How Many Times Can a Coupon Be Used?
Savvy buyers may try to stack or save coupons in a way that makes multiple uses possible. However, this situation isn’t as easy as they may think. Understanding how many times a coupon can be used helps a buyer avoid serious and criminal behaviors, such as coupon fraud.
Coupon Use is Limited to One Time
When a coupon is printed, it is as good as money to the retailer when it is used and sent back to the manufacturer. Once a coupon is used in this way, the manufacturer owes the retailer the savings amount passed on to the buyer. As a result, a coupon is only good to the retailer once because the manufacturer won’t reimburse multiple uses.
Therefore, consumers shouldn’t expect more than one use of a coupon. Most retailers will immediately take the coupon once it is used and store it in a safe place until they send it back to the manufacturer. But what about delivery coupons for food? For example, let’s say somebody has a coupon for 50 percent off of a large pizza delivery, but the driver does not take the coupon.
In this instance, the individual with the coupon could – technically – use the coupon again. This act, however, could be considered coupon fraud if the consumer is caught. This type of behavior is illegal and could be punishable by fines and even jail time. However, many printed delivery coupons are not one-to-one coupons but are, instead, an indication of a deal run by the company.
If this is the case with a food delivery company, the coupon has no actual cash value and is, instead, an advertisement. As a result, the person making the order doesn’t need to present the coupon nor does the driver need to collect it. So please make sure to carefully read the print on the coupon to understand what the offer states and what limitations may apply.
All Coupons Have Limitations
Typically, coupon use is limited to once per coupon with very few exceptions. For example, a loyalty card with multiple purchases on it may be scanned several times to produce deals. Loyalty cards of these types are often provided by multiple types of manufacturers and retailers, including clothing stores and restaurants.
These types of coupons typically only activate when a person makes multiple purchases at a retailer. For example, a reward card for a coffee shop may require 10 purchases of a drink before a buyer can get a free drink. This loyalty card, though used just one, may be cleared and reused again once the buyer purchases the appropriate number of items to activate it.
However, these loyalty cards are a very rare exception and are usually not considered true coupons. But, like coupons, loyalty cards are not a right but a privilege granted to the buyer. Using one creates an informal agreement between the retailer and the buyer but not a legally-binding one – unless otherwise stated by the company. As a result, a seller could refuse a loyalty card at any time. This fact will vary depending on the language includes in any formal loyalty card agreement, however.
The Fine Print Matters
Buyers also need to pay special attention to the fine print on a coupon to understand other ways that it may be used. For example, the print “Limit ONE coupon per item” means what the text says, and a buyer cannot stack coupons of any type on a product to save even more money. This type of setup is typical in most stores because it helps to avoid serious financial loss.
For example, imagine if a store ran a manufacturer deal for $0.50 off of a brand of cottage cheese but also ran a retailer’s sale for $1.00 a purchase of two containers of the same cottage cheese brand. That would be savings of $1.50, which in some cases may be near the actual price of some cottage cheese purchases. Stores that don’t allow coupon stacking would tell the buyer that they have to choose one coupon over the other to avoid this issue.
These coupon policies will vary depending on a store and its specific needs. For example, most shops require that a coupon has the phrase “Manufacturer Coupon” printed on it. They must also have a barcode that can be scanned to track the coupon use. Expiration dates, addresses to the company, and more should also be printed on the coupon to make it valid.
These factors are essential to consider because they can seriously affect how the coupon is utilized. For example, a person who does not use a coupon by the expiration date is going to be very disappointed when it is rejected at the cash register. Others may be surprised to find that certain limitations restrict how the coupon may be used, including ineligibility with specific deals.