We get this question in our inbox daily, and we have addressed it many times- but it deserves another post… This is an email from Shari:

Finally today I thought I would get a chance to buy a trial size product for free.  I had two tide coupons that DID NOT have any size requirements, and did not say trial size excluded. So there I was at the check out counter at Target and I presented my two trial size products and my two coupons (with no exclusions) and I was told they could not accept my coupon because it was one cent more than the cost of the product. 99 cent versus $1.00. What did I do wrong? – Shari

First of all we have this little tidbit from Corporate Target:

“All Target stores should be following the same coupon policy. The next time you have an issue using coupons please have them call us at (800) 440-0680 while you’re still in the store. Our Guest Relations Team will help assist with any questions they may have about coupons.”

This means if you go to Target and they are not following the Corporate Policy– you need to INSIST on calling Corporate.  Calling corporate means you need to save the Target CS number ( (800) 440-0680 ) into your cell phone. Right now. Done? Okay!

Next thing to know about the Target coupon policy is that it specifically says this:

Coupon amount may be reduced if it exceeds the value of the item after other discounts or coupons are applied.

This means that if your item is $0.99 and the coupon is for $1.00 Target checkers MUST (and I do mean MUST) adjust the value of the coupon down.

PLEASE PLEASE print Target’s coupon policy  HERE and program their number into your phone and PLEASE do not be afraid to call Customer Service if you run into a checker who doesn’t know the policy. This is the only way stores will start following their policy.  :)

Please leave a comment once you have the Target Phone Number stored into your phone- I am hoping for 50 comments!! Come on ladies {and guys! 😉 } !!

Comments are closed.

93 thoughts on “Target Coupon Policy: What Do I Do when the Coupon Value Exceeds the Cost of the Item?”

I had an issue a few weeks back and actually started calling Corporate. The cashier I had had been told they couldn’t take coupons on trial sizes. I explained the difference between q’s excluding trials and those that do not. She asked another cashier who promptly started YELLING at me that she has dealt with me before. I had never had problems with her before. I also had my policy which she yelled at me about “Yeah I’ve dealt with you and your policy!” That was the first time I had ever had to use it. We did finally have someone else come over and completely rering my merchandise and then put the coupons thru. I was an absolutely horrible experience. By the end even the gal that corrected it looked annoyed when I presented her with a special coupon I had for $$ off due to the remodel. The first two cashiers were older ladies, I don’t know if that has anything to do with their behavior. I have since been going only to a different Target where they have been AWESOME!! I emailed corporate about the whole experience and their response was pathetic.

Went to Target last night to get a few travel/trial size items. My coupons did not have any size restrictions. Also, bought some post-its that were on clearance for $0.70 and I used $1 off manuf coupon(I know coupon amount will automatically adjust down at register). The night manager gave me grief about using coupons on trial size items and my post-it coupons for $1.00 off because she said Target DOES NOT accept manufacturer’s coupon where the face value of the coupon is more than the cost of the item. I pull out the Target coupon policy and she refused to even look at it. She said she had a corporate email saying that coupons are not meant for the travel/trial sizes. I wish I would have said, “I’d like to see that email.” I said there was no size restriction on the coupons so why can’t I use it on travel/trial size items. Then she tells me, “well the item you’re buying doesn’t look like the one in the picture.” I tell her it’s the wording of the coupon not the picture that matters. After all this, she says, “I will allow it this one time.” After that experience, I got home and wrote an email to corporate. Got a response back today and it said they have forwarded my email to the Target Store Leadership team at the Target store I complained about. Hope all their employees start reading and following the Target Coupon Policy, especially that particular night manager.

I have a black & white laser printer in my home office, and lately target has been giving me issues redeeming the black and white coupons. I have tried to explain to them that they are not copies, but printed on a laser printer and that I do not own a color printer. What should I do?

