Barnes & Noble / store coupon terms are misleading

United States

Until the beginning of this month, I had no trouble using the "percent-off-one-item" store coupons to purchase magazines at a local barnes & noble store, since I don't often buy books.

However, earlier this month, I was bluntly told by the cashier when she went to use it that it wasn't eligible, but I replied that this is not stated on the coupon. She refused to honor the coupon even though I tried to explain repeatedly that it doesn't say this, just stating that her "screen" told her it wasn't eligible.

I contacted b&n customer service to get a clear answer why I can no longer purchase magazines if they are not listed on these coupons as one of the items that are not eligible, and after several vacant e-mails back and forth in which I was asked for more information, I was then told that "according to the terms and conditions of this promotion, the coupon could not be applied to magazines".
I replied again asking for the specific terms on the coupon that state this, and they then replied that it came under "purchases made from third parties accessible from the website (E. G. , used books, pc and video games, etc. ). "
How does this apply to my purchase? I was in their retail store when purchasing the magazine. After saying as much and complaining heavily that this wasn't a satisfactory explanation, that the coupon should clearly state that magazines aren't eligible, and that I would not recommend them to anyone, I received one more reply today with the following message:
"thank you for writing to us. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We reviewed your concerns. Your feedback is very important to us at barnes & noble and we appreciate your taking the time to send us your opinion. We assure you that we have reviewed the issues you have raised with the appropriate people on our groupon team and they are under consideration for implementation. We truly value your patronage; your online shopping experience is extremely important to us.
Once again, please accept our sincere apologies and we thank you for your time sending us your comments. We look forward to your next visit. "

Note it says online shopping experience. Just one more thing that tells me they really don't feel that our "shopping experiences" are that important since they don't properly pay attention to what is sent before issuing a reply.

What would this have cost them? They would have made a sale one way or the other. It's ridiculous that rather than give me what would only amount to maybe one or two dollars' discount at most, they would prefer to send me numerous e-mails back and forth that basically give nothing in the way of a legitimate answer, and then add insult to injury by thanking me for my "comments" and "feedback", which they would then consider in the future because my business is important to them.

It may be a relatively small matter to complain about, but the fact that they list specific items that are not eligible and also add vague terms on the same coupon, tells me that they just wish to cover themselves whenever they find they cannot provide a legitimate reason for why they don't want to honor a particular product with the discount. If they don't know what to say to a customer when they know that a valid point has been raised, they can just throw the "third-party" line at them to avoid a legal issue.

It's clear from the number of negative comments I have found about b&n online, that I am not the only one who has had bad experiences with them. I will definitely never recommend them to anyone, and if I can find somewhere else to buy my magazines from, i'll gladly avoid them in the future.

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