Under Investigation: Groupon, all this time, has been illegal in Alberta

Daily deals giant Groupon, already mired in finance- and reputation-based controvsery, is now under investigation by the Alberta government.

Why? Because it’s illegal there!

Provincial legislation states that gift card regulations put in place in 2008 make it illegal to issue gift cards and vouchers with specific dollar amounts that are capable of expiring. And Groupons expire.

Alberta isn’t alone either—similar laws are in place in every province in Canada.

Groupon’s policy allows customers to redeem expired coupons for purchase price, but Alberta law isn’t so lenient—it needs to be the face value of the product or service. 

The Chicago startup, famously dubbed by Forbes as “the fastest growing company ever,” is now under formal investigation. If it doesn’t comply voluntarily, it could be forced to through a court order or prosecution.

Consumers aren’t happy about expiry dates, but merchants haven’t been complaining—especially with a CBC poll that sees 30% of respondents say they’ve had such a coupon expire and gotten nothing for it.

Many Canadian-born daily deals sites issue vouchers with no expiry date as they are familiar with the nation’s laws and regulations.