A too-good-to-be-true Kmart coupon deal

A too-good-to-be-true Kmart coupon deal
A Kmart coupon deal that seemed too good to be true was, in fact, too good to be true.

The deal that appeared in the ad was not what the company intended.

Angry customers say it's not the mistake that has them upset; it's the way people claim they were treated after the fact.

"Everybody makes mistakes. I want to see how a company handles their mistake," said Heather Kulper of Mill Creek.

Kulper spends hours searching for deals to share with followers of her money saving blog, Because More Is More.

That's how she learned about a downloadable coupon for Kmart offering $10 off your next purchase of $20 or more, valid at all Kmart store locations between March 5 and May 22, 2010.

"That coupon specifically was on Kmart's Web site. So if you just went to kmart.com, it was on their home page." said Kulper, who found the coupon link on the site of a fellow bargain blogger.

Kulper shared the coupon link with her readers and downloaded copies for herself.

"I used it myself, actually, last week. And it was fantastic. The clerk actually congratulated me on my great deal!" Kupler said.

But Kmart recently pulled the coupon more than two months before the expiration.

On its own Facebook page, Kmart blames "unauthorized circulation." The real story: someone made a mistake.

Kmart says coupon was not intended for every Kmart location as the coupon states, but rather only at select stores in New York, Baltimore and Chicago.

Furious customers posting comments on Kmart's Facebook page, claim Kmart workers accused consumer of fraud when they tried to redeem the coupons, blaming customers for the problem.

Kulper says when she read about what was going on, she updated her blog and alerted her readers. She understands that mistakes happen, but Kulper says she's not happy about the retailer's lack of transparency in explaining what happened.

"If Kmart made an error, man up. Admit it!" said Kulper.

After repeated calls to Kmart headquarters in Chicago, I finally reached spokeswoman Shannelle Armstrong on her cell phone.

Armstrong says it was "simply an error." She would not go into detail, but says the company took action to correct the problem immediately after they found out.

The coupon promotion was intended to focus on special "renaissance" events where Kmart stores in selected communities had been updated to attract new customers.

"It was an unfortunate incident, and we are doing our best to address that with customers who felt they were wronged by the coupon or Kmart employees." Armstrong said.

Armstrong says anyone who feels they were treated unfairly should contact the company.

Kulper says it may be too late for that.

"And I think maybe Kmart's underestimating the power of social networking and the online media. People are not 'gonna let this go." Kulper said.

Armstrong insists Kmart is a consumer centric organization. But when admits the company needs to do a better job of proofing its coupons before they go public.

From a legal standpoint though- Kmart has the right to pull that coupon and stop honoring the discount.

There is no law that forces any retailer to uphold a price offer when there's clearly been an honest mistake.

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