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The Boston Globe

Business

CONSUMER ALERT

A lesson from Jordan’s deal: use coupons quickly

Q.I spent $2,805.73 at Jordan’s Furniture during their heavily promoted “Monster Hit Bounceback,’’ where a Jordan’s sign was placed in Fenway Park. If a Red Sox player hit the ball on the sign, everyone who bought furniture at Jordan’s would get their money back and if nobody hit the sign, you would get 20 percent of your total qualified purchases back as a credit toward a future purchase.

I received a coupon in the mail for $561.15. Awesome. The coupon expired Feb. 29. I realized this on March 4. Not so awesome. I e-mailed Jordan’s to see if they had some flexibility. They replied within a day and reminded me that the coupon expired Feb. 29. Any chance you can make a few phone calls for me?

Brendan Lafferty, Taunton

A. Sadly, I struck out on this one, which isn’t a surprise. But it should serve notice to others who have something of value that could expire.

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It’s also pretty clear this isn’t the only case of money going down the drain. Stores can bank on a number of consumers losing track of coupons like this one. Jordan’s spokeswoman Heather Copelas wouldn’t say what percentage of those who received the coupons didn’t redeem them.

“Our Monster Hit coupons were distributed via mail to customers at the end of the 2011 regular Red Sox season,’’ Copelas said. “Each coupon clearly stated terms and conditions, including expiration date. Customers had the opportunity to use their 20 percent rebate from October 2011 through Feb. 29, 2012 - a five-month time frame.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Lafferty did not have an opportunity to redeem his coupon. We hope that he understands that Jordan’s, in fairness to all of our customers, is obligated to abide by terms and conditions of this promotion.’’

The state Consumer Affairs office noted that since customers didn’t pay for the bonus - it was a prize promotion - the store could set the terms of expiration as long as it was upfront about it. It was.

“While I appreciate that they took the time to call,’’ Lafferty said, “the expensive lesson is learned. Use those coupons/gift cards/credits quickly.’’

Well said.

Mitch Lipka has been helping consumers for two decades. He writes the Consumer Alert blog on Boston.com. He can be reached at ConsumerNews @aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @mitchlipka.

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