Canadian shoppers feel duped by U.S. mall's at-par promotion

Several Canadian shoppers are crying foul, saying a U.S. mall misled them when it offered "at par" sales this past long weekend.

Promotion was meant to entice Canadians for cross-border shopping despite low loonie

Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, Wash., was offering Canadians at-par deals during the Victoria Day long weekend. But many shoppers say the actual deal was not what was promised. (Bellisfair.com)

Several Canadian shoppers are crying foul, saying a U.S. mall misled them when it offered "at par" sales this past long weekend.

The deal was meant to entice Vancouverites to shop across the border at the Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, Wash. At least 20 stores, including Macy's, JCPenny and Gap, were advertised as accepting the loonie at par with the U.S. greenback. 

However, the fine print for the promotion states the discount is applied in the form of a percentage off at point of sale, and would not exceed 25 per cent. The retailers were not accepting Canadian currency at par, but gave the discount to shoppers who showed Canadian ID

Some of the cross-border shoppers did not like what they saw and took to social media to vent.

Mall apologizes for confusion

Bellis Fair Mall apologized to some upset customers. (Bellis Fair)

The mall's social media team responded to some upset shoppers, adding it apologized for the confusion. It also said the mall had a Canadian currency exchange booth set up at one of its kiosks for customer convenience. 

In an earlier interview with CBC, Bellis Fair estimated it had lost about 25 per cent of its Canadian traffic compared with two years ago when the loonie was above 90 cents US.

The idea of the "at par" promotion was conceived by Bellis Fair's senior general manager, René Morris.

"I just thought, how can we help our Canadian shoppers?" she said. "They want to come, but the loonie is low."

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