questionsif a business refuses to honor a coupon or…


That depends on their attitude. If they're apologetic about it, such as "I'm sorry but there's just nothing I can do" I'll probably let it go. If they're rude, then that might convince me to not shop there for a while.

For instance, I was at Staples buying a router, and they wouldn't honor the sale price. Manager came in and gave me some bs about why they couldn't (wouldn't) do it. So I went down the street to Office Depot and they gave me the price I was trying to get from Staples.

Other times, the coupon just wouldn't work, and the way the system was designed a manual change wasn't working for whatever reason. I think I just said no to whatever item that was, but was okay with not getting the item because the person was cool about it.

More often than not, I get a good person who tries to make it work or gets a manager to do so if the coupon/ sale isn't working. This is in retail though, not fast food. Definitely wouldn't expect that kind of customer service from fast food.


Nope. No way. If they don't honor their coupons or specials, I refuse to shop there. Furthermore, both of my companies no longer shop there, and I tell as many people as I can.

For me, it is the principal of the matter. I feel as if this was not only false advertisment, but also taking advantage of your customers.


I definitely leave. At the local Dairy Queen a year or two ago, if you ordered two items off their "Sweet Deals" menu, it was 2/$3. It's actually a price increase if you buy two snack wraps (regular $1.49). I almost left because they wanted to charge me $1.50 each. Yes, principle matters.

At Jack in the Box, they hadn't put out a new menu but had raised their prices. They refused to give me the prices on the menu so I left.

Worst, though, was a grocery store who had two different displays for the same sale item and at different prices. When I called them out on wrong price, they took me over to show me the OTHER display that was at a higher price. I dragged them over to the display and showed them the lower price, and they still argued with me. Actually walked out there, but there were 3 items I couldn't get for the marked price. One of them was "On Sale" for more than the regular price and they refused to give me regular price!

Oddly, I rarely have a problem with coupons.


@omnichad: I had something like that at Home Depot. I was looking at a 6' climbing plant I thought might work in a tough spot in my yard. I got their plant expert to come talk to me about the plant, and decided it would work. Loaded it on the buggy and took it inside to catch up with my friend who'd been picking up some hardware and check out. At the register the plant rang up at double the posted price. I took the plant back to the greenhouse and showed the manager of that section the sign right in front of the pallet of plants and he said, "No, that's not the right sign, these are different plants. We must have sold out of the ones on the sign." I was hoping he would man up and honor the price but he didn't so I left the plant behind. I went back the next day to return some of the hardware and they still had the incorrect price standing in front of the same pallet of plants. I was tempted to call in the general manager and complain, but I do a lot of business at that store.


It seems like if the sign is wrong a store should give the item to you at that price unless it's a huge difference and then go fix the sign or signs.


@moondrake: That's pretty sad. People leave responsibility to "someone" else and nobody feels like it's their job to take care of such things. If it were me - and of course people like me have moved on from retail, I'd take the sign down right away, but not before giving that plant to you for the price marked. It's quite a hassle, and it deserves a goodwill gesture.

I'm not mad at Home Depot right now, though, because I got $15 in free merchandise there through the Paypal promotion. Sure, I will never use my Paypal card there again, but if they want to give me $15 to try it, I won't stop them.


@omnichad: Yes, I mostly have good results from Home Depot. I buy my plants there for the one-year warranty, which I am sad to say I use a lot. I got the plant expert laughing by joking that I am a plant serial killer, the plants all quail in terror and try to hide behind one another when I walk through the greenhouse. I agree, the way you suggested would be the right way to handle it. The plant was marked $20 and ringing at $40, so it was a pretty big difference. But it was their mistake and I wasted a lot of time on it, so they ought to have made it right.


I almost always win the argument. If there's a coupon, and they're supposed to honor it, I will fight to the death. Same thing with a price mistake. If there's a price that they advertise, and they won't sell it to me for that, more death fighting. It drives my wife crazy, but it has saved us a lot of money.


@kylemittskus: I have the same policy. Its funny though because my wife hates it as well. But after years of being married she is used to it. And from time to time has been known to sick me on someone or something that deserves that kind of attention.

Though I have to admit after being escorted from Target after insisting they honor their rules about wedding registries many years ago I have rarely if ever shopped there again.


@choiceweb: You would think if the item is marked incorrectly that the store would honor the price and sometimes they do. However, the mistake is not always the fault of the employees. A customer moves a sign or puts a product in the wrong place and another customer expects to get the wrong product at the price where a previous customer moved it. In that situation, I don't blame the store for not honoring the price as it's obviously a mistake.

This happens frequently when you go to "The Children's Place." They have different sale items all over the store. So you go to a group of clothes marked $2.99 and find a nice shirt and bring it to the counter and it rings up at $8.99. Should the store have to honor that $2.99 price because a customer put it on the wrong rack?


@djbowman and @kylemittskus: It's my girlfriend that fights for the pricing in our relationship. I get embarrassed many times when she keeps trying to negotiate better deals from large retailers. Surprisingly, she does get the prices reduced though so I have saved a lot of money with her being frugal.


I've learned a lot from my parents owning a franchise, particularly that the higher ups tend to market and coupon beyond what the individual stores can sometimes handle (especially when someone only owns one store like my parents do). That being said, my parents will usually try to work with someone who brings in a coupon that they can't honor (i.e. meant for another store, expired) but will begrudgingly accept anything the head honchos have sent out for their store.

What's really crappy is that owners of nearby stores tend to be shady too- they've sent out coupons meant for their stores in my parents' territory so people end up going to my parents' store and getting super pissed.

I have a lot of sympathy for franchises in general. But, yeah, if they're huge jerks about not taking a coupon or something that's different, I just know that for the most part, their margins are usually, probably already thin.


@agingdragqueen: The brand name giveth and the brand name taketh away. Franchises benefit from national advertising campaigns and marketing investments by the parent company, they also end up having to participate in promotions they might not want to.


@moondrake: well, that's the issue. They pay marketing costs on top of the franchising fees but they have no input for what goes into the campaigns. Coupons are easy and cheap for the mothership, inconvenient to people like my parents who only have one store. They're doing fine, but I find that I'm a lot more sympathetic to locally owned businesses even if they are a national chain.


@agingdragqueen: Thanks for bringing up franchises as no one here mentioned it or factored it in. The franchised business has to pay a fee and royalties up to the mothership. While the coupons and deals do benefits in terms of additional sales, it could come at a loss. And the idea of cheap deals bringing in new customers, that's less true than most people think as those who take advantage of cheap deals will quickly leave as soon as that offer is gone.

And don't forget the disclaimer - "At participating restaurants" so don't be angry at franchisees for not wanting to participate in a campaign they had no part in creating, reviewing, or approving.


@first2summit: I don't generally get angry at them. But if I walk in the door with a "buy one get one free" coupon that appears to be legitimate and I am told that the coupon isn't accepted at this location, I don't go ahead and pay full price for the single item. Luring customers into the store with a deal and then saying the deal isn't available but they can have the same item at full price if they'd like is one version of "bait and switch".


@agingdragqueen and @first2summit: You both are right on the franchise part. You pay for the name, but if you own a single store you can get hammered by national ads that can cripple you but not someone who owns multiples. As for the OP, based on what I know about "at participating" clauses I will usually purchase something other than the "special", but only if they are not a d@%k about it.


We've have that issue with Quiznos as well. First they started complaining that we only went there when we had a coupon (not actually true, but we certainly went there more often with than without). Then they started simply rudely refusing them. We stopped going there, and now a year later the store is closed.

Being rude to your customers is never a good idea.