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(TwinCities.com)   Expired car wash certificate? Obviously that's worth $5 million   (twincities.com) divider line 131
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20433 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Feb 2012 at 4:17 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-02-18 12:10:17 AM
In what bizarro world is a car wash token a "Gift Certificate"?

Why the hell buys a car wash but doesn't use it there and then? This is like ordering a Latte at Starbucks, paying for it and then walking out and coming back 37 days later and saying you want your coffee now. Or buying a ticket at a cinema and then trying to use it 37 days later.
Frankly I always assumed those vouchers had to be used in an hour or so.
 
2012-02-18 12:18:34 AM

Flint Ironstag: In what bizarro world is a car wash token a "Gift Certificate"?

Why the hell buys a car wash but doesn't use it there and then? This is like ordering a Latte at Starbucks, paying for it and then walking out and coming back 37 days later and saying you want your coffee now. Or buying a ticket at a cinema and then trying to use it 37 days later.
Frankly I always assumed those vouchers had to be used in an hour or so.


images.wikia.com
 
2012-02-18 12:35:20 AM
If it is posted as the policy when you buy, I don't think they have a case
 
2012-02-18 02:01:33 AM
i229.photobucket.com
 
2012-02-18 04:23:06 AM
So, if I buy food today and leave it on the counter for 37 days and then eat it, and then get violently ill, I can sue? Am I doing this right?
 
2012-02-18 04:29:29 AM

Hector Remarkable: [i229.photobucket.com image 440x337]


Well, let's see...

Car wash voucher: pre-payment for goods or services in the form of a coupon or voucher that can be redeemed by the purchaser or any other person for said goods or services.

Gift certificate: pre-payment for goods or services in the form of a coupon or voucher that can be redeemed by the purchaser or any other person for said goods or services.

I guess that's up to the court to decide.
 
2012-02-18 04:32:49 AM

FatalDischarge: So, if I buy food today and leave it on the counter for 37 days and then eat it, and then get violently ill, I can sue? Am I doing this right?


States have consumer protection laws. The attorney is alleging that BP violated Minnesota's consumer protection laws. Your analogy is terrible.

Also, it doesn't really matter what you agree to when you purchase the token if it violates Minnesota law. That would make it an illegal contract, thus voiding it, or at least the provisions that violate Minnesota law.
 
2012-02-18 04:34:18 AM
Gotta Love California where gift certificates/card don't expire.
What I think is a scam here in Cali, if you pay at the pump when you're finished it sometimes ask "would you like a car wash... 16oz coke...etc. if you're not paying attention & think it's asking do you want a receipt you press yes, then yes again thinking the first yes didn't take BOOM you drive off without getting the extra item you just paid for.

/vouchers aren't gift certificates
 
2012-02-18 04:42:23 AM
Yeesh. So torn. I detest frivolous lawsuits like this one clearly is, but even though it's caused by people not reading the policy, I hate even more to see big companies profiting off of people and providing nothing. If you think for a minute they're not counting on people doing exactly what this woman did... and a voucher is similar enough to a gift certificate that the law should cover it... I don't know, ideally I'd like to see neither the company nor the idiots who didn't check the date have the money...
 
2012-02-18 04:43:51 AM
What's their legal definition of a gift certificate, though? The question this lawsuit will bring is whether or not the car wash receipt meets the criteria. Wouldn't both be considered prepaid vouchers that could be redeemed later by a customer for services from the vendor?
 
2012-02-18 04:50:15 AM
All down to the definition of 'gift certificate'. I agree with buckler above as to definitions (you don't have to give it to someone else to make it a gift, you can self-gift). If the law agrees with those definitions then BP is going to lose this.

Of course, only the lawyers will win regardless of how it settles
 
2012-02-18 04:51:11 AM
Those damn, frugal, Norwegians.
 
2012-02-18 04:52:35 AM
Johnson just wants her $12 back, but her lawyer, Shawn Wanta, said this kind of situation has happened to so many Minnesota consumers that it merits a class-action suit asking for damages of more than $5 million.