As a Target employee I just want to point out to everyone to please be nice to the cashier if they say they cannot accept the coupon. My bosses told us we could not accept manufacturer coupons if the amount exceeds the amount of the item. I had to show them their own coupon policy to make things straight. (Seeing I’m a coupon fiend myself)

So just remember that sometimes these cashiers could be told that they are not allowed to, and in that case please make sure you are being nice to them, and ask for a manager, and yell at them…that’s what they are being paid for.

I always try to work with every person that comes through my line when they have coupons, in fact usually I always make sure people know they can use both a Target coupon, and a manufacturer one on a single item, and usually we swap advice.

I have never understood the policy of adjusting coupons down. Especially as they don’t mark on the coupons that they are only taking 1.97 off our purchase instead of 2.00 (or whatever) and then are being reimbursed for the full amount. It seems like fraud to me to take off less than the full coupon amount for us but then get reimbursed for the whole amount from the manufacturer…

Ugh. I got a little of both today. I bought 4 items at 97¢ each and used 2 $2/2 coupons. Each coupon rang up at only 97¢.
I was told they don’t adjust coupons down.
I was told if they did adjust down I would be getting the items for free and that isn’t allowed.
I was told “one coupon per purchase” and then had it explained to me that what that means is one coupon per transaction, no matter how many items you buy.
Policy is not printed, # is programmed into phone, and I am going back tomorrow to get it right.

Remember last month that great cover girl coupon( buy a certain mascara get the eye shadow FREE) well I bought the items along with some other stuff used my coupon and got home to find out that the value of my free coupon was zero that’s right I was charged for my free item but they will get reimbursed for the coupon. looks like Target has some kind of scam going they get paid twice for the free items once from the customer and then from thhe manufacturer. So yeah I wouls hold up the line make the call and ge it right the first time. I know it’s not the cashiers fault but Target won’t fix the problem unless customers stand firm.


I had the same problem but I went to customer service and they gave me my money back. I found that it is the easiest way to solve the issue for the razor problem. I haven’t called customer care while at Target but I did call Walgreens customer care once. I had a problem with a manager that wouldn’t let me get items because they were giving register rewards. According to her, she needed to save them for other customers, my question to her was “What the hell am I?” When I called customer care from the store and insisted that they talked to her, she was shocked and not very happy with me. Being the hard a.. that I am, I went back the next day and the day after just to prove a point. I think next time, she will think twice about messing with a crazy coupon lady.

you suggest calling while remaining in line? not voiding the transaction or stepping to the side, but remaining there as i dial and explain the situation on the phone and then hand my phone to checker person?

Thanks for the phone #, I saved it in my phone!

I just got back from shopping at Target. I tried buying four begal bites and using four traget coupons but was told I would only use one since the coupon states one per transaction. Has anyone else had this problem?? Thanks for the info and the number.

I have had that problem…i very firmly insist that it is one coupon per item, meaning you cannot stack 4 coupons on one item. sometimes, they take it, and sometimes, i have to have them void, and then proceed to split my transactions. it annoys me though when that happens on a deal you need to buy more than one, and your counting on a catalina!! why do the coupon manufacturers put it in that wording??? i don’t understand that! they need to keep it simple for the retailers—“ONE COUPON PER ITEM”—
–programmed the number, thanks, i get some of those coupon police checkers every now and then, this will help! need all the help i can get stretching my hubbys dollar!!! hahaha!

If the manufacturer types one per “transaction” it means per “transaction” not per item. If they wanted to allow more per transaction they would type it that way, it’s not like they just throw the wording out there to confuse people and retailers, it’s well thought through, perhaps to avoid people making money rather than them in g/c scenarios and such.

