Ad Alert


Coupon for 20 percent off is far from a shoo-in.

Crocs’ footwear isn’t the only thing full of holes. A coupon the company emails to new newsletter subscribers for 20 percent off their next purchase is also causing some to vent. Why? Despite a very clear promise in the email that there are “NO EXCLUSIONS!” guess what, there are. reader Brenda B. wrote in:

I tried to use the coupon with a sale priced item on their website, and the coupon ended up excluding sale priced items. If the coupon says No Exclusions, there should not be anything excluded.

And yet, by our count, there are about 180 shoes that are ineligible for the discount because they are on sale on (We corroborated Brenda’s account by signing up for the newsletter ourselves and trying to use the coupon code we received on a pair of clogs that were $20 off; while the Crocs site said it had applied the additional discount, there was no change in price.)

A closer look at the Sometimes termed “mouse print” or, more benignly, “disclosure language”, and presented in miniscule font. It is there to take back every enticing offer made in the ad. of the email with the coupon reveals the disclaimer, “Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.” Apparently, this means sales. But, to quote the FTC, “What the headline giveth, the fine print cannot take away.” In other words, the footnote doesn’t get the shoemaker off the hook.

Find more of our coverage on fine print here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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