To Honor or Not Honor a Coupon

To Honor a Coupon or Not? Photo Courtesy of Frieda Tucker. Above Promotions Company, Tampa, FL 2012
To Honor a Coupon or Not? Photo Courtesy of Frieda Tucker. Above Promotions Company, Tampa, FL 2012

A recent experience by someone close to me really sent my marketing mind in a tizzy. I was in shock to see how even a larger “small” business with thousands of customers could handle a situation poorly.

Ready to hear what perplexed me? For purposes of this story, let’s call the main character Jon.

One Sunday afternoon Jon located a coupon for an oil change on a national coupon website for a local Toyota car dealership. Jon downloaded and printed the coupon. He immediately called the dealership to make an early morning appointment to obtain the service on that upcoming Wednesday. After a lengthy process of taking his contact and car information, the appointment was set.

Upon arriving early that Wednesday, the personnel in the service department refused to honor the coupon. Although the coupon had one rate and no stipulations on it but the expiration date, the employee at the dealership stated they could not offer the rate because his car was not a Toyota. The deal was only for Toyota cars. A big detail that the marketing department failed to include when submitting the promotion to the national coupon website. Jon eventually left without the oil change. The dealership lost their business and those who heard the story.

This incident really baffled me. With no restrictions on the coupon, nor the appointment setter asking anything regarding the coupon, you would think on customer service alone, the dealership would honor the coupon. Yet they chose not to, or should I say the personnel Jon spoke to opted to not offer it.

Is this coupon out in cyberspace to bait people to come into their dealership? Or does the dealership need to work on their customer service levels? Or maybe those in the marketing department need to articulate the rules of the promotion? Perhaps it is all three.

I pose this question to all of my business owners, would you honor or not honor a coupon that your organization submitted for a promotion regardless if you failed to include restrictions on it?

Please share your thoughts below. It could be used for an upcoming article.


Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit today.


Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.