Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Target Needs Better Aim

It's no secret: I pinch pennies. Our family has to pinch pennies in order to survive on my husband's income while I stay home with our kids. So when a retailer repeatedly acts in a way that is corporately irresponsible or unethical, and those actions cost me the pennies I have worked hard to pinch, I feel like I should let those around me know. 

Target stores have lost my respect. They will also lose my business. 

MULTIPLE TIMES I have gone to Target and been charged more than their advertised price on a particular item. Last time this happened to me, I didn't realize it until I was home and looked at my receipt. It wasn't worth my time, gas money and effort to return to the store and get the price right, but the experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I wrote to Target corporate and told them about my experience. They sent me a form letter back and made no effort to make the wrong right.

Today I was shopping in Target with my two kids. We stopped at the snack bar to get a bite to eat for lunch. As always, I carefully calculated how the three of us could eat for the least amount of money. When the cashier told me the total, it was more than it should have been based on what their huge sign advertised. I brought it to her attention and she said, "Sorry, that's how the register rings it up. I can't do anything about it." I paid the amount and we ate our food. 

Afterward, I went to customer service and asked to see a manager. When she came, I told her what had happened and showed her the receipt and how I had been charged more than the sign advertised on all three items I had ordered. I told her that although I do work hard to pinch pennies and even a small mistake like this matters to me, this was more about the principle than the actual amount of money that I had been overcharged. I told her I felt that Target was being deceptive to its customers if they advertised one price but actually charged another. 

This Target employee (whom I'm not even sure was a manager) made no effort to make this right. Neither she or the original cashier offered to refund me the small amount that I had been overcharged. She made no apology for the deceptive sign/ charge system in the cash register. She simply told me she would bring it to her supervisor's attention. Somehow I doubt that ever happened.

Is it Target's corporate practice to charge a little more than their signage advertises on a regular basis and hope that no one notices? From my experience, I am starting to feel like this might be a corporate-wide issue. Their lack of willingness to act in good faith with one consumer (me) most likely indicates that similar situations are happening in their hundreds of stores.

Over the past several months, I have become more and more disillusioned with Target because of their rigid return policy and frequent charging mistakes. This disillusionment has now turned to a total lack of respect for this corporation.

In the future, I will be taking my business away from Target whenever possible. 

**Update** I received a personal e-mail letter back from Target Corporate saying that they are checking into the pricing issues at my store. I was pleased that they took the time to respond. It seems to me that they should have made some offer or effort to repay me for my time and trouble in some way, but they did not. But at least they personally responded to me!


Jonathan said...

Well, that stinks. How rude can a retailer get? I also despise their return policy! Where are you going to shop instead? Do you have decent Wal-Marts there? I hope so! :)


Anonymous said...

I had a somewhat similar experience at a Target store in Garland, TX about ten years ago. On impulse, I picked up an item from a clearance display, which I thought was worth about the marked clearance price. I paid for it along with other items. When I got home and checked the receipt, I discovered that I was charged the full price, not the marked clearance price. I immediately returned it to the Target store and asked for a refund. Of course, it was the "computer's fault" that I was charged the pre-clearance price--no apologies given. I asked to speak to a manager and explained to him what had happened. He was no more concerned that the clerk! With this response, I concluded that that unethical business practice was just a way of increasing their bottom line. Target has been and still is my store of choice as a last resort, only if I really need something and am not able to find it anywhere else! abs

Mom Keena said...

No, no, no! Please don't take my Target away from me! I've lost Walgreen's (there are none here in Bozeman) and after watching a certain documentary, I shy away from Walmart. Yes, even after living in Walmart country for 13 years, I've become a little disillusioned with them. I was really counting on Target, here. So sorry you've had a stinky experience with them. What we need is some good mom-and-pop shops that respect their customers and run an honest business!

Pat, Sarah, & Will Smits.... said...

Target and their return policy has been a source of frustration for me for years!

When other stores (Kroger) will give you the full amount you paid back if you were overcharged..... I don't see how Target makes it with their poor customer service!

kim dorrough said...

I despise Target's retail and social practices. I usually try to use them as a last resort.

Allison Bellomy said...

I just saw you are coming in when your mom is speaking! maybe we can all hang out them!

John and Janel Breitenstein said...

I have to concur about some of their customer service stuff...their return policy, even after registering there for a shower, really frustrated me. I tried to return things ON MY REGISTRY with other things from the registry that had a receipt (exchanging a few packs of wipes for a blanket, for example), and they wouldn't because I'd had, I believe, two returns in the last year without a receipt. Yeah. The atmosphere and taste beat Wal-Mart, but the customer service kinda bites!