Groupon Singled Out in Lawsuit

Man claims Chicago-based website offers illegal gift certificates

By Lacey McCraney
|  Wednesday, Mar 2, 2011  |  Updated 8:00 AM CDT
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Chicago-based website Groupon is being sued by a man who claims the site is offering coupons with illegal expiration dates.

Groupon 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.

Eli R. Johnson filed a lawsuit in federal court earlier this week, according to the Sun-Times.

Johnson says he bought a gift certificate last August to WhirlyBall, an amusement center, through Groupon.

The website advertised the deal was good for 30 minutes of play for up to 10 people for $55. When he received the gift certificate, it showed an expiration date of February 16, but did not show an issuance date.

Johnson claims that goes against the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which prohibits the sale of gift certificates with expiration dates of less than five years.

WhirlyBall is also named on the lawsuit as a defendant.

When asked about the lawsuit, a Groupon spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending legal action.

Earlier this year, Groupon was lampooned for a TV ad aired during the Super Bowl. The commercial has since been withdrawn.

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