What to do if your cashier says: “this coupon is more than the price of item so we can’t take it”.

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I've had this question come up quite often in the last few weeks so I thought I'd blog about and try to help you know what to do the next time this happens when you're at the store.

First of all, almost every store (Walgreens, Target, CVS, Wal-mart, Homeland etc.) will have a written coupon policy.  Keep a copy of every store's policy that you shop at in your coupon binder.  This can save you a lot of stress with you have a problem at check out.

Most of the major stores address this problem in their coupon policy.  It will say something like ” if the coupon is more than the price of the item then the coupon will be adjusted down to that price”.  Don't let them tell you they can't take a coupon just because it's value is more than the price of the product.  As long as the coupon doesn't have any restrictions on it that would exclude what you are trying to buy then they will be reimbursed by the manufacturer for the price you paid.  All they have to do is write the price you paid on the coupon so that when they turn in their receipts and coupons to the clearinghouse they will match. This insures that they will be reimbursed for the coupon.

Unfortunately, because of high turnover, many cashiers haven't been trained concerning their store's coupon policy and have no idea they can adjust the coupon down.  That's where having a copy of the store's coupon policy comes in handy….you can show them what is acceptable to do.  To go one step further (especially if you have a manager who doesn't know the policy either), if you have an iPhone or any other internet device with you, bring up their coupon policy from their website and show it to them….it's hard for them to argue if they see it in black & white from their own website!

If the cashier won't listen, ask for a supervisor or the manager.  If there's a long line behind me I'll usually just check out, take my coupons and receipt to customer service and talk to a manager there.  If you have the time, call corporate right then and try to get someone on the phone that can explain the policy to the manager.  Remember, you can always void your transaction…you don't have to buy anything if they won't take your coupons.

Please be nice and polite whatever the situation. You can be firm & stand your ground without raising your voice or getting mad.  Always respect the cashier and the manager as you you would want to be respected.  No matter how wrong they are they still have the final say as to whether they will accept your coupon or not.  There is no law that states they have to accept coupons and you'll more likely get listened to if you're not being cranky.  If after all this they still say no, just smile and thank them.  Another deal will come along…I know this is hard to do when you've spent time making your list, organizing your coupons only to have the store not take them but if they don't, getting mad won't change their minds.  You don't want to burn any bridges where coupons are concerned…the manager will remember how you acted the last time you had a problem and that will probably influence how much he/she helps you out the next time.

Always call corporate and let them know what happened…..tell them you showed the cashier/manager the coupon policy and they still wouldn't take your coupon.  Also let them know how you were treated by the employees.

Some of the newer stores (Targets) have registers that scan the coupons and automatically adjust the value of the coupon down if it's more than the product.  I'm hoping all stores will eventually go to these types of registers.

Below are links to some coupon policies:

Walgreens coupon policy
Target coupon policy
Walmart coupon policy (does not address the coupon adjusting in their policy but most managers know they can do it.)
Homeland coupon policy
Buy For Less coupon policy (will not adjust coupons down – they don't except any coupons for more than 75% of the cost of the item)

I can't find a written copy of the CVS policy on their website….if anyone finds one let me know.

Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions…we're here to help!

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  1. This happens to me ALL THE TIME at my local WalMart. It’s always when I have a ton of stuff and I’m tired too so when they cop an attitude with me about it and tell me the manager’s at lunch or some BS, I walk away and leave the belt full with my items. Of course I get my coupons back first.

    I usually email and call corporate but that’s never been any help to me at all.

  2. Hi, Does anybody know how coupons work at the Dollar Tree? What if the coupon is more than the $1.00 cost of the item?

  3. Family dollar policy actually states that they will not take coupons that are worth more than the price of the item.

    1. Hi Michael, yes some stores have changed their policy to not take coupons over the price of the item. Thanks for letting us know about Family Dollar. Walgreens is the only other store we know of that has that policy 🙂

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