GGRRR, please help. I just got home from Target and am going to call corperate, unless I am wrong and you guys can set me straight.
Scenario- buy two schick razors for 5.49 get a 5.00 GC
I check out and it prompts for the GC, evrything is fine until I hand her two 3.00 off any schick disposable razor,excluding two packs. Cashier can’t get computer to take my coupons, so she calls a manager. He comes over reads and rereads the coupon, and tries himself. Finally shrugs his shoulders and says sorry, guess it won’t work. I am noticing the computer saying coupon for more than amount…which it isn’t true, but since the coupons are
more than the GC, is that why?
I was like a deer in the headlights not knowing what to say.
Is there some GC fine print I don’t know about?

I did the same thing and had the same problem, the manager had to come over and adjust the coupon down. Their computers subtracted $2.50 from the $5.49 price when the GC was scanned making the price $2.99 each and your Q was for $3/1 so technically per their policy they should have adjusted the coupon down to $2.99. I would go back with the policy (and phone number) in hand. The GC Promo is a Target promo and you are using MQ’s so what you are trying to do is completely legit according to their own policy, sometimes you just have to SCHOOL them…it took me a while to get her to see things my way, but I did leave with my free razors.

Courtney…..your my target hero =)

where can i find the Scenario- buy two schick razors for 5.49 get a 5.00 GC please let me know .Because i don’t see it in the target’s weekly ad,thank

It’s just in the store, down the razor isle. I didn’t know either
until I was looking for anything clearence.
Good luck with it working, maybe you can post how your shopping experience goes. I went back today to do what Courtney said
and I was denied by the manager again. He says their “system”
is incapable of processing the transaction with the coupons.
He was very nice, but I still don’t have my free razors.=(

I just have to put in a good word for my Puyallup, WA South Target. They are awesome! I never have issues with using my coupons there. I rarely even have to explain anything with them. They are a fairly new store (less than two years I think) so maybe they have had some newer training. Anyway, they are fabulous!

Usually I have no problem at Target except for one new supervisor who is playing by his own rules. Once telling me he couldn’t take multiple coupons but then saying he could only take 2 of them.

I just had this issue hours ago w/ my Target — the manager would not let me buy the Clean and Clear trial size w/ the MF coupon. I told her I have done it before and that she could just adjust it down (to 97cents), she wouldn’t. I had her take it off my bill.
At least now I can have the policy to back me up. THANK YOU!

Thank you for all your great info—I will guard and keep this number for my next Target visit.

A manager once told me (after showing him the policy) that it states “coupon MAY be adjusted”, meaning they have the option to do it or not! AHHHHHHH….

I have had so many problems with Target and their coupon policy that it is no longer worth my while. Trying to discuss the situation with the checker and manager is just too exhausting.

Just put the # into my phone. Thanks!

I am a cashier at Target and also love using coupons, so I love visiting this site and keep up to date on the policies. However, when I was trained on my first day, the only coupon policy we are told is the “1 Target coupon and 1 manufacturer coupon per item” policy, everything I’ve had to find out on my own. I’ve found that there is no way to adjust a coupon once it is scanned. Occasionally the computer will pick it up and adjust the coupon automatically, but that is very rare. The cashier will have to cancel the coupon and then manually enter in the coupon amount for the price of the item.

Also many coupons do not scan – the computer will say that the item was not purchased or is missing. This is the computer’s fault, we are not accusing you of stealing. But half the time the customer actually does not have the item (although it will be very similar) so we will need to check the item. If you place the coupons with the corresponding items on the belt then the process will go much smoother than if you hand us a wad of coupons at the end and we have to dig through your purchases.

And if a problem does arise, please remember being nice goes a long way!

So on my next shopping trip, if I put each coupon I have with each item, will they take the coupon off after scanning the item or still do the coupons at the end? Usually I just hand one group of coupons at a time to the cashier, because if I give them my whole stack, a few usually get missed because the stick together or they are just trying to scan them too fast.

