PointofLaw.com
 Subscribe Subscribe   Find us on Twitter Follow POL on Twitter  
   
 
   

 

 

Groupon class action settlement: when is $8.5 million not $8.5 million?

| 2 Comments


There was a lot of publicity about the "$8.5 million" Groupon will pay to settle a class action over expiration dates; several class members complained about the settlement to me, mostly because they viewed the lawsuit as silly. (So did Groupon, before their lawyers made them take down the original blog post criticizing the first of the many class actions brought against them.)

But the settlement is even worse than it looks. Before the settlement, if a Groupon customer had a problem with a Groupon, they contacted customer service, indicated dissatisfaction, and got a full cash refund.

After the settlement, if a Groupon customer has a problem with a Groupon that they purchased during the class period, they contact customer service, and customer service refers them to the class action settlement website, where they can fill out a claim form; after several months (and perhaps years), the class action settlement administrator will give the class member a pro rata share of the settlement fund—which, though the publicity says is $8.5 million, less than $6 million of it will be likely available to the class.

In other words, the class action attorneys have negotiated a settlement that makes their clients—who had suffered no damages because of the availability of refunds—worse off, and are asking for millions of dollars for their efforts.

I discovered this the hard way: I purchased a Groupon Voucher for a restaurant that closed, and tried to get my money back from Groupon. They told me to file a claim form. Fortunately, when I suggested that this was subpar customer service, they gave me a credit—which goes to show further that this is not a marginal benefit to the class of $8.5 million, but a change in accounting entries to rationalize a $2.125 million request for attorneys' fees.

Today I filed an objection. The case is In re: Groupon, Inc., Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 3:11-md-2238-DMS-RBB (S.D. Cal.), and the fairness hearing is scheduled for September 7. Lead class counsel is Robbins Geller.

2 Comments

I think I support the idea of these consumer class action lawsuits although it just seems like more and more we are seeing cases that just benefit the lawyers. Besides from people like you running around filing objections (and driving everyone crazy I'm sure), I can't figure out what we should do to distinguish between the good cases and the not so good cases.

Hey, just remember that plaintiffs' lawyers have yacht payments, too.

Leave a comment

Once submitted, the comment will first be reviewed by our editors and is not guaranteed to be published. Point of Law editors reserve the right to edit, delete, move, or mark as spam any and all comments. They also have the right to block access to any one or group from commenting or from the entire blog. A comment which does not add to the conversation, runs of on an inappropriate tangent, or kills the conversation may be edited, moved, or deleted.

The views and opinions of those providing comments are those of the author of the comment alone, and even if allowed onto the site do not reflect the opinions of Point of Law bloggers or the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research or any employee thereof. Comments submitted to Point of Law are the sole responsibility of their authors, and the author will take full responsibility for the comment, including any asserted liability for defamation or any other cause of action, and neither the Manhattan Institute nor its insurance carriers will assume responsibility for the comment merely because the Institute has provided the forum for its posting.

Related Entries:

 

 


Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.