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Stores can refuse your coupons
Question: I tried to redeem coupons at a store in my area and was told they do not accept coupons. Is a store that sells Colgate toothpaste not required by the manufacturer of Colgate to accept manufacturer coupons for their products?
Answer: Having stores accept your coupons is a privilege, never a right.
Believe it or not, no stores are required to accept manufacturer coupons at all. The right to accept or refuse coupons always lies with the store. That said, it certainly is advantageous for stores to accept manufacturer coupons. If a store does not accept them and its competitors do, the store has to accept that it's at a disadvantage.
While a store receives reimbursement for the manufacturer coupons it accepts, this doesn't happen instantly. The store sends coupons to a clearinghouse to be scanned and totaled and the reimburse-ment process begins. If a store does not want to wait to be reimbursed for accepting coupons, it could choose not to accept them.
Unfortunately, coupon fraud is another reason stores opt out. A small local grocer in my area will no longer accept coupons due to fraud.
To find out what kinds of coupons a particular store accepts, read your store's coupon policy. Many stores have their coupon policies available online on the store's website or at the customer service counter in the store.
Question: If a manufacturer coupon can be accepted anywhere, can you use a manufacturer coupon with one store's logo on it at a different store? Others won't. Why not?
Answer: It's true that a valid manufacturer coupon can be accepted by any store that chooses to take it. As long as it has a valid address for redemption, a store will be able to submit it for reimbursement.
In my area, one supermarket's coupon policy states, "We accept all manufacturer coupons." This generous policy makes the store a favorite among coupon shoppers, too.
Occasionally, stores may use the words "manufacturer coupon" on a coupon that's technically a store coupon, and this is where things can certainly begin to get a little confusing.
Manufacturer coupons contain a standard bar code along with a mailing address printed in the redemption instructions. If the bar code is an internal store bar code and the coupon has no redemption address printed on it, it's likely not a manufacturer coupon, despite the wording. These coupons must be used at the store that issued them.
Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three.