Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a lawsuit against Giviton, LLC, a now-defunct Columbus business that sold deal vouchers to consumers.
In the lawsuit, the Attorney General charges the business with failure to deliver and seeks restitution for consumers.
“Consumers paid in full for deals they were never able to redeem,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We attempted to resolve the issues out of court, but the business failed to comply with the agreed terms. We are taking action to try to recover money for consumers and to prevent this from happening again.”
Giviton sold vouchers on its website, Giviton.com, for deals such as paying $10 for $20 worth of services at a local business. To access the vouchers after purchase, consumers could immediately print the coupons or go back to the website to access the vouchers through their accounts.
In July 2013, Giviton’s website shut down, and consumers who had paid in full complained that they could no longer access their vouchers. Other consumers complained that their vouchers were not honored by local businesses because of alleged disputes between Giviton and the local businesses.
At least 32 consumers filed complaints with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or the Better Business Bureau disputing more than $4,000 total.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit charges Giviton with violating the Consumer Sales Practices Act by accepting money from consumers for goods and permitting eight weeks to elapse without providing the goods or issuing full refunds. In the lawsuit, the Attorney General seeks restitution for consumers, an injunction to stop further violations, and civil penalties.
To protect themselves, consumers should take the following precautions:
Check businesses’ reputations by searching for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
Think carefully before paying for deal vouchers or similar offers.
If you do purchase a deal, use it quickly. If the deal website or the local business later shuts down, it likely will be difficult to recover your money.
Read the fine print. Look for any expiration dates or other restrictions.
Keep records of your purchases. This will help you dispute the charges with your credit card company or bank if something goes wrong.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
A copy of the lawsuit is available on the Ohio Attorney General's website.