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Can a store add exclusions to a coupon?

Clinton Township, MI |

I recently received a coupon to a National Retailer for a BOGO free deal. On the coupon, there were many brands that were excluded. Once I was in store, the brand of shoes that I was going to buy had a sign by it saying "coupon could not be used on brands A,B,C and D." The sign was made looking like an enlarged exclusion section on the coupon. The brand that I wanted to purchase was not excluded on the coupon. Can they exclude it in the store? The company emailed out the same coupon today without a correction. Don't stores have to honor the coupons that they send out?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

I would bring it to the attention of the store manager, and if they did not honor it state you will not be shopping at the store again, will complain to the local press, the city and state regulators and to corporate headquarters. You will get your shoes.
On the other hand you can hire an attorney and eventually get the most expensive pair of shoes you will ever own.

To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an appointment. My PRELIMINARY answer to your question(s) is for general purposes and based upon what little information you have conveyed. It is based on such limited information that the general answer should never be relied as a reason for your action or inaction. My response does NOT establish an attorney-client relationship and such may only be established by mutual agreement, and the signing of a written retainer agreement, which will generally require payment for our services, as this is what we do for a living and, just like you, we must get paid for our work.. .



Thank you for your prompt response. I talked to the manager on duty and the customer service phone number. I have an email into the company as well. I understand that people make mistakes, but they had ample opportunity to correct the posted coupon on their website and still have not. Thank you for your time and assistance.


I agree with Attorney Brennan. Also, keep in mind that just because a mistake is made does not mean you get to take advantage of it. What I mean is this: If a 3rd party advertising company produces a coupon with errors on it and the store discovers the errors, they have a right to make a posting letting people know of the mistake. If a 47" flat screen TV was supposed to be $1000.00 and the printer mistakenly printed coupons that said $10.00, you should not be entitled to get it for $10.00.

What you are thinking of is the legal protection against merchants who use "bait and switch" advertising. If the advertising in your situation was simply due to an honest mistake, you should simply understand that humans still exist. And as Attorney Brennan said, by talking to the manager, you may be able to get some benefit for your travels to the store. But, you are not necessarily entitled to it so ask nicely. good Luck!

The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice. This attorney is only licensed in Michigan and does not give legal advice in any other state. All comments are to be considered conversational information and you should not rely on these comments as legal advice or in place of retaining an attorney of our own. The comments here are based solely on what you have provided and therefore are general in nature and with more specific facts or details a different answer or outcome could result. The legal system is not a perfect science and this attorney does not guarantee any outcome.


I agree wit the previous answers. Most stores will honor a coupon that contains an error unless it is completely unreasonable to do so. If you wanted to hire a lawyer to contact the store, I'm sure you can find someone who would be willing to do that for you. If you think the store is being truly unreasonable, you can always file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.


Technically, this situation would violate the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and would entitle you to recover either $250 or your actual damages, whichever is greater, plus your costs and attorney fees. That said, you will probably have difficulty finding a consumer attorney willing to accept the case on an individual basis, since your maximum recovery will likely be the $250 and most judges are reluctant to award actual attorney fees for such a small recovery. (It is actually improper for the court to base attorney fees on the amount in controversy -- the Michigan Court of Appeals made that clear in one of my cases, Jordan v Transnational Motors - you can read the case here if you are interested:,23 -- but as a practical matter, many judges would look askance at bringing a lawsuit over this small an amount.)

If your interest is more public service based, the more practical options would be to: (1) report the issue to the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division; and (2) contact a consumer class action attorney to see if the case might have class action potential. Whether the case has class action potential will depend on several factors and I would need a lot more information before I could advise you on that issue.

One other alternative would be to just bring the case yourself in small claims court but, you would not be able to recover fees for representing yourself. Thus, you would have to decide whether the potential $250 + court costs (usually reimbursement of the filing and service fee) would be worth your time and effort.

I hope this information is helpful to you.
Kind regards,
Dani Liblang

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