It still depends on the cashier since there isn’t a standard procedure, but they will be more likely scan the coupon right away, and you can always ask the cashier to please scan the coupons with each item to make sure.

done!! I don’t feel like it is inconsiderate… I also warn those behind me and even let people go in front of me at times… but if all the target (or any other store) employees are trained as they should be, there won’t usually be any problem :-)
If there is, a manage can take the time to figure it out :-)

I have the policy and # with my Qs. All I had to do was ask for a manager, present their policy, and tell her that Customer Service had requested that I call and put her on the phone with them. She was very cooperative and we decided that it would be best to set my coupon(s) on top of each item. It has taken some explaining to get the cashiers on board, but shopping is much easier and I know immediately during check out if there is a problem. No more digging through my bags to prove what I bought.

Im so excited! I bought 10 tide coupons on eBay for our trip to Mexico and was told I could not use them! Im using this and I saved it in my phone! Going BACK TO GET MY TIDES!

This is my most difficult store to use coupons. I now have the number in my phone, right under my local Target number (my daughter used to work there). I have had to go to the service desk twice on couponing, but they have eventually resolved the issues. Now I know they will for sure! Thanks

I’m right there with you, Dianne – – Target is the most un-coupon-friendly store around. And the manager of my Target is a Grade A jerk. Just completely unhelpful, won’t listen, won’t look in to things. I have completely written them off as a place to use coupons.

I have never had a problem using coupons at the 2 targets located in my area of Maine. I did however enter the number in my phone. Thanks

how can i use my phone in target … my house is 3 miles away and its only 2Ghz :)

That is great news. Yes I stopped reading and put the number in my cell phone. Thank you for the news.

thanks! we have this problem all the time at Target. Was just there with the $3 off 3 J&J band-aid coupon … the cashier said it didn’t work because we didn’t buy what was in the picture???? now with the corporate number in our phone… wonder how they’l respond to that…

I don’t feel comfortable holding up the line for stuff like this…I feel like it’s being disrespectful and unconsiderate for others.

I warn every person who gets behind me in line that I will be using coupons and that it may take a lot longer for me to check out. I do not feel at all that it’s disrespectful or inconsiderate, especially when I give them fair warning. Plus, coupons are my form of payment and are just as good as cash or a debit card! :)

Got it ! Thanks for letting us know.

I have had this same issue at a particular Target that it came to the point that the manager chewed me out and I called customer service on them! The computer does allow it! I even memorized the keys when my good target did it! K4 k2 then adjust! Lol

I put the number in my phone. Thank you for the info!

SORRY! BUT… I’ve called corporate from target for this EXACT reason and in the end, corporate says yes,the coupon SHOULD be aeccepted, HOWEVER< it is up to ,the manager to approve any coupon transaction. This allows any managers to say NO to any coupons being used on trial size items. It has happened to me SOOOOOO many times. I have been told managers have to "choose to participate" in the Target Policy.?????? Do not let yourself think having corporates number or printed policy will help too much. Store managers say they are tired of "giving " away items for free!! That statement alone let's us know they DO NOT UNDERSTAND COUPONING!!

It has been saved in the phone. Thanks alot!

I have it saved!!! Just like many of the previous posts, I too have had issues at Target using coupons. My biggest issue is the coupons not scanning & the computer saying the item has not been purchased. This week I had a very rude cashier who made me dig though my cart & prove to her that I had purchased the items (like I was a criminal trying to steal from the store!!) This was for at least 10 coupons, and meanwhile a huge line is forming behind me, and the cashier is sighing loudly, rolling her eyes, & turning her light off & on to signal for a manager!!! I swore it would be my last trip to Target, but I am sure I will be back next week!! HA!

You wouldn’t happen to live in Colorado would you? I have had this happen a number of times. I finally convinced myself that the computer automatically starts rejecting coupons once you use too many coupons during one shopping trip! Doubt that’s true, but it made me feel better! I had it happen before where I had purchased approximately 12 things (all of which were still sitting out ready to be put into my self-provided bags), all of which I used coupons on, and the computer started beeping halfway through. You could see that I had OBVIOUSLY purchased the items, but it still refused to take the coupons. So frustrating. The checker pushed the coupons through, but I did get “that look” like I was trying to defraud Target. UGH!

