A woman who recently received an email from a local grocery store, asking for directions to the nearest Walmart was stunned to learn that her purchase of a can of tuna could result in a discount.
“I’m pretty confused right now,” the woman said.
“They just ask for directions and they don’t have a lot of information about the products.
They just give directions to a location and they never give any info on what they can sell.”
Walmart and Target, both national retailers, have also seen an uptick in coupon sales in recent months, though their numbers are still far below the nearly 30 percent of shoppers who have used coupons in the past six months.
While the retailer offers discounts on items that are already available, Target and Walmart’s salespeople are generally reluctant to answer customers’ questions about what to do if a store offers discounts and why.
“The way they do it is like they are trying to get people to get their money out of their pocket,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.
“It’s really weird.”
Target and Walmarts website often offers no details about coupons, and in many cases is not clear about what they are and what to expect.
In a recent post on the company’s website, the company said it does not “guarantee the authenticity of a coupon or that it will be valid for the amount you’ve paid.”
Target spokeswoman Jessica Ewing said that “we encourage customers to use our shopping carts as a reference point, not a guide.”
She added that the company does not share specific customer information with any third party or provide coupons for other retailers.
Target did not respond to questions about how many of its customers have used the coupons on other sites or how many coupons have been redeemed.
The Walmart spokesman said the company is committed to providing customers with a level of information on the products that they buy and the prices they pay, and that if the retailer was to share any information with a third party it would do so in a manner that protects its customers’ personal information.
“We take every precaution to protect our customers’ privacy,” he said.
Target and the Walmart spokesman both noted that Target’s website includes tips on what to look out for when using the coupons.
“What you should look for is the information that says, ‘Is this a good deal?
Are these products a good buy?’
And we provide that information,” Ewing told Newsweek.
“You should also look at the price, the total price.”
Target’s site also warns shoppers that coupons expire after six months and that it’s not a guarantee.
The company’s marketing department is now trying to fix the situation.
In an effort to make its website clearer about what items can be bought with coupons, the site now lists the exact amount of coupons that are good for a specific item or for a single item.
The new information has led to a number of complaints from shoppers, who are now using coupon websites like Coupon Hunter and Coupon Mania to find coupons that may be valid, but are no longer valid.
“People are calling us with these coupons they’ve got and they can’t find them,” said a Walmart spokesperson, who said the site was working on a fix.
“This is a huge problem for Walmart.”
The spokeswoman also said that while Target has no plans to change its approach to coupons, “we’re constantly working to improve our coupons and how we distribute them.”
This story has been updated to reflect a Walmart spokesman’s comment.