Friday, March 18, 2011

Massachusetts Forces Groupon To Change Deals

The MA Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission has advised Groupon that they may be in violation of the law by giving discounts on alcohol. Many of Groupon's restaurant coupons are good for food and alcoholic beverages. Well, not in MA anymore. Today Groupon sent emails to Massachusetts residents advising them they have changed already purchased deals to exclude adult beverages (mine is below).

MA ABC and Groupon are still in talks, but for now all deals now exclude alcohol. The violation is in part because Groupon receives part of the money from the purchased group coupon. This makes them a beneficial party to a retailer’s alcoholic beverages license, which is unlawful in MA.
Hey everyone,

We are writing to inform you of an important change regarding your Groupon Purchase for Famous Dave's and Partner's Restaurant.

When we first offered this deal, it was advertised as valid for both food and alcohol. We recently received notification from the State of Massachusetts that Groupons cannot be used toward the purchase of alcoholic drinks and beverages, so these Groupons can no longer be used towards alcohol. We have already updated the Fine Print to reflect this. We understand how disappointing it is to make this kind of change to a great deal after it has closed and we are sincerely sorry for any inconvenience this causes. Fortunately, these businesses are still more than happy to honor your Groupon in full for any of the food items on their menus.

Of course, if you would like a refund for your Groupon based on this new information, please email us at and we'll make sure you get your money back. Though we hate it when something like this happens, you can always count on us to have your back and make sure you're getting what you paid for, or a complete refund. If you have already redeemed one of these Groupons or still plan to use it on food, then you do not need to do anything else.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or concerns. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Joe Harrow
Director of Customer Experience
I already used my Famous Dave's Groupon and spent it all on excellent BBQ with no alcohol anyway. I guess I am out of luck for drinks at Partner's because I have not used it yet; no Bloody Mary for me. If it mattered that much to me Groupon has made good by offering full refunds for all unused coupons.