This actually just happened to me yesterday, too. I had some Shout “buy ANY two shout products, save $2.00” coupons, so thought I’d stock up on some Shout Wipes from the travel section at .97 cents. Should be able to get two for free, right? Apparently not, according to my target, since the coupon was only scanning at .97 cents off, that’s all they were willing to give me.

I tried to ask them to just adjust the coupon to $1.94, but no such luck. So they took the items off and gave me my coupons back… Maybe I’ll have another go at it!

Recently my target has updated its computers to reduce the coupon amount to sale price ( in case the coupon exceeds the sale price)… made it a lot easier fr us…:)

“Come on ladies”

Ahem…I hope us guys who like to save money are welcome too! :)P

I have added the Target Corp phone #, which should have been added ages ago!

I’ve had a lot of coupon issues at different stores. It has been worth the time to contact corporate offices! It DOES make a difference & the next time you coupon shop there shouldn’t be any hassle!

question: I thought that stores couldn’t adjust the coupons down? Because they are getting face value of the coupon plus .08, they have to give it to you for face value. I’m confused. lol

Thank you! I am looking forward to many good Target deals and knowing all the rules!!

It’s saved!!! thanks for all you do!

Saved!! Thank you!


LOL…ladies? Forgive me for lauging but there is at least ONE gentleman that reads your blog and coupons. Thanks for the phone number which I have now entered into my cell phone. I don’t usually have any problems with my local store adjusting but it definitely helps to be on a first name basis with the cashiers. Thanks for all your good works.

Thanks chip, we LOVE LOVE LOVE our Krazy Coupon Guys- sorry if I don’t always address you! :)

Not a problem Heather. Just keep those tips and deals coming, and thanks again. This site is at the top of my favorites list.

would you please address why Target doesn’t understand that a BOGO coupon and another coupon (lets say a $1 off coupon) can be used on 2 items. I have tried to explain this to them over and over and have even set the items on top of the coupons to show them that I am NOT using 2 coupons on one item but rather one coupon for EACH item and they still don’t get this. HELP!!!

because a true BOGO (ends in code 14) coupon attaches to 2 products just like a $1/2 should attach to two products

got it!!! thank you

It is locked in my phone!

Thanks!! I need that number…..I have run into problems where the coupon full value has not been taken off products. For instance I had 2 target Q’s for 1.00 chef boyardee and a $1.50/4 con arga products and it only took .99 off the 4 I bought. It was only .51 difference but that adds up over the course of a year. Another time I bought the Scotch tape when they had .50 each. I had Q’s for $1.00/3 so 3 for .50 cents right? No, it only took off .50 for each Q…..I’ve even had a cashier roll their eyes when I used a Q on a trial size product (tide & pantene hair spray) in July….I cant stand when cashiers think they can make up their own rules & proceduces….I’m sorry, I don’t think they pay any enough for them to think they own the store!!! Thank you for all you do….It has helped my family save so much money in just a few months. I’m still learning the “ropes” and I use your website frequently!!!

I am a manager at Target and the issue with the registers not taking the full value value of the coupon off is a company wide register error and they are working to fix it. In the meantime, if you notice that the correct amount is not coming up, just tell your cashier, they can enter the coupon manually :)

I just did it! Good idea to keep it in our cell phones! If we ever have to do that, it’ll definitely be a “pick another checkout lane, honey” scenario :)

it’s saved! thanks!

I had this happen at Target with the $1.00 off Tide coupon and was trying to get the free trial. I was told the computer would not let them change the amount. It was very frustrating. I am going to call next time because I left without my free Tide!

Done. Phone number saved. THANKS!!

