• Report: #378903

Complaint Review: Target

  • Submitted: Tue, October 07, 2008
  • Updated: Thu, November 06, 2008

  • Reported By:San Francisco Peninsula California
1000 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, Minnesota U.S.A.

TARGET Stores National Sunday Ad Bait and Switch: TARGET Exclusive Iron Man 2-disc DVD Deluxe Coll Ed San Francisco Peninsula (4+ Locations) California

*Consumer Comment: Almost Had the oppisite problem

*Consumer Comment: What ripoff?

*Author of original report: TARGET Stores National Sunday Ad Bait and Switch: TARGET Exclusive Iron Man 2-disc DVD Deluxe Coll Ed, part 2

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TARGET prints a weekly national ad that is inserted into Sunday newspapers across the country and are prominently displayed near their retail store entrances.

The week of 29 September through 04 October 2008, on page 9 are the TARGET DVD Tuesday promotions, featuring g the first release of Iron Man on DVD and Blu-ray disc.

There are pictures of two TARGET exclusive editions, both confusingly similar in appearance. One is a two-disc "Deluxe" DVD collector's edition and the other is a Blu-ray Ultimate collector's edition. Both versions feature an exclusive Iron Man helmet case for their respective discs. The retail packaging of each edition is confusingly similar in appearance.

The ad includes the following text:
"Only at Target!
Blu-ray Disc and
deluxe DVD
have exclusive*
mask packaging
and additional
bonus footage."

The asterisked text, in super fine print at the bottom of the page states:
"Quantities limited, no rain checks." (more about this, below)

I don't have a Blu-ray player, so I was never interested in the TARGET exclusive Blu-ray edition.

I am very interested in the TARGET exclusive two-disc DVD "Deluxe" edition (item # 058-17-1391); so much so, that, on DVD Tuesday, I drove 24 miles, to three "nearby" TARGET stores in an effort to purchase one unit. By 12 noon, none of the stores still had any units of item # 058-17-1391 in stock.

Judging from the shelf and end cap space allocated to the exclusive "Deluxe" DVD and the exclusive Blu-ray versions in the "mask packaging," it appeared that the ratio of DVD to Blu-ray stocked was 1-to-3; which I thought was odd, since DVD continues to generally outsell Blu-ray by at least 3-to-1 in my area.

If TARGET wanted to *maximize* sales, it should have stocked in the opposite proportions in my area. In fact, there were many copies of the TARGET exclusive Blu-ray units still on the shelves and end caps at all of the TARGET stores I visited.

No store associate at any of the stores was willing to find out whether or not and, if so, when item # 058-17-1391 would be restocked. This lack of service drove me to call the 800 numbers, where I was eventually directed to the TARGET Customer Experience line at 800-440-0680.

[ When you call the TARGET Customer Experience number, you may always asked to be transferred to North America. This is very important, because the call centers in India are a) culturally clueless about details like popular DVD titles newly released in the United States and b) repeatedly dispense wildly inaccurate, if not flat out useless, information. Be aware that North America does not answer the phones on the weekends, though. ]

I called into TARGET Customer Experience on DVD Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday (stuck in the hold queue for >40 minutes), Sunday (05 October) and Monday (06 October). All on the same case number, starting Wednesday. My call on DVD Tuesday, that went to India, was a complete waste of my time, because no case number was generated from the start.

At first, TARGET Customer Experience had a very difficult time confirming the item #; but I was eventually assured that this was the correct item #, that the item was still "current," that more units were already being shipped to the same stores that I had visited, but that there was no way to know, at all, when the units would arrive in any of the stores. As of 06 October, none of the stores had been resupplied.

The national database also contained errors about the item still being in stock at two stores, one that I had visited and another store nearly 34 miles away from me (68 miles round trip!!!). My direct calls to the manager of those two stores confirmed that no units of the item I wanted were really in stock. I also revisited all three stores again on Sunday, 05 October, and confirmed that only the TARGET exclusive Blu-ray units were in stock at those stores. One store associate tried to get me to buy a TARGET exclusive Blu-ray edition, even though I had already explained that I do not own a Blu-ray disc player, just for the mask disc case.

(I know of people who *accidentally* bought the Blu-ray version, not realizing that it was higher priced and not the DVD edition. When they got home, broke the shrink wrap and tried to play the Blu-ray disc in a a standard DVD player, they found themselves in TARGET Return Merchandise hell. I don't ever buy anything with a premeditated intention of returning it for something else later on. I only buy what I need/want and refuse to play any games.)

On Monday, 06 October, no units I wanted were still in stock in any of the nearby stores, or even in the store 34 miles away. Once again, I was told that the item is still "current," was already en route to the various stores in question, but with absolutely no estimated time of arrival at any store.

I asked TARGET Customer Experience to grant me a raincheck on one unit at the original promotional price of US$22.99, for whenever the item became available in-store.

My request was flatly denied by a "supervisor" at TARGET Customer Experience.

When I asked to escalate the matter within TARGET, I was told that I had to write to an encoded PO Box address for TARGET Executive Officers. When I asked for a phone number to call to speak with TARGET Executive Officers, I was told that there was no such number to call.

I then called into the main number for TARGET CHQ at 612-304-6073. While navigating the voice menu maze on that number, I was presented with an option to leave a voice message for TARGET corporate officers. When I made that selection, I was transferred back to the exact same supervisor, in TARGET Customer Experience, who had told me my only recourse was to write a letter.

This time, when I told the supervisor that I chose the option at CHQ to leave a voice message for TARGET executive officers, she put me through to that voice mailbox, where I left a message requesting a callback.

