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October 10, 2016

Thanks for Nothing #4

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Internet,Retail,Thanks for Nothing — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:10 am

We continue our series of offers, which upon closer scrutiny, offer less than expected.

Example 1:

Supermarkets have become fond of advertising 10 for $10 deals. But this deal from a New York supermarket chain falls a little short.

10 for $10

*MOUSE PRINT:

The bulbs are indeed 10 for $10, but you can only buy four it seems. Thanks for nothing, Shop Rite.


Example 2:

Speaking of buying larger quantities, we’ve always been taught that when you buy in bulk, you can often save money.

Kidde

*MOUSE PRINT:

At Amazon, you can buy a two pack of detectors for the price of three single ones. That’s right, one is $15 and two are $47. Whatta deal. Thanks for nothing, Amazon.


Example 3:

Speaking of deals, Best Buy is seemingly offering an LG stainless steel dishwasher for an unheard of $199 in this ad:

Best Buy

*MOUSE PRINT:

The dishwasher is not $199 as it first appears. That’s the price for the microwave. So, how much is the dishwasher? Who knows. Thanks for nothing, Best Buy.


Example 4:

A few weeks ago, we got Lowe’s to pull a TV commercial which promised 20% off major appliances, but according to the fine print, virtually every major brand was only a maximum of 10% off (except where noted). Now fast forward to this past Labor Day when Lowe’s upped the phantom discount to as high as 35% off.

Lowe's

*MOUSE PRINT:

The fine print disclaimer in this commercial, just like the other ads, says:

Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Amana, GE, LG, Samsung, Frigidaire, Electrolux, and Bosch brands limited to a maximum 10% discount unless otherwise shown.

So again, virtually all the major brands are not 35% off. In fact, a review of their website reveals that of the 200 dishwashers offered for sale, only one was 35% or more off the regular price. Thanks for nothing, Lowe’s.

If you find a good example of a “Thanks for Nothing”-type offer, please pass on a screenshot of the ad to edgar (at symbol) mouseprint.org .




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August 29, 2016

Walmart Drops Price Match Guarantee in 100s of Stores

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:44 am

Since May, Walmart has been quietly discontinuing its price match guarantee (“Ad Match”) in hundreds of stores nationwide. This is a marked change from a policy the company promoted for years in TV commercials like this:



When one goes online to Walmart.com these days to read their terms of their policies, this is all they say about matching prices in stores:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Check with your local store for additional details on the price match policy.

Walmart spokesperson John Forrest Ales told us recently that “more than 200 but less than 1000” stores are affected nationwide. He said that in place of the price guarantee, they are instituting “long term rollbacks.” That means that thousands of items, mostly groceries and consumables, are going to have lower everyday prices, with no set expiration date. Large blue signs are being posted in stores where Ad Match is no longer available.

Walmart sign
from WhatsYourDeal

How can you get around the discontinuation of their price match policy? You can still use their Ad Match app to scan your store receipt and automatically be entitled to any lower prices the app can find. Secondly, their price match policy still applies to purchases at Walmart.com and stores not participating in the new lower prices campaign.




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July 25, 2016

As Seen on TV: Philips Airfryer — Only $49.95?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:29 am

In infomercials and on a website, Philips is advertising a kitchen appliance called the Airfryer, which uses hot air to “fry” food. They call it an “oil-less fryer” but you really have to add some oil to food like freshly cut french fries for it to work.

The ads for the Airfryer offer it at a price of $49.95 with a 30-day “risk-free” trial… and if you don’t like it, you can get your money back.

Airfryer

Airfryer TV ad

But is $49.95 the real price of the item?

*MOUSE PRINT:

fine print

In type only slightly larger than this, at the bottom of their website, the truth is revealed. The price of the fryer is not $49.95 — it is four times that — $199.80 because you are required to make three more payments of $49.95 if you want to keep it. Yet, to many, the price of the appliance looked like it might have been $49.95 total.

Adding insult to injury, it costs 25 bucks to ship this unit to you, and that is not refundable if you return it.

It’s no accident that Philips hides the real price of the Airfryer, but do they have to get cagey about what your $49.95 really buys you?