Saved the number to my phone too! Thanks

i jus had this issues last night with a manager and a cashier over the $2.00 off 2 shout wipes which DOEAN NOT EXCLUDE trail size. the manager said if it isnt in the “picture” on the coupn i can’t get it.

I was so outraged! she said she will “give it me this one time”
I then continued with its not whats on the picture,it doesnt exclude trail size,and its essentially 2 shout wipes for free….it tokk an hour in her check out for 2 employees to figure it out.

I got my shout wipes though!!

Their number is in my phone also. I have not really had a problem with target except when I first started couponing. I tried using two store coupons plus a manuq for the same product and was told that only one store coupon per transaction even if you are buy two of this item. I don’t do this any more and don’t have any problems even though I still get nervous using coupons at target after all of the other trouble people seem to have.

the number is saved in my phone! I’ve never had a problem at either of the Targets I go to as both of them are really coupon friendly, but you never know when you’ll come across a bad apple. =) Thanks for the info!

I haven’t had any problems with Target. Has anyone had problems at Walgreens? They refuse to take the coupon if the coupon is more than the product. They tell me they will be fired for changing the coupon amounts. Any suggestions or thoughts?

I just stored it in my phone. I keep the policies in my binder just in case I need to pull them out!

I have had problems like this before. Now I have the policy printed and the number in my phone to help the improve their service.

CVS has adjusted my coupon down to the price before. I have never had a problem with a Target coupon ever. I am really suprised at this. I always ask for the manager to come to the register if the person doesnt know the policy at the register.

Done. I had to call them once and they were very helpful.

After my recent incident with my Target and your advice about calling Customer Service if any other problems arise I saved their number immediately! I have not had to use it yet but have it and their coupon policy just in case.

Thanks for all of your help!

I’ve had this come up and I think the main problem is the cashier DOESN”T KNOW HOW to reduce the coupon amount. They’ve always just sent it thru with overage after seeing the coupon policy. Putting # in my cell right now :)

i have had a couple of cashiers put coupons through manually when it comes up that the required item wasn’t purchased, or something like that so surely it isn’t that difficult!

Make sure you check the article about coupons not coming off for the full amount. I posted a link to it on the KCL facebook page last night!

TCCL….Bless you for posting this!! Great question Shari. Now if we could just gets Walgreens on the “must” adjust down coupon wagon!

My target is getting crazy on the “one per purchase vs one per transaction statement. I kindly explained the difference to the manager and he told me that he knew his policy better than I did. Can we get a statement from Target explaining it so that I can present that along with the policy. Its difficult to argue when there are people around and the manager is demanding he’s right.

I’m very interested in this question too. I don’t know how to explain it so if you could tell us that too it would be great! I’ve had this come up at grocery stores too which is also frustrating since their coupon policies clearly state you can use 3 coupons for one product (obviously 3 of them). Thanks for your help!! You rock!

Can’t guarantee I’ll be brave enough to actually call them when I have an issue but the phone number is stored!!!!!!! :) I too have run into issues all the time with using coupons on trial sized items. It’s so annoying that it depends on the cashier…….

I have it in my phone now!! Even though I don’t usually have problems with our Target, it’s still nice to have ‘just in case’.

It’s in my phone now… Thanks!

I had a problem at one store using the $3 Tag book coupon on a book that was clearanced to $2.74. I was told by a cashier and a manager that they can’t reduce the coupon because the computer won’t allow it. They said it has always been their policy to not reduce it. I pulled out their coupon policy and read the line that says the coupon value may be reduced and they were silent. The manager proceeded to adjust the coupon down and never apologized or even looked at me. I emailed corporate telling of my bad experience (including several other bad experiences at that store) and I got an email back saying they had passed my email on to that store for training purposes. Hopefully it helped inform them of their own policy!

printing out policy and number in the coupon binder soon thanks! would love the policy for walgreens hint hint

I’ve used Target before with the Tide travel size. They didn’t throw a fit for me and gave me value of coupon.