The problem is not one of "limited quantities," but one of *deliberately constrained supplies*, stuck in the Twilight Zone of TARGET retail distribution.

TARGET never stocked the item I wanted in reasonably sufficient quantities for a *nationally advertised* and specially priced/promoted item. The whole idea was to generate in-store traffic, understock exclusive DVD units, overstock exclusive Blu-ray units, and bait-and-switch DVD customers with the lesser DVD versions that could also be purchased at Costco, at a lower price than TARGET's.

This much is TARGET.

This much is Old School fraud.

San Francisco Peninsula, California

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on TARGET

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/07/2008 03:53 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Target/Minneapolis-Minnesota-55403/TARGET-Stores-National-Sunday-Ad-Bait-and-Switch-TARGET-Exclusive-Iron-Man-2-disc-DVD-De-378903. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Almost Had the oppisite problem

AUTHOR: Vminjares - (U.S.A.)

I too was looking for the Same dvd But in Blue Ray. I finally found it At a target in San Bernardino. That Target Had a Ton Of the dvd versions with the helmet, But only 1 blue ray left. I bought it and was finally happy. I went back to this target just 2 days ago and they still Have the regular Dvd Helmet, At Least 10 that I saw. Maybe you can See if they can Transfer One to your Store. The regular Price Was $24.99. Just a suggestion. The store is on Sterling ave. and Highland Ave in San Bernardino Ca. 92404. I don't know what the store # is Any Ways I hope this helps you.
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#2 Consumer Comment

What ripoff?

AUTHOR: The Consumerist - (U.S.A.)

So wheres the Bait and Switch?

Definition of bait and switch.
In retail sales, a bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertising a product or service at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute is.

They didn't lie about anything
Quantities Limited - a truth you found out that they don't have many.
No Rainchecks - once the limited editions (meaning a finite amount) is sold out there are no more.

They didn't offer you any other product you don't have a Blu-Ray player so they couldn't switch it to that otherwise you would have to return it.

You haven't lost any money so WHERE IS THE RIPOFF?
Why didn't you go to another store? Its obviously a fast selling in demand DVD. instead you whine and complain the whole way through when you can go elsewhere to pick it up.

So you've been parading around for weeks to get a DVD from Target, when another store or online retailer will have it.
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#3 Author of original report

TARGET Stores National Sunday Ad Bait and Switch: TARGET Exclusive Iron Man 2-disc DVD Deluxe Coll Ed, part 2

AUTHOR: W - (U.S.A.)

TARGET Executive Offices (TEO) called back a day later...

The TEO rep apologized for ALL of the following:

1) The inadequate and inconsistent performance of in-store TARGET sales associates

2) The inadequate and inconsistent performance of TARGET Customer Experience "supervisors" who abruptly denied my request for a raincheck on the nationally advertised item, once it took more than the time period of the ad for TCE to resolve the matter

3) Various items of misinformation that were *fabricated* and then told to me by some individuals in 1) and 2) above

4) TARGET's internal use of the *same* item # to track both a) the standard retail (available anywhere), two-disc Iron Man Collectors Edition DVD and b) the nationally advertised "TARGET exclusive," "Deluxe," two-disc Iron Man DVD, in Iron Man mask packaging, with TARGET exclusive bonus video (exclusive DVD video content exceeding the standard two-disc retail)

5) 4), above, is what caused the national database to incorrectly indicate units of the TARGET exclusive DVD in-stock, when it was not, and caused at least one TARGET Customer Experience to double check that there wasn't a "manufacturing problem" (because one item # was being used to designate and track two distinctly different items). It was confirmed on Tuesday that there are no more units being shipped to stores and no plans to do so in the near future

6) The refusal of TARGET Customer Experience "supervisors" to creatively solve my request for a price raincheck, by mailing me an in-stove cash value TARGET coupon for the difference in price, should new units of the TARGET exclusive DVD arrive in stores again.

Offers and clarifications were made:

I was told that a TARGET cash value coupon would be mailed to me, to compensate for the present price difference between the promotion price and the "regular" store price (US$3.00).

I was told that there are many customers calling into the stores, on a daily basis, still looking for the exact same item that I am. TEO notes the continued demand for this item and will relay the information to TARGET merchandising, to see if the TARGET exclusive item cannot be made available again, in stores, at some future, but unspecified, date.

I pointed out that 4) above amounts to TARGET "baiting-and-switching" itself by using the same part number for two different retail items. It should be no wonder then that customers might feel that TARGET's national ad and first release price promotion was also nothing more than bait-and-switch, because there was never any intention to maintain adequate stock in and or resupply stores during the week of the national ad.

It was confirmed that there are no units of the item I want in stock at any local area TARGET store.

The response from TEO was what I expected from TARGET Customer Experience, who abruptly became very unreasonable and unaccommodating toward me.

I am still very disappointed that I am still not able to buy one unit of the item that was advertised.

Until supplies are replenished in stores, I still consider the entire fiasco to be a matter of retail bait-and-switch by TARGET.

TARGET still wants to claim that supplies were severely limited and that the exclusive item was intended to be a personal collector's edition.

No where in the national ad was the phrase "collectors edition" or "collectors item" used by TARGET. No where did the ad limit sales to "one unit per household" (which is something that TARGET has done in the past with other comparable DVD releases).

I think the geniuses in TARGET marketing shot TARGET retail in the foot by not booking/buying more TARGET exclusive DVD quantities from the very beginning.

I won't be completely satisfied until the units are back on store shelves and I have purchased one.
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