Think I found the problem here....
 
2012-02-18 05:06:31 AM

The Sybarite: All down to the definition of 'gift certificate'. I agree with buckler above as to definitions (you don't have to give it to someone else to make it a gift, you can self-gift). If the law agrees with those definitions then BP is going to lose this.


A gift certificate is something that says "gift certificate" on the top.
 
2012-02-18 05:11:23 AM

midnite_farker: Johnson just wants her $12 back, but her lawyer, Shawn Wanta, said this kind of situation has happened to so many Minnesota consumers that it merits a class-action suit asking for damages of more than $5 million.

Think I found the problem here....


Sometimes, I think the reason that aliens won't initiate first contact with us is because they're afraid of our lawyers.
 
2012-02-18 05:13:28 AM

Phoenix_M: Gotta Love California where gift certificates/card don't expire.
What I think is a scam here in Cali, if you pay at the pump when you're finished it sometimes ask "would you like a car wash... 16oz coke...etc. if you're not paying attention & think it's asking do you want a receipt you press yes, then yes again thinking the first yes didn't take BOOM you drive off without getting the extra item you just paid for.

/vouchers aren't gift certificates


Live in California, pay for gas, never witessed this.

Not trying to be an asshole. Just never had it happen.

I do wish they would not ask me for a car wash though. I am always worried after if I would forgot to press no and the next guy will be an asshole and say 'yes' for me.

Hey! Free car wash!
 
2012-02-18 05:14:32 AM
since the gulf BP no longer gets my money
dollar votes are the only real vote we have
 
2012-02-18 05:14:57 AM
Those rechargeable Starbucks cards are considered gift certificates in Connecticut.
I am in the side that these are gift certificates.
 
2012-02-18 05:17:45 AM

roothog: The Sybarite: All down to the definition of 'gift certificate'. I agree with buckler above as to definitions (you don't have to give it to someone else to make it a gift, you can self-gift). If the law agrees with those definitions then BP is going to lose this.

A gift certificate is something that says "gift certificate" on the top.


LOL, no it isn't. I've been given plenty of gift certificates and gift cards that said nothing of the sort on them. They were still subject to California law (where I live) that requires them to have no expiration date.
 
2012-02-18 05:17:52 AM
More responsibility displacement claptrap. If it says "valid for 30 days" it's your responsibility to use it within the specified time period. You snooze, you lose.
Also, surely if it is clearly stated that the car wash voucher is only valid for 30 days, by purchasing the voucher you have entered into a contract and accept the published terms of that contract.
Also, who waits over a month from when they wanted to wash their car to actually wash it?
 
2012-02-18 05:20:19 AM

roothog: The Sybarite: All down to the definition of 'gift certificate'. I agree with buckler above as to definitions (you don't have to give it to someone else to make it a gift, you can self-gift). If the law agrees with those definitions then BP is going to lose this.

A gift certificate is something that says "gift certificate" on the top.


That's convenient. I'll take all my Aunt Betty's recipe cards and write "Gift Certificate" at the top, and specify a vendor and value. PROFIT!!
 
2012-02-18 05:20:24 AM

roothog: The Sybarite: All down to the definition of 'gift certificate'. I agree with buckler above as to definitions (you don't have to give it to someone else to make it a gift, you can self-gift). If the law agrees with those definitions then BP is going to lose this.

A gift certificate is something that says "gift certificate" on the top.


Link (new window)

"Upfront payment in exchange for a certificate or card, which can be redeemed later for goods or services by the holder."

Hope you're not a lawyer there, buddy boy.
 
2012-02-18 05:26:57 AM

roothog: The Sybarite: All down to the definition of 'gift certificate'. I agree with buckler above as to definitions (you don't have to give it to someone else to make it a gift, you can self-gift). If the law agrees with those definitions then BP is going to lose this.

A gift certificate is something that says "gift certificate" on the top.


