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Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Question about the "daily deal" vouchers such as groupons,

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Question about the "daily deal" vouchers such as groupons, living social, gilt city. Most of these say that after the expiration date of the "deal" you can still use the paid value. For example, if you pay $20 for something and the deal is you get $40 worth of merchandise. If the voucher expiration date goes by, you can still use the voucher to get $20 worth of merchandise (the paid amount).

I am wondering what the Massachusetts laws are around the certainly and duration of being able to use your paid amount. I believe gift cards have to be valid for 3 years, does your paid value of these deals have to be accepted for a certain period? Is it up to the daily-deal company or does Mass law govern it?


LADY LAWYER : Hello! I am happy to provide you with legal information today! Please give me a moment to review your question and to answer you.
LADY LAWYER : Under Massachusetts law, your voucher is a gift certificate. (Specifically, the law states: 255.1: "A gift certificate shall include... any other medium that evidences the giving of consideration in exchange for the right to redeem the certificate, electronic card or other medium for goods, food, services... of at least an equal value." According to Massachusetts law, a gift certificate may not lose value due to dormancy (MGL §266.75D). In particular, see Massachusetts 266.75D: "Whoever sells or offers to sell a gift certificate, as defined in section 1 of chapter 255D, which imposes dormancy fees, latency fees, administrative fees, periodic fees, service fees or other fees that have the effect of reducing the total value amount for which the holder may redeem such gift certificate, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300 per violation". Thus, the reduction in value is not permissible.

Thank you for the information on gift cards. Is there any doubt that a "daily deal voucher" is considered a gift card? I don't see mention of an expiration date for the gift card, does it never expire?

LADY LAWYER : It is a gift certificate, not a gift card. The law differentiates for whatever reason. But no, that is what MA law considers it. The law provides that a gift certificate cannot expire for 7 years. You can see the old laws and new laws by comparison, here:
LADY LAWYER : If there is no expiration date anywhere, then there is a good argument that it would not expire.
LADY LAWYER : Did you have any further questions I can help you with? I am about to sign off for the evening :)

Sorry to disappear, got called away. Thanks so very much for your help

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