Walmart Employees Defy Own Coupon Policy, Basic Logic

Walmart has a coupon policy, but doesn’t do a very good job of educating its employees about it. That, or the employees don’t do a very good job of remembering how it’s supposed to work. Shelly has been at war with her local Walmart since January over four air fresheners and a relatively small amount of money, but it’s the principle.

She spotted some air fresheners on a shopping trip to Walmart, but didn’t have her coupons with her. She returned to the store later to make her purchase, but the items scanned at the wrong price. This meant that she didn’t get an overage, which in couponspeak means that the price of the item was lower than the amount of the coupon. Walmart’s policies state that they can’t give the customer cash, but they can apply the overage to other purchases in the customer’s cart. The cashier insisted that this policy is not true.

There were only 4 of these items left. I grabbed all 4, went to check out. What a surprise! They rang up for the wrong price. The cashier had a funky attitude (another surprise!) and refused to check the shelf price, or to send someone to check the price. She told me that since the items were going to be free, plus an overage (they would OWE me money), that the price didn’t matter, they could not pay me to buy these items.

Well, that’s a lie. According to their coupon policy, if the amount of the coupon exceeds the amount of the item, they CAN give me the difference back, OR apply it to the total value of the items in my cart.

It’s midnight, there is a line of people forming behind me (surprise number 3, there is only 1 register open!), so I told myself fine, I’ll pay full price, use the coupons, and come back to talk to someone with a brain at a later date and have the difference refunded to me.

I tried that, and surprise #4, it failed. I went back a couple of weeks later, armed with my receipt and a print out of their coupon policy. I talked to a manager, the manager had me show her the price on the shelf (it was still there, the price sticker, and they had more of the items in stock). So I pointed them out to her, showed her the shelf price Vs. the price I was charged on my receipt…and she asks if I brought the items with me (just for the record, the items in question were glade air fresheners). I did not. We had used a couple of them, the rest I did not think to bring with me. I told her no, but again pointed out that the items were right there on the shelf, she was even holding one in her hand. She said that I would have to go home and get the items so that they could scan them. Yes, the item that she was holding in her hand. I would have to go home and get mine and bring it back.

So I’m livid, I tell her that’s egregious…and I leave without my refund, again.

I go home and file a BBB complaint. This is in the first half of February. I also sent a letter through their contact form on their web site. I never received a reply from them.

I finally get a reply from them on April 22nd, over 2 months later. They say that there is not much they can do without looking at the coupons (how are the coupons the issue?? And they should have them, as I gave them to the cashier.) They say that they will send me a gift card…but I have to mark the complaint as “resolved” before they send the card. I say fine, mark it as resolved, and never hear from them again.

It’s been 2 months now. They have not sent the gift card, and they ignore any and all communication from me. I have posted on their Facebook page 3 times in the last 2 months, to ask if they can help me with this matter. Their Facebook team says that they will “forward the message”, but nothing ever comes of it, and now the Facebook team wont even respond.

I don’t know what else to do. This is wrong. They overcharged me, lied to me, and are now ignoring me, and they are getting away with it. I need help! Any advice at all on what my next steps should be would be tremendously appreciated.

I wasn’t aware that couponers now had to keep copies of all coupons they use on file. Shelly might be able to find help from her state attorney general’s consumer protection office, or even by writing to S.C. Johnson and Son, the company that owns the Glade brand. They might be interested to know that the coupon promotions they invest money in are being actively undermined by retailers.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.