Am I in the wrong or is this something I should complain about?
June 17, 2014 10:07 PM Subscribe
Today I was shopping at Walmart and was accused of coupon fraud and stealing merchandise while using valid manufacturer's coupons. I feel as though the way I was treated was unacceptable, but I'm not sure if I'm the one in the wrong or not.
posted by anonymous to Shopping (37 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My sister and I recently discovered that many of our acquaintances were using coupons at Walmart similar to the people on the show "Extreme Couponing". We are both college students working full time so we wanted to try and save a few pennies. We came across some coupons that when scanned showed "$3 off any item". According to Walmart's coupon policy you can use as many coupons as you'd like and we had been given permission to use these coupons during previous trips to the store.
Today, we went to Walmart and made multiple transactions using these coupons without any associate telling us that we were violating the coupon policy. Two associates even came to ask about the coupons and asked if we had any extra for their own personal use. A manager showed up part of the way through our third transaction and asked to see our coupons and told us that we weren't able to use them. We were fine with that - we had no idea that they were against the coupon policy because we had used them quite a few times before. We told her we would cancel our transaction and that it wasn't a problem at all and we were sorry for breaking the rules. She called over a man who she identified as a security officer to see what we were doing.
This man was dressed in shorts and a tee shirt without a name tag and without any identification. He accused us of theft, identified himself as an "officer", flashed a badge, and said that he was going to take us to jail if we didn't return all of our purchases immediately. He then backtracked and threatened to call the police because we were committing coupon fraud. He took our envelope of coupons and money and said we had to return every item we had purchased before he left the store or we would be arrested. Not wanting any trouble we immediately told him, of course, we would cooperate because we never had any intention of doing anything wrong. Our mom called us and asked what was going on and he took my sister's phone out of her hand and began to speak to our mother. He then walked out of the store with her phone and left us at the registers.
After about 10 minutes, we decided to try and find him because he had my sister's cell phone and it was making her nervous. He was standing in front of the store talking loudly to our mother on the phone telling her we were using the coupons to buy drugs (we had one bottle of ibuprofen). We stood by and when he got off the phone he told us we were to follow him to our car for him to take all of the purchases we had previously made. These items had already been paid for and we had receipts for all of them. He told us to pop the trunk and he opened it and removed every bag inside. He then required us to open the back doors and almost took purchases we had made at another store until we could find the receipts for them. After he checked the back seat, he opened our front car door and checked the front seat himself. While taking the items from our car he was talking on his personal cell phone which made me really uncomfortable because he told someone he was "at work, dealing with these couponers".
After removing the items from our car, we had to go back into the store with him to get our refund. He would only refund us for the items we had receipts for and didn't give us time to find them all. We went into the store with $40 and came back out with $23. He would not give us our coupons back and we never saw the envelope of coupons and money again.
Both my sister and I were absolutely humiliated by this whole experience. We absolutely would not have used these coupons if anyone had told us it was against the rules or coupon fraud. All of the coupons scanned and were valid coupons clipped from the newspaper, none were copies and we never scanned them twice. We were not given back the receipts from our transactions and no receipt for our refund. During the entire process we were never told anyone's name and we were both required to go into the parking lot with a strange man to our car (my sister is 5' 3" and I am 5' 1") which made us uncomfortable. I don't have a problem with returning the items - that's not what I am so upset about. I am upset about losing money and being treated like a thief when I paid for the items I had and was using valid coupons. I feel like I was treated badly by store employees, but if I am truly in the wrong I don't want to complain. Is this something I should speak to Walmart's customer service about?