Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010, 10:24 PM ??? Updated: Friday, November 12, 2010, 12:44 AM
A Jefferson County woman has filed a federal lawsuit against Target Corporation, claiming two area stores did not give her full credit for manfacturers' coupons she presented for purchases of baby wipes, frozen meals and baby food in September.
Target's treatment of manufacturers' coupons -- not giving full value for the coupons -- has been the subject of news stories since this summer.
Amy Reilly, spokeswoman for the Minnesota-based store chain, told The Birmingham News on Thursday that the chain had implemented a systemwide fix for Target stores nationwide to address the manufacturers' coupon issue. "We certainly regret the inconvenience to guests," she said.
Target often blames glitches in its computer system to account for the company-wide behavior "but they never correct these glitches," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Birmingham on behalf of Michelle Norris against Target Corp. and Target Stores Inc., seeks class action status in order to represent others nationwide who presented a valid manufacturer's coupon for merchandise since Nov. 1, 2004.
A phone message to the Montgomery attorney who filed the lawsuit, W. Daniel "Dee" Miles, III, was not returned Thursday afternoon.
According to the lawsuit, Norris was shopping Sept. 8 at the Target on U.S. 280 when she presented a manufacturer's coupon she had gotten online for Huggies brand baby wipes. The coupon stated she could buy three packages of the wipes and get $2.50 off the purchase price.
The lawsuit claims Norris instead received a credit of $2.39 for the coupon.
Later that same day, Norris went to the Target store in Hoover and bought three other packages of the same baby wipes with an identical coupon and again received a $2.39 credit, according to the lawsuit.
On Sept. 21, Norris presented at a Target store a Heinz North America coupon to save $4 off any 10 Weight Watchers products, the lawsuit claims. The store deducted $1.80 for the coupon. On that same visit, a $1 coupon Norris presented for buying seven Earth's Best Baby Food Jars was credited with 57 cents, according to the lawsuit.
All the coupons reimburse the stores the face value of the coupon, plus 8 cents for handling the redemption, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that Target receives a "monetary windfall" from its coupon policy and discourages the use of coupons.
Target, the lawsuit claims "is benefiting by and through the manipulation of paying the consumer less than the value of the coupon, while having the ability to redeem the coupon with the manufacturer for full face value in addition to the handling fee."
The lawsuit states a Minnesota television station reported on the issue in August.
The lawsuit claims breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, and fraud.
Besides seeking class-action status, the lawsuit, among other things, seeks an unspecified amount of money for compensatory and punitive damages, creation of a trust, and costs incurred on the lawsuit.
Also on Tuesday, a Los Angeles County, Calif., woman filed a class-action lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that she did not get full credit for manufacturers' coupons for baby products at Target.
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