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November 26, 2012

Can’t Companies Learn from Their Mistakes?

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

Just about a year ago, we wrote about Save-a-Lot, a limited assortment grocery chain, that was promoting their Facebook page. They promised to give shoppers a $5 coupon to use at their supermarket if you “liked” them. See our story, “Save-a-Lot’s Deceptive Facebook Promotion.”

Only after you “liked” them, did they disclose that the coupon was really buy $25 worth of groceries, and get $5 off.

So, we pointed out this omission to them, and after a little pestering, they quickly updated the promotion to clearly disclose that this was a $5 off a $25 purchase coupon.

Fast forward to November 2012. On the homepage of Save-a-Lot, they were giving thanks to their shoppers saying “To give thanks and help you enjoy this season with your family, we are giving you a $5 coupon.”

Save-a-Lot homepage

When you click on that ad, you are taken to the company’s Facebook page, where the promotion is shown again:

Save a Lot Facebook

And when you “like” their Facebook page, you discover this:


Save a Lot

Yep, same old thing… you have to buy $25 worth of groceries in order to save the $5.

How could a company that was called on the carpet just a year ago for the very same deceptive practice not learn how to tell their customers the truth upfront about their $5 off coupons? We immediately notified the company of the recurring problem, but heard nothing. About a week later, we contacted them again, and were informed that they changed their ad right after receiving the first email:

Save a Lot

When we replied to the company with the hope that they do it correctly and legally next year, their PR person replied:

“Legally the information is posted on the offer once the click through is made and the offer itself is not misleading. However, we understand your concern for it on the banner, as our desire is never to intentionally confuse our customers.” — Save-a-Lot Spokesperson

It is amazing to me that companies believe because they disclose a key fact or limitation SOMEWHERE that that is sufficient and legal notice to the consumer.

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  1. “…as our desire is never to intentionally confuse our customers.”

    That’s ridiculous, anybody with business sense knows that is ALWAYS the intention. From decreasing the package weight and keeping the same price to labeling the serving size of small packages as 1/2 package. Who eats 1/2 of a small bag of chips? Confusion and deception is a way of business.

    Comment by Wayne R — November 26, 2012 @ 9:25 am
  2. So how do we stop these places that hide their rules until after you give them what they want…sorta like asking you to sign a contract before they’ll tell you the details of it.
    Sounds like maybe a job for Attorneys General to start getting involved and maybe shutting down?

    Comment by RobS — November 26, 2012 @ 11:14 am
  3. Isn’t their deception this year actually two-fold? At least last year they were upfront about having to “like” them to get the coupon. This year, you have to click to get the coupon BEFORE you find out to get it you have to “like” them on Facebook. I find that whole “like” business meaningless anyway.

    Edgar replies: Jamie, you are absolutely correct. I didn’t mention that they failed to to state in their ad the requirement to “like” us as a condition of getting the coupon.

    Comment by Jamie — November 26, 2012 @ 12:38 pm
  4. They want you to ‘like’ them so they can look at your data (what you are selling for 5 bucks). It is why they ‘overlooked’ having the info on the first page. They were too focused on getting demographic data. Create a spam account and then like them.

    Comment by me — November 26, 2012 @ 2:24 pm
  5. I get “special” offers all the time and when you go to see how “free” it really is it is crap like this only they want as much info as possible on you to become pests to infinity and sell your info to as many other marketing slugs as possible. Next thing you know you spend 20 minutes a day unsubscribing. The way that garbage multiplies makes rabbits look celibate.

    Comment by Rick — November 26, 2012 @ 3:17 pm
  6. I refuse to do business with companies like this who “never intentionally confuse our customers…” – and I always make sure I let them KNOW this as well. Save-A-Lot has been added to my list…

    Comment by Cheryl — November 26, 2012 @ 9:13 pm
  7. FB is just fraught with this stuff… I don’t even bother anymore…

    Comment by Bill — December 14, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

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