If you’re heading to Target, you better check your receipt carefully. You could be shortchanged at the register and not even realize it.
Last month, 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan exposed the fact that Target was having a problem processing certain coupons. Target said a fix was in the works and that the stores were aware of the problem.
So we went shopping again.
At Target the motto is “Expect more, pay less.” But when using certain coupons there, you could pay more than you expected. And it’s happening all over country.
Amy Gunderson was shortchanged:
“I should have gotten $5 off. I got $2.04 off,” said Gunderson.
So was Sandra Olivas:
“I went on Saturday and bought these items and it should have taken off four dollars on this. It took nothing off — zero!”
And when 3 On Your Side went shopping with our hidden cameras three weeks ago, we didn’t get the full value of our coupons either.
And it continues to happen, as we found just days ago when spot checking stores in Voorhees, Cherry Hill, and Delran, NJ, and Northeast Philadelphia.
The problem seems to affect manufacturers’ coupons for which you have to purchase multiple items. The register takes off only the value of one item, not the full value of the coupon.
For example, we purchased Smart Ones frozen entrees, priced at $1.99 a piece. We had a coupon for $3 off when you buy six.
The register took off $1.99 — the price of one meal — shorting us $1.01 in savings.
When we first brought the problem to the attention of Target’s corporate office weeks ago, they said stores were aware of the situation and that employees were directed to insure customers were given full coupon value.
But you could have fooled us! We were told that if the coupon is worth more than the item, we wouldn’t get more than the item was worth.
In Voorhees, a customer service representative told us they could void out our coupon so we could use it somewhere else.
But Philadelphia consumer affairs director Lance Haver says that’s the last thing you want to do:
“Every consumer that’s faced with this should ask for a manager. If you have a coupon and they’re refusing to honor it, don’t go away. Because when you go away, what that does is it rewards the company for cheating you,” said Haver.
Target now tells us this problem will take time to correct as it’s “complicated.”
Despite our experience, Target continues to say that if customers have a problem they should go to the customer service desk, where it will be resolved.
Meanwhile, if you use coupons at Target, be sure to double-check your receipt before leaving the store.