Subtle Online Price Change
ONLINE -- December 26, 2013. I am submitting the email sent to GNC in its entirety.
"This correspondence does not contain an inquiry, but a courtesy notice that I will be placing a negative review online concerning GNC.org and will not be doing business with the company in the future. I have been a GNC customer for many years, but until the last few months I have always shopped at the retail stores. I now live too far away from any retail store, and must place my orders online. Today I attempted to order multiples of an $8.99 product with the "buy one, get one half off" promotion, as well as the "$10 off any purchase of $50 or more" code 22554 promotion. My shopping cart appropriately priced the product bottles at a total of $53.92 until I entered the "22554" code, when my new subtotal equaled $56.44 . I realized the price of the 1/2 off product bottle had risen from $4.49 to $5.12, and at one point even to $5.33 as I changed quantities in an effort to understand the new numbers. I called customer service hoping that the change in price was a computer glitch and not an attempt to take advantage of any lack of notice on my part. During a 20 minute discussion, however, customer service could only state and restate that both promotions could not be used simultaneously, without being able to explain why the second bottle did not revert to the original $8.99 price if that were the case. Either the second bottle should be 1/2 off, or it should be full price...not anywhere in between. I ended the conversation with customer service and ordered a similar product from another company for less money. To my surprise, I received a follow up phone call from the GNC customer service representative who attempted to convince me that the price difference was due to my full purchase amount dropping below the $50 minimum order causing shipping charges to be added. I informed him that my full purchase price of 4 bottles at $8.99 each and 4 bottles at $4.49 equals $53.92 which is in fact more than $50. At no time did the representative offer to credit the $0.63 difference in price for the 4 bottles despite being unable to explain the discrepancy, and notwithstanding my statement that I had found a similar product for less money with another company while on the phone with him. I have concluded that GNC increased the price of the product in the hopes that I as a consumer would either not notice the price difference or decide the extra money was not worth the effort of rectifying. While I do not mind losing money to an honest mistake on the part of the company or one of their representatives, I will lose money before I will allow myself to be purposely cheated, which is my only conclusion in light of no other possibilities posed by the customer representative after two phone conversations of nearly 25 minutes total. I will no longer conduct any business with GNC and will be posting this experience for others to be forewarned. I do not wish for any offers or promotions from your company, but am simply providing the information for your company since I will be providing for those outside of your company."
Update: December 27, 2013. I received a response to my email this morning. "Please accept our sincere apologies for the difficulties you experienced placing an order at our promotional pricing. The details of the $10 off promotion state the following: 'Some exclusions apply, Does not combine with any online only promotions.' As our BOGO is an online only promotion it is not combinable." Following were 3 paragraphs of generic response, none of which explained why the price changed from $4.49 to $5.12 instead of reverting to the full price as would be the case if the offers were not combinable. I requested that the company not contact me again unless the price change could be reasonably explained, and that I was actually insulted and angered by this mathematically illogical response. I still believe this price change is an attempt to cheat the customer, and three contacts with customer service has not changed my opinion.