Ask The Readers: Bad Customer Service At Old Navy?

Updated December 23, 2021 by Kyle

I am looking for some feedback on store coupon policies. A couple weeks ago my wife bought some summer clothes for our 3 kids at our local Old Navy store. She found some nice deals and ended up spend a little under $50. A couple days later we got an Old Navy coupon in the mail that was good for 20% off your order when you use your Old Navy credit card, which we have.

So my wife says, “Bummer, I just bought the kids some clothes from Old Navy a couple days ago.” Which I responded, “Not a bummer, I’m sure they will honor your coupon.” In my head I am reasoning this with a few things.

  • First, since we are Old Navy credit card holders, I am sure they will bend over backwards to keep us happy.
  • Secondly, it is just good customer service to honor a coupon in this way.
  • Thirdly, they would never say “No” because people would just return the merchandise and buy it again with the 20% off coupon.

So my wife agrees with me and the next day she goes back in the store with the coupon and clothes in the original bag. I should also point out that the clothes still have the tags on them and have not been used or washed. She walks up to the register, where she actually got the store manager, and the conversation goes like this:

My Wife: I was just in here a couple days ago and bought these clothes. Then I got this coupon in the mail for 20% off and I was wondering if you would be kind enough to honor the coupon on this purchase.
Old Navy Manager: Sorry, I can’t do that.
My Wife: But I just got this coupon in the mail.
Old Navy Manager: Sorry, ma’am, that is just our policy. But you still have a couple weeks to use that coupon on another purchase.
My Wife: What is to keep me from just returning it and buying it back with the coupon?
Old Navy Manager: (Glaring at her like she is a cheap, crazy woman.) Nothing I guess.

Ticked off, my wife left the store and called me. I had a few choice words for Old Navy customer service.

Not helping the situation, she hung up on me and decided she was just going to return the stuff. Then maybe in a couple days go back in and use the coupon.

She returned the clothes and we have yet to go back into the store. It just left a bad taste in our mouth.

I don’t think we are swindlers or cheap people. Or are we?

Or is Old Navy just acting on a sound business model by not honoring the coupon in this way? What is you opinion?

It reminds me of the whole Apple iPhone thing when they lowered the price $200 overnight and essentially said “tough luck” to those loyal Apple users who bought the phone at the original price.

After taking a heat wave of criticism, Steve Jobs finally offered a $100 store credit to anyone that bought the iPhone at the original price.

In my example, we are the loyal user who is left holding the bag of clothes at full price.

So give me your opinion! Do you agree with the Old Navy coupon policy?

Have you had a similar experience with a different outcome at Old Navy or another store? I look forward to your comments.


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Kansas Mom

I think a smaller local store would have honored the coupon, but I’m not surprised at the actions of Old Navy. They’ve never done anything like that for me when I’ve asked. I also find I have to watch the prices of everything very carefully as it rings up because they often do not show the lowest price. Finally, I think they’re return policy isn’t as flexible as many other stores.

That doesn’t keep me from shopping their clearance racks, especially for pajamas for the kids.

Daphne (One Mom In Alabama)

It seems to me that they would want to keep their customers happy. I’ve never encountered this, but I wouldn’t be happy with them at all!


I sorta don’t understand this. You say it was just a few days between purchase and the coupon in the mail, but how long could elapse before you wouldn’t think to do this? A couple of weeks? A month? Longer?

You guys were willing to spend the money that you did when you did on the clothes. The coupon was a bonus.

I feel like you grab the deals you can when they are available. (This is one reason why I am not a “first adopter” with electronics. Wait a little bit and the price almost drops.)


I am wondering did you call corp. office of Old Navy to find out there “real policy?”

I think they should had honored it. I would had returned it, then re~bought it using the coupon right then!

Shanti @ Antishay

I’ve had varying experiences at Old Navy. I had a pair of shorts start unraveling around the pockets the day I bought them, and they accepted the return no problem. I’ve also tried to do a back-refund with a coupon like you just did to no avail. *shrug* They’re not horrible, but I think it was dumb that the manager didn’t just do it for her.

By the by, you’ve been tagged to do the “memoir” meme 🙂


When I worked in retail we had a price protection guarantee… if the item went on sale within 30 days and you came back we’d honor the sale price. But the way we had to do it in the system was to return it and sell it at the lower price. I don’t know why the woman at Old Navy couldn’t have just done that. Maybe she was having a cruddy day. She shouldn’t take it out on customers, but it does happen. I agree with contacting their corporate office and asking them about their policy.