We found BP's lawyer...

hippyneil: More responsibility displacement claptrap. If it says "valid for 30 days" it's your responsibility to use it within the specified time period. You snooze, you lose.
Also, surely if it is clearly stated that the car wash voucher is only valid for 30 days, by purchasing the voucher you have entered into a contract and accept the published terms of that contract.
Also, who waits over a month from when they wanted to wash their car to actually wash it?


I would agree but this is Beach Polluter...
 
2012-02-18 05:28:27 AM

batcookie: Yeesh. So torn. I detest frivolous lawsuits like this one clearly is, but even though it's caused by people not reading the policy, I hate even more to see big companies profiting off of people and providing nothing. If you think for a minute they're not counting on people doing exactly what this woman did... and a voucher is similar enough to a gift certificate that the law should cover it... I don't know, ideally I'd like to see neither the company nor the idiots who didn't check the date have the money...


And that's what will happen with a class action lawsuit... The lawyers will get millions, the people actually affected will get pennies, probably just another car wash certificate...
 
2012-02-18 05:33:33 AM

Arcturus72: batcookie: Yeesh. So torn. I detest frivolous lawsuits like this one clearly is, but even though it's caused by people not reading the policy, I hate even more to see big companies profiting off of people and providing nothing. If you think for a minute they're not counting on people doing exactly what this woman did... and a voucher is similar enough to a gift certificate that the law should cover it... I don't know, ideally I'd like to see neither the company nor the idiots who didn't check the date have the money...

And that's what will happen with a class action lawsuit... The lawyers will get millions, the people actually affected will get pennies, probably just another car wash certificate...


Yeah, and that's no better.... *sigh* no winning here, really. Unless we wait till it's over and then kill all the lawyers involved, which is something I advocate anyway. Shakespeare had it right.
 
2012-02-18 05:50:06 AM
This "Arab Spring" thing is getting a little extreme.
 
2012-02-18 05:54:58 AM
So she bought something with known restrictions and knowingly didn't adhere to the restrictions and now she's complaining that it isn't fair. Go hump a cactus, twunt.
 
2012-02-18 06:04:13 AM
I think the difference is that a gift certificate is for a certain amount of money that can be used to purchase goods at the going rate versus a voucher for something that may go up in price at any time. Ergo, the 30 day expiration.

1: give her the car wash and another one free as a sign of good will.
2: kick the lawyer in the gonads. repeatedly.
3: repeat step two.
 
2012-02-18 06:09:42 AM
Denny Crane wouldn't settle for no piddly $5 mil.....
 
2012-02-18 06:17:48 AM

Sudlow: I think the difference is that a gift certificate is for a certain amount of money that can be used to purchase goods at the going rate versus a voucher for something that may go up in price at any time. Ergo, the 30 day expiration.

1: give her the car wash and another one free as a sign of good will.
2: kick the lawyer in the gonads. repeatedly.
3: repeat step two.


The question seems to hinge on "what is a gift certificate?" So, LMGTFY (new window, first entry, 325G.53 GIFT CERTIFICATES):

"Gift certificate" means a tangible record evidencing a promise, made for consideration, by the seller or issuer of the record that goods or services will be provided to the owner of the record to the value shown in the record and includes, but is not limited to, a gift card, stored-value card, store card, or a similar record or card that contains a microprocessor chip, magnetic stripe, or other means for the storage of information, and for which the value is decreased upon each use.

Seems pretty clear to me; there is a promise (*you'll get a car wash,") there's consideration ("here's $5," or whatever), and the goods or services are to be provided at a later date (they're not asking for payment as you exit the wash, and it's not an instant-on coin wash), and there's a record of the payment (the receipt and code) where the value decreases after use (it goes from being worth 1 car wash to being worth nothing).

Yeah, $5 mill seems a bit much, but then again, that's the minimum that a lawsuit has to be in order to qualify for class action in Minnesota, if I read the original article correctly. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it's successful, if someone doesn't file a similar suit in federal court against the big chain gas stations for the same reason, as 30 days is the standard length of time that the code is valid, but federal law is 5 years minimum.
 
