Musings in light of GroupOn, Gift Cards & Gift Certificates

Groupon, the online couponer, is rolling out some new disclosure ino on its discount vouchers sold nationwide because of questions raised by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepseon about the expiration date printed on GroupOn’s vouchers.

Connecticut has a law that it is illegal to sell gift cards and gift certificates subject to an expiration date.  Under the new GroupOn disclosures, consumers who buy a GroupOn that gives them $50 of merchandise for $25 and services if the items are bought by a certain date, may still redeem the Groupon voucher even if the promotional deal expires for what they paid. In other words, they don’t lose their investment.

And this has me wondering, as we’re about to head into the season where parents of school-aged children are in the market for end-of-year teachers’ gifts, whether there will be any fallout on those types of purchases with other merchants. 

I’ve asked the AG’s Spokeswoman Susan Kinsman for guidance as to what the Connecticut law means for consumers who buy gift certificates from local nail salons, book stores, coffee shops that DO have EXPIRATION DATES printed on them.  Kinsman is of the mind that those expiration dates would be invalid for gift cards bought in Connecticut from Connecticut businesses.  That means, if you have a drawer full of EXPIRED gift cards, gift certificates and vouchers, don’t rip them up so fast thinking you can’t use them.

Email me at if you have had any trouble redeeming these gift cards/gift certificates and include a photocopy of your gift card/gift certificate with the expiration date clearly visible.   Tell me what happened when you attempted to redeem any of your expired gift cards. Please include your name, and a daytime number, which can be a cell, work number or other way I can get in touch with you if I have any further questions.

MariAn Gail Brown