Are Entertainment Book Coupons Still Valid?

entertainment book bankrupt

I received an email from Cara, alerting me that Entertainment Promotions, publisher of the Entertainment Book, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this month (meaning the company will be dissolved; employees have already been laid off; the company’s Facebook page has been deleted).

    *Even though the Entertainment.com website appears to still be selling the books, I wouldn’t purchase one if you haven’t already because of the uncertainty of fulfillment and redemption.

    *This means no future Entertainment books, which is a shame, because I still liked them even with the advent of daily deal sites. The popularity of my Entertainment Book giveaway in January tells me you guys still like them too.

    *More pressing – The current book coupons don’t expire until November 1, 2013. Will businesses still accept the coupons from the 2013 book?

Entertainment has not made any public statement about it that I can find.

Here are my non-legal expertise thoughts:

Merchants join the Entertainment book program for the exposure, which they received when you purchased your book. Entertainment does not owe them any money when you redeem a coupon. Therefore, businesses should still honor the coupons as published.

(Honestly, the small businesses included in the book may not be aware of the bankruptcy unless Entertainment notifies them. The more I have opportunity to interact with small business owners, the more I realize how insanely busy they are – not much spare time to troll the web for news about Entertainment Books.)

But it’s slightly more complicated, because if the business refuses the coupon, you have no recourse.

From Entertainment.com’s frequently asked questions

What should I do if a merchant did not honor/recognize my coupon/card?

In some rare instances (e.g. a business/franchise closing, a merchant decision to opt out of the program after the book publishes, or an unforeseen change in the merchant’s establishment, etc.), a merchant may refuse to honor your discount. Any changes or updates regarding a merchant’s products, discounts or status should be reflected in the online Merchant Hotline, accessible at www.entertainment.com/hotline.

If a merchant that is listed on Entertainment.com did not honor your discount, please contact our Customer Service team to let them know. When completing the customer service form, please provide the name and location of the merchant.

From Terms of Use:

ENTERTAINMENT PUBLICATIONS, LLC, and/or its parent or subsidiaries, will not be responsible if any establishment breaches its contract or refuses to accept the Membership Card/Bonus Card/coupons; however, it will attempt to secure compliance.

With the company no longer operating, there is effectively no enforcement, and therefore no incentive to comply (beyond keeping you as a customer, of course!)

So if an Entertainment Book coupon is the reason you are patronizing a merchant, it is imperative to verify in advance (before purchase, visit, etc.) with the merchant whether they are still honoring Entertainment Book coupons.

Thoughts? Anyone own a business that has participated with Entertainment and know more about the legal ramifications?

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    March 26th, 2013 by