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Only on Coupons in the News:

Don’t get your hopes up just yet. But weeks after unceremoniously killing off its popular 40% off coupons, Hobby Lobby may already be preparing to bring them back.

The craft store chain made headlines late last month when it announced it would be discontinuing its weekly “40% off one item at regular price” coupons at the end of February. While the story was widely reported, Coupons in the News was the only publication to draw a potential connection between that move, and a long-running legal challenge to the way Hobby Lobby accepts and applies those coupons.

Now, a proposed settlement agreement filed with the court confirms the legal challenge is indeed what led Hobby Lobby to discontinue the coupons – and what may eventually lead the retailer to bring them back.

Two shoppers, one in Alabama and one in Florida, filed separate lawsuits against Hobby Lobby that were later combined into a single class-action case. They argued that Hobby Lobby’s couponing and pricing policies were misleading and deceptive, and deprived them of the full discount they expected.

The retailer’s 40% coupon offers a discount on a “regular-priced” item, which means you can’t use it on an item that’s on sale. But the plaintiffs discovered that there’s a murky middle ground. Many of Hobby Lobby’s items are marked as being “always 30% off” list price. Hobby Lobby argued that was a sale price, so the 40% coupon only applied to the item’s list price. The plaintiffs argued that “always” selling a product for 30% off made that the de facto regular price, to which the 40% off coupon should have been applied.

Hobby Lobby “vigorously denies that it engaged in any misrepresentations or wrongful conduct in its 40% off coupon program,” the retailer said in a court filing, but it agreed to settle the case to avoid the time and expense of further litigation. According to the terms of the proposed settlement filed with the court on Friday, eligible class members in Alabama and Florida who purchased certain items with a coupon will be notified about how to claim a one-time $14 payment once the settlement is approved.

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But there’s another stipulation in the proposed settlement that affects all Hobby Lobby shoppers, no matter what state you’re in.

“Hobby Lobby will discontinue use of its current coupon within 45 days following the court’s approval of this agreement,” the proposed settlement reads. So while Hobby Lobby’s public explanation was that it was discontinuing the coupon in order to “intensify our efforts to discount thousands of items every day” – the truth is that the discontinuation of the coupon was required under the terms of the settlement to which it had agreed.

And there’s a twist. “Hobby Lobby has agreed to revise the terms of its 40% discount coupon… the language of which should remedy the deficiencies alleged in the complaints,” the agreement reads.

The proposed settlement contains agreed-upon coupon language for future Hobby Lobby coupons. While the old coupons state that they are “good for one item at regular price only” and are “not valid with any other discount,” the new coupon language is more explicit, with a longer list of exclusions, including any “discounted price, clearance price, reduced price, (or) items marked with a yellow ‘Your Price’ sticker.”

Hobby Lobby did not respond to a request for comment about whether the elimination of its existing coupons was just an interim step, and whether and when coupons with the agreed-upon new wording might appear. It could take many months, and possibly even years, for the proposed settlement to be given final approval. So while Hobby Lobby was obligated to retire its old coupons right away, its new coupon language may not be approved for some time, which puts us in coupon limbo for a while.

Hobby Lobby is not actually obligated to resume offering coupons. But the fact that it worked out specific new wording and submitted it for the court’s approval, suggests that it’s certainly keeping that option open. And what better publicity could Hobby Lobby get, than to retire coupons for a while, see how customers react, and then tell shoppers that “we heard you” and “we’re bringing back our 40% coupon” once the settlement agreement is finalized? That could make Hobby Lobby look like the hero – and not like the chastened defendant forced to withdraw its coupons and shell out millions of dollars to customers who claim the retailer cheated them.

So, for now, you have less than two weeks to use one of Hobby Lobby’s 40% off coupons. After that, the coupons will be gone. But, depending on what happens once this legal dispute is officially settled – potentially not for long.

Image source: Hobby Lobby

11 Comments

  1. Dear Hobby Lobby, thank you for being a Faith-Based Family store. I was disappointed in losing the coupon too, but will still be using your store for all my home crafts. I feel sorry for people that have no faith in anything anymore, but are willing to try and cancel anything that doesn’t fit their agenda. I will continue to pray for everyone, no matter race, gender, bias and the two activists who should be ashamed of themselves!

  2. Brenda Thompson says:

    Yes I went into Hobby Lobby as well and noticed they were no longer accepting coupons. I like the store and the products they carry. I have had problems with another fabric store and how they accept coupons and do their discounts so this was not a big problem. We have become a society of people with a Walmart mentality. We all want our discounts. I lived overseas for a couple years and found the stores gave a discount of THREE CENTS. I had to laugh. Definitely not enough discount to make me want to drive across town to purchase the item. What is enough of a discount to make it worth your while…20%, 30%, 40% AND if they ALL went away what would we do?

  3. Carol Seger says:

    That law suit had nothing to do with unfair practices. They sued Hobby Lobby to persecute them because they’re a faith based company. Being angry because they discontinued the coupon is ridiculous. They were forced to do it. I was disappointed when I found out they wouldn’t take my coupon too. But now I know the story behind it, it was the only decision they could make. I love that store and I’m sure not petty enough to sue them for a silly coupon. Hang tough, Hobby Lobby. Many of us are behind you 100%.

  4. Helen Favaron says:

    I love going in for several items that are on sale but there is always at least one item that is regular priced that I use the 40% coupon for. I was very disappointed today when I was told, by the cashier, that they no longer have the coupon. I was already at the register ready to check out do I continue with my purchase. From now on I’ll save that one item “not on sale” for Walmart!
    I also frequently shop at JoAnns where their 40% off coupon is on “the entire purchase” guess they’ll need getting most of my business in the future.

  5. I already side eye Hobby Lobby for their ridiculous political nonsense (you’re a store, HL, leave your belief system at home where I’m expected to leave mine!), but there is no other option in my rural area to buy fabric. I have previously avoided buying online because fabric can feel so different in person but I’d rather risk it than continue to support this disaster of a store.

  6. M.B. Morris says:

    It s ]awful that a few people can cause so much trouble and spoil it for everyone. I truly like the fact you are closed on Sundays but I bet there are people out to get you all the time. This might even be the case. I too was surprised to find out coupons were gone. Your picture frames are always on sale but not the other day. So was going to use my coupon but was told no more. I will admit I almost left the frame. I will now be more careful on my purchases.

  7. Donna Johnston says:

    How disappointed I was to find out there are no more coupons. I got the shock at the register. Did not know the coupon had been discontinued. I bought wide fabric that I wanted use the coupon on. Guess I’ll wait til Jo-Ann has it on sale.

  8. Rebecca Horton says:

    Thanks hobby lobby for canceling your coupon because you have assured that I will not enter your store as often and when I do I’ll make sure I only buy the one thing that I went in there for. Lots of times I bought plenty without ever using a coupon but today I wanted to use it and got the surprise that oh that’s been discontinued whatever I don’t need to shop there

    • Did anyone actually read the article? The idiots that sued Hobby Lobby caused them to remove the coupon! Blame the sue happy dummies!

  9. Martha Cooper says:

    I am SO SO disappointed , I love going to Hobby Lobby
    it’s like being on a FIELD TRIP and one of the reasons i love it is the coupons . And now NO COUPONS this is just a BUMMER for all of us who LOVE going on a field trip.
    PLEASE BRING BACK THE COUPONS

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