Carl's Jr. customers turned away with valid coupons

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX - A change of heart or a change of policy? That's the question 3TV asked after a Valley fast-food restaurant seemed to reverse itself on a coupon that's created quite a controversy.

The Carl's Jr. on East Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix has a coupon circulating that advertises free hand-breaded chicken strips this week. Even though the dates say valid through Sunday, customers say a police officer at the door said, "Sorry, not today."

Customer Thurston Cummings says he was turned away yesterday.

"I went down the other day, and they didn't have a problem with it," he said. "So I stopped in yesterday, and they turned me away."

Cummings spends most of his afternoons at the nearby library and says in this tough economy, he relies on these coupons for his daily meals.

The same goes for a Valley mother who was hoping to use her coupon for lunch this afternoon.

"They said they're not taking the photo copies anymore and that's it," Tammy said.

But that would change once the employees noticed 3TV at the door. An employee picked up the phone, said a few words, and moments later the officer who was instructed to turn coupon carriers away walked out of the restaurant, and customers with coupons were able to use them.

When we tried to get answers from the Carl's Jr. corporate offices in California, we either got a recording or were transferred to voicemail. So far, the messages left have not been returned.

Customer Carita Landrum says she also tried to call.

"Corporate doesn't respond. I left my email address. I left my name, my phone number, and they just don't address it. I haven't eaten today so it is what it is," she said.