Do Stores Have to Accept Coupons?
Every week, customers clip coupons from their advertisers, print out coupons online, and arrange these money-saving deals in their coupon holders before hitting their local shops. However, these individuals may not realize that there is a small – but possible – chance that the stores they visit could refuse their coupons. Understanding this situation can help them prepare for this possibility should it occur to them.
Stores May Refuse Coupons
Here’s a fact that many consumers aren’t going to appreciate: stores have no obligation to accept coupons. Retailer’s accepting coupons is considered a privilege and not a right. Now most retailers are going to accept coupons from a buyer because denying them affects discount deals and that customer’s loyalty.
That said, a retailer could easily deny a customer’s coupon because they have no legal obligation to accept a manufacturer’s coupons. Often, this occurs when a company changes its coupon acceptance policy with little to no warning. For example, a company may suddenly decide to stop accepting double and triple coupons as a way of saving money.
But why would a retailer deny a coupon when they not only get compensation for accepting them but also retain customers more readily when they do take coupons? These reasons usually revolve around the store and not the customer using the coupons. So understanding why manufacturers refuse coupons prepares you for the day when it happens to you.
Why Stores May Refuse Coupons
Coupon refusal is a confusing and upsetting situation. A consumer may feel like they did something wrong or that the store is trying to punish them. However, coupon refusal rarely has anything to do with the customer. Here are a few reasons why a store may suddenly start refusing coupons.
New Coupon Acceptance Policies
The effects of extreme couponing often hit many small stores hard, which is why some shops may change their acceptance policies. As a result, they may not accept coupons printed before a certain date, refuse doubling and tripling, or no longer take competitor coupons.
Sometimes, changes in management may affect how stores accept and process their coupons. As a result, coupons printed before this change might be voided or denied until the new manufacturer fully understands the situation. Thankfully, this is usually a temporary problem.
A store that suffers from high levels of coupon fraud may suddenly decide to stop accepting a certain deal. This situation is complicated if the deal is offered online, as these types are easier to create fraudulently. As a result, stores are more likely to refuse online coupons than printed ones.
Stores struggling to remain solvent may stop accepting coupons because they cannot afford to provide those deals. Shops in this situation are likely going to inevitably close, sadly. However, this store may accept coupons later if they have store-closing clearance sales.
Issues With a Customer
While most coupon refusal is not related to a customer, there may be instances in which customers trigger refusal. For example, a customer may abuse their coupon privileges or attempt coupon fraud. These situations may void a consumer’s use of deals, as the store would rather not have this consumer in their shop.
How to React If Stores Refuse Coupons
If you have done nothing wrong and a store refuses your coupon, the first step to take is to ask them why. Sometimes, refusal is a mistake caused by a new employee poorly understanding the order processing system. In this situation, the employee may need to talk to their manager to get help applying coupons to your order.
If this is not the case, listen to what the employee – and their manager – has to say about the coupon denial. Be rational while you talk about this situation and refer to their coupon policy to better understand why it was refused. In some cases, the manager may also be uncertain of the fine-print associated with coupon use and may need help understanding it.
Most importantly, avoid getting angry and remain calm if the store sticks by their refusal. At this point, you have two choices that you can make. The first is to buy the products anyway and leave the store. The other is to make a scene and leave the store without purchasing the goods. Remember: you have no legal obligation to buy those products even if they’ve been scanned.
This approach probably feels satisfying at the time but can be embarrassing to remember later. People who make a scene in this way may feel uncomfortable going back to the store again or may even be banned from coming back. You could also talk to corporate managers and let them know what happened. In some instances, this could solve the misunderstanding.