Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Tale of Woe: Target and the Mobile Coupon

My dear reader, I must share a tale of woe with you. It is a sad tale in that it demonstrates poor customer service and an attitude of not caring sufficiently to correct a mistake. Let me tell you my tale and, no worries, I have visual aids!

Our sad tale begins last night as my husband and I were running errands. We needed to pick up just a couple of things at Target, one of them being sandwich bags. While in the baggie aisle, I saw a shelf sign that said "Text SpringClean1 to 827438 for a coupon to save $10 off household cleaning supplies with a purchase of $40 or more." Who doesn't love to save money? So I fired off a text and here is a copy of what I recieved

No where on here (even in the fine print) does it tell you that you need to purchase specific items or brands. So I proceeded to collect cleaning supplies that I knew I needed or could use. When I had all the items I needed, my husband and I proceeded to check out.

At checkout I handed my phone to the cashier to scan. It would not take the coupon. Not knowing what to do, the cashier called his supervisor over. His supervisor then pulled out a folder with this week's ad in it, showing it had to be specific items & brands. She then asked if we wanted to return some items. Wanting to get home I said "No."

When I arrived home, I re-read the coupon thinking maybe I missed some fine print. I even had my husband review the coupon. He could not find any brand exclusions or even a reference to see the ad for more details. Next I reviewed my reciept.

Did I not have $40 worth of cleaning supplies? Well, figuring what is cleaning supplies is EASY on this receipt. They are all grouped together and total $60.52. So it would appear from the coupon I was sent and this receipt I acted in good faith to satisfy the terms of the coupon.

What should I do next? I went to the website and using the Contact Us link, wrote a message describing my problem. At 1:39AM I received a response from Sheena, basically telling me she was sorry about my experience and that she would pass the information on to the ad executives.  There was nothing about correcting the mistake or making it right for me, the customer.  I responded with scans of the coupon and receipt (as seen above) and explained I may need to reconsider where I get my prescriptions filled and where I do my mass market shopping.  At 4:06AM I received another response from Sheena to call their 800 number to get a resolution to my problem.

So this afternoon I called. I explained my problem to a gentleman and he put me on hold. About nine minutes later he either hung up on me or the system disconnected me. I called back. I again explained my problem, to a lady this time. Then I got transferred to a supervisor. At the end of 30 minutes, all I got was an apology from the supervisor. As I explained to the supervisor, all I was looking for was for Target to honor their coupon. I understand now that it is brand specific, but there are no such disclaimers in the coupon they sent to my phone. I said a simple line of "See our weekly ad for further restrictions" would have cleared up a lot of the issue.  Again, there is no such disclaimer.

So what is a customer to do? I tried to satisfy the requirements of the coupon as they were stated on said coupon. I tried to call attention to the problem, both at the store and corporate level. All I get from Target is an "I'm sorry" (with an implied shoulder shrug). Meanwhile, Target got a $60 sale that they would not have gotten without a deceptive (be it intentional or not - I do not really know) coupon that they did not honor.

After this experience, I now know my shopping dollar is not valued at Target. I guess I can take my business elsewhere. I wonder if Wal-Mart, CVS, or Walgreens would like me to shop with them instead. Maybe they still know what customer service is.  All I know as a small business owner is if I treated my customers like this, I would be out of business quick.

Shame on you Target. You made a mistake and refused to fix it. 

Readers - what do you think I should do? Please leave your comments below.

Until Tomorrow