupons. Some business owners say that they have no choice, if they allow Groupon use on already discounted items, they will lose money.

If you're going to participate with Groupon, it's best not to have any surprise restrictions for customers if you want to avoid a Groupon lawsuit. You're looking at a possible breach of contract at the least. Not to mention a major loss of goodwill among customers, who will also likely take to sites like Yelp to vent their frustrations. 

If you believe that offering a Groupon with your sale items will cause you to lose money, don't participate, or if you do, consider it a loss leader and don't worry about it. It's likely not worth a Groupon lawsuit.

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