Target Sends Out Poorly Worded Coupon, Raises False Hopes

50% off something.

50% off something.

Dani got what seemed like a great coupon in the mail with her Target credit card statement. “50% off Nook HD or Nook HD+ Accessory” it promised. Half off one of Barnes & Noble’s pricey e-readers? Clearly this must be too good to be true! And it was. The coupon was good for half off a variety of accessories for the e-reader, not the device itself.

Some customers did manage to take advantage of this excellent non-deal, store employees told Dani. But Corporate had to go and give employees specific directions and dash her hopes. She explains:

Last week, I received a coupon with my Target RedCard statement that was for 50% off a Nook HD or a Nook HD+ Accessory (please see attached pics). I interpreted this coupon as meaning I could get 50% off of a Nook HD OR an accessory for the Nook HD+ (the checkout associate and manager at the Target I went to, both read it the same way, fwiw).

The offending coupon.

The offending coupon.

The back of the offending coupon.

The back of the offending coupon.

Unfortunately, I was told that just yesterday, corporate had come down the chain and said that the coupon had been “mis-worded” (one associate actually said “typo”) and that they would not honor it towards the purchase of a Nook. I called Guest Services and they told me the same thing, but did admit that some people had been able to redeem the coupon before the typo was noticed.

Clearly, sending fake coupons out to your most loyal (and profitable) customers is a bad idea, but I’m not even sure if it is legal (hasn’t there been cases of companies making this sort of mistake in the past?).

As for me, this certainly shakes my confidence and dramatically lowers my opinion of them as a company. Somehow I don’t think that honoring the coupons they sent out is going to cost more than the sheer amount of business they will lose as their RedCard members bail and head to any of the other, more reliable, stores available.

As a side note, everyone I talked to about this issue (store associate, manager, and guest services representative) were all very nice and very apologetic about the uncomfortable situation that their company had put them in.

We wanted to find out what Target had to say about this coupon and its fallout, so we contacted them. Here’s their answer:

The coupon that Target REDcard users received applies to either 50 percent off a NOOK HD accessory or a NOOK HD+ accessory. As the offer states, “Shopping for the book-lovers and shutterbugs in your life? Use your REDcard to save 50% on essential accessories for both.” We apologize if guests experienced any confusion.

This incident should probably give you less confidence in Target coupons that you receive in the mail, but refusing to shop there anymore is an overreaction. Maybe only the most pedantic of customers will feel that way.