A common email I receive from readers is about stores not accepting their printed Internet coupons. This can be frustrating at checkout, especially if we would have chosen a cheaper brand without the coupon savings. We are then faced with going back through the shopping aisles or just take the easy route and paying full price for what is in the cart.
Why Do Stores Refuse to Accept Coupons?
The real problem with online printable coupons began in 2003 when stores unknowingly accepted counterfeit coupons. This resulted in huge losses. The only solution was to stop accepting all online coupons. Undoubtedly manufacturers and retailers realized the potential of Internet coupons and did not want to just walk away from the problem, but they needed time to fix it. As a result, the industry worked with reputable coupon sites to find global solutions.
Today's coupons will often contain the following information:
- A scannable bar code.
- An expiration date.
- Legitimate manufacturers address.
- Standard termonology such as "one coupon per item, per customer" and no photocopies permitted.
There are steps to take in advance, to help avoid this from arising.
- Use reputable online coupon services. These companies insure the coupons offered follow the necessary security guidelines.
- Stop at the customer service counter before you shop and receive advance approval on the online printed coupons you plan to use. If the employee at the service counter does not approve your coupons, ask to speak with a manager.
- When shopping at national grocery store chains, contact the corporate office and ask for a letter which outlines the corporate online printed coupon redemption policy. Bring the letter with you to show to cashiers and store managers.
- When printing online coupons do not clip the coupon, take the entire sheet of paper. This will allow the store manager to see the name of Web site of where you got the coupons. Many times they are familiar with the company, but not the coupon.
Does all of this seem like too much hassle just save a few dollars on your grocery bill? With food prices going up, coupons are about the only way people can save and once you receive a corporate letter you can file it with your coupons and use it whenever you need it. You may also luck out and find the policy at your local store's Web site.