Groupon received another thorn in its side this week when the government of Alberta initiated an investigation into the company’s business. Alberta is determining how to treat Groupon’s expiration date policy, and some of their ideas seem a bit odd.
Almost all the coupons sold by Groupon have expiration dates. Alberta believes that the expirations dates may break the province’s consumer protection law. Based on the fact that the deal offered by Groupon expires, the company provides a full refund to the purchaser. By Alberta laws, this isn’t good enough. The government wants Groupon to repay its clients the face value of the card — not the purchase price of the card.
This is loony because someone could purchase the voucher and wait past the expiration date, and then collect more money than what they paid for the voucher. Still, if users decide they want the special deal, they should take advantage of that deal. But Alberta’s law is off the wall and clearly not fair to the business owners offering the deal. Refunds for face value are understandable.
Companies like Groupon offer a great service to businesses by bringing in customers to business. Both the consumer and the business are happy with the savings. If Alberta enforces this law on Groupon, then businesses will not work with Groupon or other daily deal companies. Basically, it will hurt business in the province.