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July 18, 2016

Red Robin’s Birthday Burger Blunder

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:40 am

Red RobinJohn G. is member of Red Robin’s loyalty program. He went to their Evans, Georgia restaurant earlier this month to collect on his free birthday burger that the plan promises.

When the bill came, he and his wife were surprised that only $4 had been deducted for his burger, rather than the full price. Of course, he questioned the discrepancy. The manager explained that the restaurant’s computer system applies only one promotion banked in his account to each meal purchased, and the promotion that gets applied is the one that will expire the soonest.

In other words, in John’s case, his account had a free birthday burger coupon that expires the end of July, but it also had a $4 off coupon that expires in early July, so it would get applied first. John was also told that as a program member he could have gone into his account to rank/prioritize the coupons in a different order, so the free burger coupon would have been the first one used.

John says, “unless one knows what ‘reward ranking’ is, the average customer doesn’t understand that he has to keep track of offers presented to him.”

We checked the fine print on the company’s website for the loyalty program, and it is completely contrary to what he was told in the restaurant as to the order the discounts are applied to a member’s bill.

*MOUSE PRINT:

How does Red Robin prioritize their rewards?

We do rank them in the order of highest value, but now you have the ability to choose which one you crave!

And in their terms and conditions, it says this:

If you have earned more than one Reward, just present your Program Card or your telephone number associated with your Account to your server with your form of payment, and our Program system will apply the highest ranked Reward that you have earned to your bill.

Reward Redemption Order (Rank)
•5 Visits in 5 Weeks, $20 Reward on 6th visit
•Birthday Burger — The Birthday Burger Reward includes any of our more than 24 fire-grilled gourmet burgers but does not include extra patties, extra cheese, styles or Red Robin’s Finest Burgers.
•Every 10th Item Free

In both places it clearly says that the coupon with the highest value gets applied first, which makes total sense. Yet that is not what happened to John in practice. So we wrote to the PR folks at Red Robin to get a straight answer of which policy is the real policy, and what happened.

“There are a number of factors that go into Red Robin Royalty’s reward rankings and we are unable to comment on this specific situation without a deeper investigation and additional information. While rewards are almost always ranked based on value, there are certain caveats; for example, a free birthday burger reward excludes Red Robin’s Finest burgers and non-burger items. If a guest orders an item that does not qualify for the birthday burger reward, despite it being ranked higher on their account, the system would look to redeem the next eligible reward.” —Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews spokesperson

John says he didn’t order a “forbidden on your birthday burger” so we are no more clear on what actually happened in this case than John is. The manager, incidentally, did finally figure out how to give John his free burger, but the whole incident left a bad taste in his mouth.

We agree with John that consumers should not be placed in a position to remember every offer that is sent them and be required to juggle them in one’s account before trying to use a particular offer. Restaurant diners should be allowed to merely say “please use my birthday burger coupon” or be able to print it and that should be the end of it.




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June 13, 2016

Thanks for Nothing #3

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Humor,Retail,Thanks for Nothing — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:06 am

We continue our series of offers, which upon closer scrutiny, offer less than expected.

Example 1:

Right in the heart of downtown Boston at Faneuil Hall, McCormick and Schmick’s has a great Friday deal:

Tacos

At a place where fish and chips is about $18, getting a plate of fish tacos for just $5 on Fridays is a sensational offer. But wait… there’s more… or really less.

*MOUSE PRINT:

each taco

Tucked away at the bottom right corner of the sandwich board was the tiny disclosure “each taco.” Thanks for nothing, McCormick & Schmick’s… olé.


Example 2:

Larry S. from Texas sent us this “deal” he found at Staples.

Staples tape bonus pack
Click to Enlarge

*MOUSE PRINT:

The box with six rolls of tape is $10, while the package with the “free” bonus dispenser is $13.99. (And yes, they both contain the same size six rolls of tape.) Thanks for nothing, Staples.


If you find a great example of a “thanks for nothing” offer, take a picture or screenshot and send it along to edgar (at symbol) mouseprint.org .




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