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Target Not Hitting Bullseye For Coupon Clippers

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A Chicago Target store.  (CBS)

A Chicago Target store. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Target is in hot water with some shoppers.

Consumers say they started complaining to the retailer back in August about being shortchanged on their coupons. 

And while Target says it has been trying to fix the problem, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports some customers accuse the store of stalling to keep raking in the cash.

“I used to go to Target once a week and it was one of my favorite stores to shop at,” consumer blogger Rachel Singer Gordon says.

But Gordon is no longer a fan of Target because she thinks the retailer is cheating her by not giving her the full value of her coupons.

“It happened to me with baby wipes, it’s happened to me with Benadryl, it’s happened to me with produce,” she says.

And it happened with Trident gum. Gordon had a coupon for $2 off if she bought three packages. She did, but instead of $2, the store only deducted $1.79, the price of one pack of gum. Her loss: 21 cents.

Shoppers who subscribe to Gordon’s blog had the same problem. So did CBS 2 when it visited four Chicago stores.

At each store, the clerk was handed a coupon for $1.50 off three cans of soup, and each time the cash register took off the price of one can, as little as $1.01. That’s a loss of about 49 cents on each visit.

The loss was greater with purchases on razors. CBS 2 provided two $4 coupons and bought two razors. While the retailer gave $4 for one coupon, it only gave 48 cents for the other.

“I look at it absolutely as I’m losing money because coupons are money,” Gordon says.

Target, on the other hand, is not losing any money. The retailer gets the full value of the coupons from the manufacturers.

Target blames the problem on a computer glitch. Until it is fixed, cashiers have been told to give customers the full amount (when CBS 2 bought Kraft cheese, they did honor the coupon amount).

Gordon accuses the retailer of stalling to fix the problem at its nearly 2,000 stores. 

“Think how much money they’re making on this sort of thing,” she says. “It’s 50 cents from me. But multiply that 50 cents by the number of people who go through Target’s registers.”

Gordon’s advice to Target shoppers?  Watch the screen as they’re scanning the coupon so that you don’t get short-changed.

If the cashier doesn’t catch the mistake, go to customer service and complain. If you don’t catch the mistake until you get home, go back to the store.

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