Consumer Confidential: Groupon is watching, diet-product warning, free Slurpees
--Groupon is watching you. The deal site is changing its privacy policies to allow it to collect more information as it offers more deals targeted to users based on their locations. The company announced the changes in an email to its 83 million subscribers, saying the new policies are part of an effort to provide greater transparency about the way it handles private information about users. The announcement comes as the company seeks to go public and on the heels of its launch of Groupon Now, a mobile service that provides instant deals based on a user's location. "In short, if you use a Groupon mobile app and you allow sharing through your device, Groupon may collect geo-location information from the device and use it for marketing deals to you," the company said. The company also broadened its definition of "personal information" to include "interests and habits," and said a partnership that provides travel deals with Expedia means that personal information can be shared with the travel site if users subscribe to receive travel deals.
--Heads up: The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers not to purchase or use "Slim Forte Slimming Capsules," "Slim Forte Slimming Coffee" and "Botanical Slimming Soft Gel," products for weight loss sold on various websites and distributed by InterCharm Inc. FDA laboratory analysis found that the products contain sibutramine, a controlled substance that was removed from the U.S. market in October 2010 for safety reasons. Sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and pulse rates in some patients, and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia or stroke. The products may also interact in life-threatening ways with other medications a consumer may be taking. The FDA says you should throw these things away immediately.
--Whoo-hoo! It's Free Slurpee Day! Our friends at 7-Eleven plan to give away 5 million free Slurpees to customers. Each free drink will come in a 7.11-oz. cup (get it?). The 9th annual "7-Eleven Day" marks the chain's 84th birthday. The first 7-Eleven opened in 1927 when an employee of an ice company near Dallas started selling bread, milk, and eggs on an ice dock. Other Slurpee milestones listed on the chain's website include the coining of the name "Slurpee" in 1967, introduction of a Slurpee lip balm in 1998 and the invention of an edible Slurpee straw in 2004. And for those who experience brain freeze, 7-Eleven says all you have to do is press your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
-- David Lazarus
Photo: Get 'em while they're cold -- it's Free Slurpee Day. Credit: Larry Crowe / Associated Press