Restaurant ends coupon deal early

May 19, 2008 4:51:57 PM PDT
It was supposed to be a reward for valued customers, but one local restaurant chain has been on damage control ever since a five dollar coupon hit the world wide web.Luby's was offering the deal through the middle of next month. But they ended the offer early, and a lot of people are upset. The $5 off coupon was sent to a limited number of customers, but thousands more got their hands on the coupons and Luby's had to pull the plug on the promotion.

Luby's Cafeteria is a popular spot for many people in the Houston area, it certain has been a favorite of Jack Coursey.

"l go to Luby's two times a week. When I worked, I used to eat at Luby's every day of the week," said Coursey.

So when Coursey heard about a coupon being offered that gave customers five dollars off, he went to the Internet and printed a copy.

"Luby's cashier told me there was a Luby's coupon on the Internet and I went home and of course downloaded some copies," added Cousey.

The first day Coursey used the coupon without a problem. The next day, however, things changed.

"Could not use it, would not take it, they said they had been scammed," Coursey said.

Now Luby's stores have a sign on the front door saying they no longer accept the coupon that had been good until June 15th. So what happened?

According to Luby's corporate officials, the coupon was emailed to a select number of customers. However an Internet link that allowed anyone to print the coupon was picked up by coupon web sites and then the rush was on.

"When I started to get in the door, go in the door, there was a long line to get served," said Coursey.

One customer told us when she came Luby's last week she was given a coupon by a complete stranger, a stranger who had apparently copied dozens and dozens of the coupons.

In a statement Luby's officials said, "...we had to discontinue this offer due to unauthorized reproduction of the coupon. ... It is a shame that some bad apples had to spoil the entire crate for everyone."

Luby's officials say the coupon never appeared on its official website and was only intended for a small number of customers. But University of Houston law professor Richard Alderman says those terms were not printed on the coupon we were given.

"They could have written anything they want on here. The law is clear. Tthey could have put restrictions and they didn't," said Alderman.

Alderman went on to say now that Luby's is publicly ending the promotion, the company is off the hook, but those customers who printed the coupon last week can make a case that they should have been given the discount. However, actually getting the deal could mean going to small claims court and that's a lot of hassle for five bucks.

Luby's says it is giving gift cards to the customers who were supposed to get the discount all along and now can't use it. See Luby's official response to the coupon problem.

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