2012-02-18 06:18:10 AM

midnite_farker: Johnson just wants her $12 back, but her lawyer, Shawn Wanta, said this kind of situation has happened to so many Minnesota consumers that it merits a class-action suit asking for damages of more than $5 million.

Think I found the problem here....


Why would she even contact a lawyer unless she wanted more than $12?

Also, I think the lawyer is vastly overestimating how long people hold on to these things. If everyone who had let their car wash expire in the past 5 years were paid treble damages I expect the total would still be small enough to be handled in small claims court.
 
2012-02-18 06:19:40 AM

thelordofcheese: So she bought something with known restrictions and knowingly didn't adhere to the restrictions and now she's complaining that it isn't fair.


No, her lawyer is complaining that the restrictions are illegal and therefore it was never possible for her to agree to them in the first place. That may or may not be true in this case, but it's well-established that the government can forbid certain types of contracts, or certain terms or provisions in contracts, and that any contracts counter to those restrictions are not valid even if both parties consented.
 
2012-02-18 06:19:40 AM
One also has to remember, that it's very rarely about what is "right". In a jury trial it's simply about convincing 12 citizens that you're correct. And as has been stated before, I don't know the state laws, but any contract which violates state laws could be invalid, (assuming everything has taken place in one state.) You could put the words "Valid for 30 days" on as many CA gift certificates as you'd like, but it won't really matter a tick. That all being said, If I'm BP, I shut this down quickly with ten free car washes for the woman and call it a day.
 
2012-02-18 06:23:56 AM
Oh man, you mean if my ex shows up with one of my "Good for an hour-long footrub" or "Good for one banging where I'm NOT thinking about your sister" coupons I made her I STILL have to honor it?

Damn you, St. Valentine!
 
2012-02-18 06:28:32 AM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Oh man, you mean if my ex shows up with one of my "Good for an hour-long footrub" or "Good for one banging where I'm NOT thinking about your sister" coupons I made her I STILL have to honor it?


She'd probably only be able to collect monetary damages -- it's fairly rare for a court to order specific performance, particularly for personal services. So unless you're a high-priced masseur or gigolo you're probably safe.
 
2012-02-18 06:33:39 AM

Happy Hours: Why would she even contact a lawyer unless she wanted more than $12?


Now that I think about it I think it's quite likely the lawyer "created" his client. He got the idea and found a woman willing to play the wronged consumer.

It was probably this guy:

www.imcdb.org
 
2012-02-18 06:35:42 AM
Did the car wash lose her pants?
 
2012-02-18 06:45:35 AM
Tallman
"The question seems to hinge on "what is a gift certificate?"

I just hope we can all agree on kicking the lawyer in the gonads. If not for filing the lawsuit, then just for fun.
 
2012-02-18 06:53:56 AM

Sudlow: I just hope we can all agree on kicking the lawyer in the gonads. If not for filing the lawsuit, then just for fun.


Absolutely; that should be a filing requirement for every class-action lawsuit. Plus another kick for each 1% of the award/settlement retained by the lawyers. Kicks to be administered by any member of the covered class, at a time of that member's choosing, without prior notice (subject to approval by the slap-bet commissioner).
 
2012-02-18 07:00:37 AM
At first I was all OUTRAGE, how could the lawyer file such an obviously frivolous suit.

Then I read his points, and I OUTRAGED, how dare BP rip people off!
 
2012-02-18 07:04:12 AM

midnite_farker: Johnson just wants her $12 back, but her lawyer, Shawn Wanta, said this kind of situation has happened to so many Minnesota consumers that it merits a class-action suit asking for damages of more than $5 million.

Think I found the problem here....


I agree, she just wants her $12 back, it is the LAWYER that wants to file a class action suit for $5 million (which translates to $4 million for law firm, $1 million for thousands of people)
 
2012-02-18 07:30:48 AM

Tallman: Sudlow: I think the difference is that a gift certificate is for a certain amount of money that can be used to purchase goods at the going rate versus a voucher for something that may go up in price at any time. Ergo, the 30 day expiration.

