Monday, May 6, 2013

Be careful with Groupon

Groupon, and similar social media coupon sites (such as LivingSocial, Scoutmob, and many hyper-local sites) have become all the rage - generally, the sites work in a similar matter: consumers receive emails from the site promoting some deal on a good, service, vacation, etc. - these deals are generally good values (although not always) and usually have built-in expiration days and conditions.

These sites can be great for the customers, and arguably  help businesses drive new customers to them or get rid of surplus stock/rooms, etc.  It's natural, then, that attorneys (especially those handling consumer type cases) might consider signing up.

Be careful.  Unlike cloud computing, where you have a general consensus on the ethics; when it comes to "deal of the day" sites, you have sharp breaks.

New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina have found attorney use of the sites permissible.  Arizona and Indiana haven't said they are impermissible in toto, but impose significant restrictions.  Alabama, on its end, says they are totally impermissible.

So be careful and use common sense.  If the particular deal site you're considering requires pre-purchase (like Groupon) you may have more problems then if it's just a simple coupon.