Target Portrait Studio Deal Not As Great As It Seemed

Target has recently been expanding their portrait studio business in Jason’s area. This isn’t a Target-owned venture: Lifetouch owns and runs the studios, as they also do for other retailers, like J.C. Penney. The studio offered a Groupon recently, and Jason and family took them up on it. They chose a deal that promised a $50 gift card with a $100 photo purchase, thinking that this referred to a Target gift card. Not so. It referred to a gift card for future pictures at the Target portrait studio. Which could be useful if you planned to have more pictures taken there. Jason’s family doesn’t.

We came in (with a Groupon) for a sitting, did the requisite listening to the hard-sell for the more expensive photo options and wound up enticed by some signage saying “spend $100 get a $50 gift card” which we proceeded to do. The next week, when the photos and CD were ready, we were presented with our “gift card” – a $50 “reward” towards future photo sessions. Both my wife and I were notably irritated, considering we expected, y’know, a gift card for Target proper not money towards future photo-gouging.

So, being the dutiful Consumerist readers we are, we called the Photography studio and failed to get an answer. After 6 different phone calls to several different extensions (and after getting the run-around at those extensions), my wife was able to talk to a Photo Studio manager who said, in short, that that’s not what the signage said. After escalating the issue, the management did agree to refund us the $92 excess we spent on the photos with one caveat – we have to bring the photo CD back to them. We did so gladly.

We’d be curious what the signage did say. Maybe there was some fine print that the family missed; maybe the print was deliberately so fine that most people would miss it.