JCPenney’s Black Friday Fail

November 20th, 2018

JCPenney just threw the whole concept of expiration dates into question.

The above JCPenney coupon, for $10 off select toys priced at $50 or more, clearly states that it expires Nov. 21. But try and enter the code found on the other side of the coupon on jcp.com right now and you’ll be told that “The coupon entered has expired.”

Yes, it is Nov. 20. No, you are not caught in a time warp.

The reason you can’t cash in on this coupon is because JCPenney has “activated” its Black Friday deals, the department store chain said on Twitter earlier this week in response to a consumer who complained:

There is no indication of this policy in the coupon’s fine print, though there is a line where JCPenney gives itself broad authority to “refuse, or limit the use of, any coupon … for any reason, including recurring disruptive behavior.”

Yet it appears that the only recurring disruptive behavior is JCPenney’s deactivation of coupons that may have yet to expire. The company had these parting words for the consumer on Twitter:

We appreciate you taking the time to give us your feedback so that it can be forwarded and taken into future consideration when it comes to deactivation of our promotional offers/coupons during our Black Friday specials.

But if JCPenney knows in advance when it is going to run its Black Friday specials, how difficult can it be to ensure that coupons like the one above end before Black Friday deals begin? It’s not like Black Friday isn’t the day after Thanksgiving every year.

In response to a media inquiry by TINA.org, a JCPenney spokeswoman addressed the company’s Twitter exchange, saying, “There was some confusion on our end with our customer care team,” without explaining further. She then put the blame on “a technical difficulty with processing the promo code online on top of our Black Friday prices” and said that the coupon will be honored in store and online, though online orders may require the help of customer care.

Find more of our coverage on Black Friday here.

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