Target Employees Need To Learn Their Own Price-Matching Policy

We don’t want to sit here and lecture Target on how to run its stores, but maybe some people at Jared’s local store could use remedial price-matching policy lessons. Jared wanted them to match an advertised price on something dear to the Consumerist community: cat food. Yes, the store running the sale is Pet Supplies Plus, and the sale price requires a loyalty card, but the card is free. We’re not talking about Costco here. Yet the store refused to budge, even though Target’s written price match policy contradicted what they were saying.

Jared asked Consumerist to contact Target on behalf of him and all frustrated price-matchers, figuring that we were likely to get a quicker answer from a higher authority than he was. Turns out he was right, and the customer service representative and trainer of his local store were wrong. He writes:

My local Pet Supplies Plus stores are currently running a sale on Fancy Feast 24 packs, which is what my girlfriend and I primarily feed to our three obnoxious cats. These cases of mystery meat typically run between $12 and $14, and Pet Supplies Plus currently has them listed in the ad for $6.99. Since we were at one of our local Target stores today, we went in with a copy of the ad to avoid having to make another trip.

We picked up a few cases of cat food and went to the customer service desk to have them do the price match. When we arrived, we were told by the CSR that he didn’t think they were allowed to price match competitors that required a loyalty/rewards type card in order to receive a discount. He called his trainer, who also told us they were not allowed to match the price because of this. Conveniently, they couldn’t find anything in writing that confirmed or denied this.

I understand that they are probably just following orders handed down from their store manager or district manager, but considering how many stores have some sort of loyalty program with sale prices tied to that program, this would pretty much exclude them from matching anything. Upon coming home and reading the price match policy Target has posted on their website, I decided to write in and hopefully get some clarification regarding this issue.

The only stipulation Target lists concerning any type of membership card is clearly addressing prices found in warehouse clubs, as seen here.

We passed Jared’s question on to Target’s media relations department, and they agree with Jared. They write:

All of the details of the policy, including any exclusions, are listed on our website at http://www.target.com/pricematch.

Under the exclusions, it is listed that Target does not price match “Paid membership club or paid loyalty programs (e.g. prices that require a club or loyalty card that is associated with a membership fee).”

That includes not only warehouse clubs like Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club, but store loyalty cards that charge an annual fee, like those from Sally Beauty Supply or The Body Shop. Target employees probably wouldn’t know this offhand, but that isn’t the case for the card at Pet Supplies Plus.