Mrs. Micah

I thought (fuzzily, because I’ve never tried it) that stores honored coupons retroactively during the return period….for just that reason. I don’t shop much for clothes (except thrift stores, which don’t have coupons), so I’m not too familiar with which stores do and don’t take belated coupons.


Hmmm…I have never had this kind of experience at Old Navy.

But the stores here honor Stuff & Save for your *entire* purchase, even if it doesn’t fit in the bag. And Old gives you 20% off your entire order with the coupon code STUFFSAVE until the Stuff & Save promotion ends.

Alison @ This Wasn't In The Plan

I’ve seen “not valid for previous purchases” written on coupons before. Could that be the deal here?

Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice-Simmons)

I am not surprised by your experience, although I can empathize since I have received similar treatment over both coupons and rainchecks at other stores. It is shocking that in this shaky economic situation, stores will not do more to keep the customers they have!

The Happy Housewife

I’m not surprised, but disappointed. As an FYI Bed, Bath, and Beyond does honor their 20% coupons retroactively.


I have done this many times at other establishments.

Just last week, I bought stuff at Target. I then found I had a $10 off coupon. I went back to the store ( didn’t even have the merchandise with me ) and took my receipt to the customer service desk.

I asked them if they could honor the coupon, or if I needed to go get the items. They said not to bother, and opened the register and handed me a $10 bill ( didn’t even credit my credit card…bonus for me, because I then still got my points ).

I have also done this at Linen N Things, Bed bath and Beyond, etc.

But, believe me…I am not above returning and rebuying. I have also had to do this at stores, when I have had the items beyond their store price adjustment time frame ( most stores seems to be 14 days to a month ).

I agree totally…return and rebuy.

Hey, and don’t be afraid to write their customer service. I do this all the time, when things like this happen.

I make my emails nice, and explain the point of view from a consumer, etc. Make a recommendation and make it sound like you are making a nice suggestion. I get gift cards, coupons, etc in the mail all the time for free products when I do this.

Most stores want feedback…especially if given nicely. They do NOT want disgruntled customers like you are now. Most of the time, corporate will bend over backwards to make it up to you.


I hate Old Navy!! Years ago I was buying over $200 of clothes and decided to sign up for the store credit card to save 10% and they declined my application! I had no idea why, I had decent credit and no problems getting any other cards, auto loans, etc. I also had a mastercard declined several months after that, and I was shocked! I stepped out of the line, called my mastercard’s 1-800 number who told me there was no problem with my card, I had over $2000 credit available on it, and it should be accepted anywhere. I told the cashier this and asked her to swipe it again. She did and it was once again declined. I haven’t shopped there since except for a couple times, and paid cash. I do not understand what is going on at that store, and I don’t like it one bit!

Kristina Cant

I’ve worked retail for a long time, and my husband still works retail. Stores think that most people will just accept the answer that is given to them and not argue, which sadly, most people do. There is a small percentage of us that will put up a fuss, to get what we want, and most of the time we do. The key is to be persistant and if you have to, ask for the corporate number. Most managers do not want to hear from the corporate office, because most corporate offices do not stand up for the store, but for the customers. Also, remember kindness is a tool. If you are kind, but firm, do not get upset, managers are willing to do for you. If you go in upset with an attitude, they will automatically shut you down. If all else fails, do what your wife did and return the item. Sometimes, it’s not worth it. Most employees who work in the stores don’t care what you do. Again sadly, customer service has gone out the window. Lastly, if you are bothered by this, call the corporate office or write them a letter. This usually works, you may get a sympathetic coupon in the mail. Whether, you use it is up to you.


I shop Old Navy online, and I have not had very good customer service. I bought a polo-style shirt for our youngest child (a boy), and the size they sent was too large. The outer plastic wrapping said 12-18 months, but the shirt was clearly tagged 3T. When I called to return it, Old Navy said they couldn’t send out an exchange or a pre-paid envelope, because the problem was “at our distribution center.” I would have to wait for them to contact the distribution center, investigate the problem, and then they would email me the pre-paid label. Of course, they offered, I could just “purchase another shirt right now and wait to return the shirt in question.” Huh?

So…. I gave the shirt to our 3rd daugher (it was a boy’s shirt, but in a girl-acceptable yellow stripe), and gave up on Old Navy. I never received a pre-paid envelope, although I did receive an email stating that the problem at the distribution center had been corrected if I’d like to re-order the item. I’ve been wary of Old Navy ever since.

Honestly, their clothes don’t hold up very well anyway. I’d rather shop the online sale pages of Gymboree, Land’s End, and Children’s Place for longer-lasting clothes. At my house, clothes need to make it through three girls and then one boy (if not too “girly”) to get respect.