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October 27, 2008

Kmart $5 Off Coupons: The Hidden Strings

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:15 am

KmartWhen visiting either Kmart’s website or if you have a Sears card, you might see a promotion to get two free $5 coupons when you sign up for their email list.

Sounds like a pretty fair deal.

When you actually visit the Kmart site, you are asked to fill out the form with your name and address.

What might escape your view is a fine print disclosure on the bottom:


**Receive a $5 off $50 coupon to use in-store, and a $5 off $50 coupon code to use online. Some exclusions apply. New email addresses only.

Thanks for nothing, Kmart. Coupons like these are available periodically in their circulars and elsewhere. You might have assumed that these were merely $5 off your purchase coupons, rather than tied to a $50 minimum purchase (one online and one off). Funny how the $50 required purchase appeared nowhere in the original promotion of the offer.

Retailers: there is a big difference between offering a “$5 off coupon” and a “$5 off a $50 purchase coupon”. If you mean the latter, say the latter.

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  1. They stole that idea from their partner in crime, Sears, who practices the same skeavy gimmick. Gee, wonder why they’re both doing so poorly

    Comment by David — October 27, 2008 @ 8:05 am
  2. CVS did the same thing. Give’em your email address and get a coupon – only it also was subject to a $20 purchase. As an employee I was required to ask customers if they’d like to give CVS their email address in order to get the coupon. It bothered me that there wasn’t even any fine print that the coupon offer had a “string” attached.

    Comment by C. Jean Hough — October 27, 2008 @ 9:20 am
  3. If you were already going to spend $50 at Kmart it would be worth 10% off. I don’t have a problem with this. Do you really expect them to hand you $5 cash with no strings attached. C’mon!!!

    Comment by Shawn — October 27, 2008 @ 11:50 am
  4. @Shawn
    Edger is right, if it’s $5 off a $50 purchase, then say that. It’s not $5 coupon you could use for anything
    in the store. Our grocery story sends out flyers with these types of coupons and they say right on the coupon
    $5 off a purchase of $60. It doesn’t have to be sneaky and it’s just as good. I feel a lot better with the
    grocery store coming right out to say what type of coupon it is than feeling like I’ve just signed up to get
    a load of spam or mail because now I’m on a list, and they sent me a coupon that they rooked me into filling
    out their form to get.

    Comment by RVP — October 27, 2008 @ 6:21 pm
  5. Shawn

    I would expect them to hand me $5 cash (to spend with them). After all I just gave them my
    name, address, and email address. What do you think they are going to do with the information.

    Comment by Dickson V. Johnson — October 28, 2008 @ 1:03 am
  6. This is absolutely false advertising! $5 coupons are often handed out to lure people into stores to buy something for $5 and get it for free…and while you are there they expect you will see some other things you like and buy those too and they will quickly make their money back as you buy other things.

    Now if they offered $50 coupons, I guess I would know better that there is a catch but $5 is such a small amount that it is horrible business and reminds me why I have not shopped in KMart for the last 8 years.

    Comment by RS — October 28, 2008 @ 1:40 am
  7. @Shawn:
    You’re giving them personal information as a trade. I’d say that’s worth $5 or $10…

    Comment by Drak — October 28, 2008 @ 2:33 am
  8. They’re not handing out cash, it’s a coupon. and yes, I get those all the time with no strings attached.

    Comment by Peter — October 28, 2008 @ 7:08 am
  9. K-Mart should have put the requirement for a 50 dollar purchase. Our grocery store has coupons everyweek for something free, no strings attached but most people go in for the free lb of grapes and spend money for other things as well. However, you can just get the free item and leave. Saying that, there is also the guilt factor, I would feel like a jerk taking something for nothing so would probably buy something I didn’t particularly need just to get the free thing.

    Comment by mitaliano — October 28, 2008 @ 10:13 am
  10. Sears and K-Mart are buying personal information from you and a $5 credit towards a purchase is a reasonable price. They don’t need, and I object to, the $50 minimum. I will not participate in progams with such restrictions. If they want my name and address, be up front about their request.

    Comment by John P. — October 28, 2008 @ 3:06 pm
  11. I still say 10% off a $50 dollar purchase is a fair deal.

    Comment by Shawn — October 29, 2008 @ 9:47 am
  12. The $50 minimum purchase was not part of the deal when I gave them my info. I don’t see what’s fair about that!

    Comment by Peter — October 30, 2008 @ 2:35 pm
  13. I worked at kmart and we are only told to tell people that if they give us their e-mail address they will receive $10.00 off in coupons. And that is all that management tells us. Also Management Push and thrented employees to get the e-mails. By telling us they will be calling us to the back if get any. This happens all the time in Bay City. They also tell us that the e-mails are because we will no longer be mailing out advertisment in newspaper. Kmart is going down hill…

    Comment by Sandy — November 16, 2008 @ 7:02 pm
  14. Story to share: I shopped black friday at Kmart, purchasing a house phone and earbuds. At checkout I received a coupon for $8.00 off next purchase of $80.00. I had to return the phone (no speaker on 3 handset/base). I decided to purchase another for $54.99 (not on sale) and thought of coupon. Picked up Tide $18.99, scotch tape 2/$5.00 and bottle water to make total. They also had double coupon (up to and including $2.00) which I had $1.00 off ones each for Tide and tape. Thought I’d only pay roughly $70.00; HOWEVER: small print on my $8.00 coupon stated $80.00 is total before taxes and after other discounts (which means coupons). I had to find more so I bought 3 bags kisses for $7.00 and gave them $1.50 off coupon (everyone loves candy). I walked out paying $78.01 (only brought $75.00 and had to dig for change)!!! Must always remember to read the small print and be an asterick hunter.

    Comment by Donna — December 9, 2008 @ 9:40 am

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