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Promo code doesn’t work. Do I still have to pay full price?

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Ronald Spicer Jr. thinks he’s found a great deal on candles. But then the final bill comes in, he owes an extra $117. Turns out the Yankee Candle promo code didn’t work. Is he due a refund?

Q: I ordered candles from Yankee Candle Co. during a recent promotional sale. I used a promotional code, but Yankee Candle Co. charged me the full price instead.

The company acknowledged the error in subsequent phone conversations and assured me that once my order was shipped they would issue a refund. But to date it has not been issued.

Yankee Candle Co. charged $29 each for six large jar candles, but should have charged me $11 each. I’ve been a Yankee Candle customer for many years. This latest purchase was the only time I’ve ever had any kind of issue. Can you help me get a refund of the difference ($111 plus $6 in sales tax)? — Ronald Spicer Jr., Porter, Me.

A: Those Yankee Candle promo codes should have worked. And if they didn’t, the company should have promptly refunded the extra money, as promised.

I don’t know about you, but I find discount codes to be maddening. You reach the end of a transaction and see that field for entering a code. Then you spend the next half hour feverishly searching for a code that may or may not give you a small discount or “free” shipping.

And when the code doesn’t work — well that really burns your wick.

Let’s push “rewind” for a second. You had a code, plugged it in, and it didn’t work. At that point, you really have to think twice before continuing. Remember, companies love to take your money and hate to return it. So the odds of getting Yankee Candle to refund the difference were not good. You pushed the “buy” button anyway and you got lucky. Someone at Yankee Candle promised you a refund.

You kept a comprehensive paper trail of your case, which is great. I can see where they promised you a refund and you waited patiently. At the risk of repeating myself, companies take their sweet time with refunds. You should have had an almost instant credit on your card, but instead, you had to wait several weeks. (I’ve seen much, much longer delays.)

You could have appealed this missing promo code problem to someone higher up. But finding a corporate contact wasn’t easy. Yankee Candle is owned by Newell Brands, an Atlanta company that also owns Chesapeake Bay Candle and WoodWick. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/newell-brands Newell’s executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.

I wish companies didn’t play price games with their customers. The current system forces you to go on a wild goose chase for a code or to use a plug-in like Honey to get the price you want. Why don’t businesses just offer their best price? I guess it feels good when you get a “deal” but it can also lead to frustration.

I contacted Newell Brands about your nonworking Yankee Candle promo code. “We stand behind our promises to our consumers and we are very sorry for the delay to process the refund,” a representative said. The company processed a $117 refund, as promised.

 

Christopher Elliott is an author, consumer advocate and journalist. Contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/help or follow him on social media.

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