Best Buy Modifies Coupon After Deal Hunters Find Loopholes
Best Buy Company, Inc., recently cancelled a coupon offer that was set to last a week but that offered loopholes through which bargain shoppers scored some unprecedented deals.
On Monday, the Richfield-based electronics retailer reportedly sent an e-mail to its Reward Zone members who were also MasterCard holders. The e-mail contained a coupon for $50 off a purchase of $100 or more for customers who used their MasterCard—and the expiration date was listed as Sunday.
Although there was a list of excluded items, bargain hunters pounced on the offer after discovering two major loopholes: The coupon allowed consumers to use it on gift cards for iTunes, Amazon, or Best Buy, and it didn’t limit the number of gift cards that could be purchased.
The coupon quickly circulated on deal sites like Slickdeals, and a number of early customers posted about the great deals they received using it.
But later on Monday, Best Buy realized its coupon was incomplete and sent in error—and the company cancelled the offer, company spokeswoman Amy von Walter told the Star Tribune.
Best Buy then issued a new coupon for use on Monday only; it was valid for $50 off a single, regular-priced item totaling at least $100, and it excluded iTunes, Amazon, and other gift cards and limited the coupon to one per household.
Since then, some have criticized Best Buy’s decision to pull the original coupon.
“To circulate an offer and make sure it’s in the public domain and circulated widely and then change the terms and conditions is not sound business sense,” Hal Stinchfield, founder and CEO of consulting firm Promotioninsights.com of Orono, told the Star Tribune.
But others were more forgiving.
Dan Hendrickson of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota told the Minneapolis newspaper that consumers and businesses need to think about what’s fair and reasonable.
“So long as the offer wasn't used as a hook to get customers in the door to profit unfairly or illicitly, which they weren't, they're allowed to make mistakes,” Hendrickson told the Star Tribune.