Here’s a helpful piece of advice for Kmart and Sears Holding Company as a whole: if you’re going to issue a coupon valid only for a few stores and post it on your Web site, don’t put the words “valid at all stores” on it. See, there is this thing called the “internet,” which people like to use to share coupons and deals. Customers printed out what looked like a perfectly valid coupon from Kmart’s site, then were treated like criminals and accused of fraud when they actually tried to use those coupons.
The coupon started its life as part of a “Kmart Renaissance” marketing e-mail blast to customers in the New York City, Chicago, and Baltimore metro areas. The coupon link was to a PDF file on Kmart’s servers. Unfortunately, the coupon didn’t actually say that it was restricted to these areas, and all heck broke loose when the PDF link hit deals sites.
Here are some customer stories: posted, appropriately enough, on the wall of Kmart’s Facebook page.
you assholes my mom is 73 years old and got your email “reintroducing” her to kmart and she went through that email and printed her coupon off last night, took it into her store in Minnesota today and your son of a bitch “manager” told her to get out of his store or he was going to call the police on her, called her a… thief and a fraud. you can be sure that first thing monday morning I will be putting complaints into my attorney general, her attorney general, and your attorney general. I’ve already put in a complaint with the BBB and emailed media. this is bullshit.
oh and I’m guessing my mom got the email intended for your pet markets since she moved from new york city a month ago to minnesota.
I drove all the way to K-Mart intending to use this coupon because the coupon specifically stated it was valid for “all locations”. I did my shopping and had all my items rung up only for the cashier to tell me they will not accept this coupon so I let them void out the entire transaction and simply left. So basically …I wasted my time by making a trip to K-Mart not to mention wasting gas driving there. Was this a ploy to get customers into the store only to reject them? It almost sounds like a case of “bait and switch” to me. I hope a class action lawsuit is started over this. I have always been a loyal K-Mart customer but maybe it’s time to start shopping at Target or Wal-Mart.
Kmart posted a statement on the situation on Facebook. Here was their take:
A coupon for $10 off a $20 purchase has had unauthorized circulation and we have had to stop accepting it at most stores. The coupons will still be honored in the intended stores in the New York, Baltimore and Chicago area. We regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers. Thank you for your continued patronage… and we do look forward to sharing other deals and offers with you in the future.
Sorry, Kmart, but you can’t release a coupon on the Internet with no restrictions and not expect it to multiply infinitely. E-mail isn’t like regular mail. If you can’t deal with that, go back to printing great coupons on dead trees and distributing them through the mail and newspapers.
What, if anything, could Kmart do to redeem themselves after this mess?
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