Target Not Hitting Bullseye For Coupon Clippers

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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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  • Jim

    If they were giving $3 for a $2 coupon it would have been fixed ASAP. Poor practice Target…consumers will just take their money and coupons elsewhere.

  • unknown

    not only do they miss the mark on coupons…but alot of their items are on the shelves without prices and this is very frustrating considering how big their store is..and last but not least, some of their items show one price on the shelf, and scan for another price. as many employees as they have, they need to get it together.

    • James

      Well, maybe you are thinking of Walmart. They are the store that has random products in different areas. Ever try to find a toy in Walmart’s toy department? Target is one of the most organized stores in the country.

  • Hawk3ye

    It’s easy enough for me to shop somewhere else. I’ll visit Target again when they get their act together.

  • FR

    Instead of increasing taxes, Illinois should fine companies that cheat Illinois consumers.

  • marion

    I went to target yesterday. I took out a $10.00 cash back on my debit. The casheir didn’t give me the money. I didn’t notice until I got home. I had to go back

  • Lee

    Last Sunday, I had 6 jugs of cat litter, and a $2 coupon for each one. I watched the cashier scan them properly. The cash register deducted $0.00. Yes, nothing. When a supervisor over, she told the cashier off. In the end, I got $12 deducted for the coupons, and I told the supervisor in no uncertain terms that the cashier did everything correctly and that I was well aware or Target’s practice of not giving customers proper credit for coupons. She wisely bit her tongue and didn’t reply to me.

  • Joe

    Dominicks online coupon program has similar but more serious errors – it completely ignores some coupons. The most recent event cost almost 10% of my total bill. It makes Taret’s issue seem minor in comparison.

  • Maureen

    I think one thing we have to remember is that no one is perfect and this article didn’t say it was happening across the country either.

  • James

    Too bad CBS didn’t do their homework. Why were other places not checked with the exact same coupons? Is this happening at Walmart as well? Did they try and find out that this might be an issue country wide at all Targets? Did they attempt to contact the corporate headquarters for the company’s comment? I find it interesting how this story was spun in a way that Target is cheating customers without getting both sides of the story. I’m glad that the info that was presented was from a disgruntled customer that heads a blog.

  • Lee

    CBS did do their homework. It happens at Targets across the country, has been happening for weeks if not months, and Target’s corporate headquarters remained in denial. A quick web search will confirm this.

    Last Saturday all Target stores were told there is a glich in the computer system causing this problem. Until that is fixed, cashiers are to manually put through any coupons that are not deducted correctly.

    Interestingly, Target only took action after at least one Attorney General’s office (Illinois) began investigating.

  • Ryan

    The law firm Glancy Binkow & Goldberg is currently investigating the problem with Target’s coupons and the firm may file a class action lawsuit against Target. If you’re interested in learning more about the firm’s investigation, you can e-mail them at or call them at (888) 773-9224.

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