1: give her the car wash and another one free as a sign of good will.
2: kick the lawyer in the gonads. repeatedly.
3: repeat step two.

The question seems to hinge on "what is a gift certificate?" So, LMGTFY (new window, first entry, 325G.53 GIFT CERTIFICATES):

"Gift certificate" means a tangible record evidencing a promise, made for consideration, by the seller or issuer of the record that goods or services will be provided to the owner of the record to the value shown in the record and includes, but is not limited to, a gift card, stored-value card, store card, or a similar record or card that contains a microprocessor chip, magnetic stripe, or other means for the storage of information, and for which the value is decreased upon each use.

Seems pretty clear to me; there is a promise (*you'll get a car wash,") there's consideration ("here's $5," or whatever), and the goods or services are to be provided at a later date (they're not asking for payment as you exit the wash, and it's not an instant-on coin wash), and there's a record of the payment (the receipt and code) where the value decreases after use (it goes from being worth 1 car wash to being worth nothing).


By that definition ordering a Starbucks would qualify. Promise? Check. Consideration? Check. Goods provided later? Check. Record of payment? Check.

So could you go into a Starbucks, order a latte, pay, then get bored of the queue (what happened here) and leave only to return 37 days later and demand your coffee.

The intention of the voucher is not to enable to purchaser to take up the service at a later date, the intention, and I'd say 99% of uses in practice, is to pay and use it there and then. Just as Starbucks make you pay then move to another counter to collect it is simply a way to take payment inside the gas station for a service provided outside.

If the station offered a "Buy ten washes for $20" deal then clearly the intention would be to use them over a period of time. A single use, not the case.

Hell in CA many station make you pay for your gas before allowing you to pump. Could you pay but drive away and return 37 days later to collect?
 
2012-02-18 07:43:41 AM
Better call Saul.
 
2012-02-18 07:48:25 AM
Don't hate the lawyer, he's generating income for his company, which will translate into additional jobs. That is what capitalism is all about.
 
2012-02-18 07:56:45 AM
I'm certain that the franchisee is the one that operates the car wash, not BP. If the receipt says that it expires in 30 days it doesn't mean that it expires every 30 days on the 30th day.

If she and the farkers that are okay with this suit can't understand the terms printed on the receipt, then perhaps you should wash your own car.

Also, if you pay $12 for a gas station auto car wash, you obviously hate money, anyway.
 
2012-02-18 07:56:59 AM
So now gas stations will have to pull any carwash additions from the pump, meaning any discounts you may get for buying them together will have to go away. You'll have to pay for you carwash at the time you go in.

Why? I don't think the machines were designed to hold five years (or in CA's case, an indefinite length of time) worth of codes yet still be random enough to prevent theft. The ones around my neck of the woods only have 100k unique numbers.
 
2012-02-18 08:06:37 AM

thelordofcheese: So she bought something with known restrictions and knowingly didn't adhere to the restrictions and now she's complaining that it isn't fair. Go hump a cactus, twunt.


Or, we could turn that around: a company sold something with restrictions illegal under state AND federal law, and is now sorry they got caught.

Unless you're one of those people who think only individuals have to obey the laws, not corporations...

If you are, I've got some toxic waste I'd like to dump in your drinking water. It'll create jobs for the guys I hire to drive the tanker trucks, after all.
 
2012-02-18 08:12:02 AM
The real issue here is government regulation, isn't it? Contracts are agreements between individuals. Why is the government dictating the terms of this contract? Next they'll be trying to make it illegal to buy and sell children.
 
2012-02-18 08:38:41 AM

Happy Hours: Happy Hours: Why would she even contact a lawyer unless she wanted more than $12?

Now that I think about it I think it's quite likely the lawyer "created" his client. He got the idea and found a woman willing to play the wronged consumer.

It was probably this guy:

[www.imcdb.org image 640x360]


Did she have to be at the car wash in 26 minutes?
 
2012-02-18 08:44:40 AM
The very fact that you people are even discussing the validity of this case is what's wrong with the world today.
 
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