Target confiscated Nick’s coupon for 10% off items left on his wedding registry after randomly deciding that the coupon was too generous.
While Target’s competitors make it clear that their coupons are one-use affairs, Target’s coupon expressly orders their cashier: “return card to guest.” According to one Target manager, this means “one use only.” Go figure.
In case you needed another reason to avoid Target’s wedding registry, read Nick’s sad story:
My wife and I registered at Target for our wedding registry. We shop there often and were very happy with the selection of items we would be able to register for. Our experience went pretty well, until we tried to buy the items that were still left on the registry. We’re hoping you’ll be able to make a difference like you did with the whole gift receipt issue.
When we signed up for our registry, at the bottom of one of the pages, was a note about getting a coupon for 10% off everything left on the registry. The exact words were: “For up to 90 days after your wedding, save 10% on all items remaining on your registry. Look for a special coupon in the mail”. Excellent, we thought, we’ll be able to buy everything on our registry, but we won’t have to buy it all at once. I figured that Target would have some restrictions, so I made a mental note to check the card carefully once it came in the mail.
Fast forward 5 months, we’re now married and ready to buy what’s left on our registry. The coupon comes in the mail and it says “Take 10% off any items remaining on your Club Wedd Registry. See back for details”. We check the back side for details and note the date that it expires (actually 85 days from the day of our wedding, not 90), and two sentences that seemed to explain the policy best. “Limit one 10% coupon per Club Wedd registrant.” and “Cashier: Scan the coupon, scan the registry bar code and return card to guest.” (Side note: we also registered at Bed Bath and Beyond, whose 10% coupon loosely read “THIS IS A ONE-TIME USE COUPON!” Maybe not quite so strong…but close) After reading those two sentences (and taking into account how strongly BBB worded their coupon) we decided that it must mean we can use that coupon any number of times until the expiration date and we would get 10% off on the items that were remaining on our wedding registry. Why else would they return the coupon to us if we couldn’t use it more than once?
So coupon in hand, we went to the nearest Super Target (since the Target in town is old and doesn’t have as much selection) to see what items from our list they had in stock. We found quite a few of the things we had registered for, but didn’t buy everything because we needed to bring a bigger vehicle for some of the items and money was a little tight since we had just gotten back from our honeymoon. It wasn’t a big deal though, we would be able to come back later with a bigger vehicle and get the rest. We go to the register with the items we had room for, received our 10% off and got our coupon back from the cashier. Perfect!
The very next day, a certain high demand video game system that we had registered for happened to be in stock at our local Target, so over lunch we went in to buy it. The cashier rung us up and scanned the coupon and got a nasty error sound with a message that said the coupon is not valid or has been used. Of course it’s been used, we’ve got 90 days to use it to get the stuff from our registry! The manager comes over to see what the problem is and tells us that she has only ever used the wedding registry coupons as one use. What!? We tell her none of the information we got said that, plus why would they return the card to us if it was only good for one use? She wondered the same thing, and after consulting with someone over a walkie talkie, decided to give us the discount and told us if we wanted the 10% off of anything else we had to get it right then. Well great, we each had 5 minutes left before we had to get back to work, so we just took the discount and left without buying anything else from our registry.
I’ve tried calling the Club Wedd toll free number, but they’ve been no help and when I was able to escalate my call they simply told me that the coupon was one time use only and they could not reactivate the coupon. We’ve been extremely happy with Target up until this point, but now we just feel we’ve been lied to. In the information they gave us there was no indication that we could only use this coupon once. We directly affected at least $1300 in sales from items on our registry, not to mention everything else our guests bought because they happened to be in the store. All we want is to get 10% off the items left on our registry, whether that be through another one time use coupon, or a coupon that is reusable, like the information led us to believe. We’ve already told several other couples and they thought the coupons were reusable as well. Maybe Target should also change the wording so other couples don’t have the same problems we did.
The fine print is clear: this is a reusable coupon that provides 10% off items stuck on the registry. Target is a massive corporation, with plenty of cash to throw at soulless corporate lawyers. If they wanted a one-use coupon like their corporate compadres, they should have printed one. But they didn’t!
Fire off an Executive Email Carpet Bomb, and if that doesn’t restore the discount you are owed, ask a small claims court to enforce Target’s poorly written contract.