Coupons and discounts may not be what they seem, always read fine print for exclusions

We get them in the mail, online, even sent to our phones. They are coupons worth 10, 20 even 30% off and more during the holidays.

But how much do these types of coupons really save you? The answer is in the fine print.

Savvy shopper Jan Gerhart found that out the hard way.

She received a coupon on her smartphone from Dick's Sporting Goods. 

Well, she found a Garmin GPS watch and expected to get $25 off with the discount. When she checked out, the discount didn't show up.

At first she thought it was a mistake. But a closer look showed it wasn't.

It turns out the Dick's $25 discount didn't apply to many major brands.

"If you click on that, it opens up a list of 111 companies that their products are excluded," she said. "And there we found the Garmin watch, the Garmin Company, along with Nike, Columbia, North Face, Patagonia, Titleist, Wilson, anything else you'd want to buy," Jan said.

Dick's reported that manufacturers, not the store, make the rules.

And all of the exclusions were posted. You just had to look closely.

Many other stores have similar exclusions. Make sure to read the entire coupon--even the fine print.

Call customer service for the store to make sure that the item you want is part of the promotion.

If you are inside of a store ask an employee to direct you exactly where the promotional items can be found.

E-mail me with any consumer issue you see or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.

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