CBS 5 Advocate

Amounts paid to LivingSocial don't expire with deals

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Phoenix woman says deal website LivingSocial isn't handling expired coupons as advertised and failed to deliver her a credit when a business changed ownership.

A big benefit to deal websites like LivingSocial is that if you fail to use your deal voucher by the deadline, you don't lose your money. You can apply what you paid for it to future purchases. But things can get tricky when the voucher is for a business that changes ownership.

"Someone is pocketing my money," Erica Peterson said.

Back in 2015, Peterson bought a deal on LivingSocial for a hip hotel in Central California. She and her husband had six months to use the $233 vouchers, but with a new baby, it was a struggle.

"I really tried to use it within that amount of time but I just really couldn't pull the trigger," Peterson said.

She wasn't worried about letting the voucher expire and missing the deal. She believed her $233 was protected by LivingSocial.

"Because the amount I paid toward the voucher, that I paid to LivingSocial, I thought I could use at a later date and time," Peterson said.

It even says as much on the voucher. It says "paid value does not expire." But when she contacted the hotel a year later to apply her credit, they told her they had changed ownership and weren't accepting the vouchers. She got more bad news from LivingSocial.

"They just said it's the policy that since there was a change in ownership, they weren't able to provide any sort of refund or credit," Peterson said.

Peterson understood that a change in ownership meant she couldn't use her paid value at the hotel, but she says it's unfair that she couldn't use it on some other LivingSocial deal. After all, isn't that what "does not expire" means?

"If I knew that was, in fact, the circumstances, then I would have really made sure that I actually booked the family vacation and took advantage of the money that I paid," Peterson said.

CBS 5 News discussed this case with LivingSocial and it turns out a mistake had been made; the paid value 'does not expire', just as it states on the vouchers, for five full years.

If the business won't accept the amount paid to LivingSocial after the promotional value ends, for any reason, LivingSocial typically gives customers a credit toward another deal.

LivingSocial apologized to Peterson and not only put the full credit into her account, but some extra value as well for her inconvenience. Our thanks to LivingSocial for acknowledging the error and for making things right.

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