What do you do if your coupon is rejected at checkout? Fear not, friends. It happens to the best of us. When your couponing trip goes awry, stay calm and follow these tips to get you through. We’ll even share some tricks to prevent rejection from happening again.


What to Do if Your Coupon Is Rejected


1. Politely ask why the coupon can’t be used.

Being rejected is, well, awkward…. When someone says “no,” the natural response for most is to get into defense mode. Don’t do that. Stay rational and open up the conversation politely by asking “why?”


2. Reference the store coupon policy.

Unfortunately, not all cashiers know their own store’s policy. If the cashier you’re speaking with is giving you incorrect information because they just don’t want to deal with coupons or don’t know how to accept them, reference the policy and ask that they show you exactly where in the policy it says your coupon should be rejected.

Hint: Print out, take a screenshot, or bookmark your store’s coupon policy on your mobile. Find your store’s coupon policy here.


3. Teach the cashier what you know about coupons.

If the line isn’t long and you’ve got your patience pants on, let the cashier know what’s up. Cashiers tend to get flustered when they aren’t as familiar with the coupon policy as you are. Smile, and explain the deal, discussing the fine print if you have to. For example, some cashiers get confused when a coupon says “Redeemable at Walmart” and you’re at Target. Let them know statements like this on coupons are paid advertisements and only a suggestion. If the coupon were to say “Only at…” or “Redeemable only at…”, however, that’s a different story, and you should only use those coupons at the mentioned retailer.

Here are 10 Things You Should Know About Coupon Fine Print.



4. Ask to speak to a manager.

Fortunately, most managers know their store’s policy better than regular team members. Remember to stand up for yourself by citing the policy, but also be reasonable, and remember that stores have the right to reject any coupon.


5. Remove the item from your transaction and ask for the coupon back.

If you’re not having any luck after speaking with the manager, ask to have the item removed from your transaction and take your coupon elsewhere. You’ll probably have better luck at a different store location.


6. Contact corporate.

Just as managers have the right to reject coupons, you have the right to contact a store’s corporate office. Calling or emailing corporate will allow you to get clarification on a store’s coupon policy and give you an outlet to express your concerns.


RELATED: Are You Making These 10 Couponing Mistakes?


How to Prevent Coupons from Being Rejected


7. Do research before heading to the store.

Not only should you know the coupon policy, you should also read the comments other couponers leave on store deals posted on KCL. By doing this, you’ll be aware of any issues (and solutions) others have experienced trying to redeem the same coupons.



8. Have the cashier scan each item individually if you’re buying multiples, instead of scanning one and then manually entering [x 10] in the cash register.

Some stores require each product to be scanned individually; otherwise, coupons won’t scan through properly. For example, say you’re buying four Tide bottles and using four coupons. Make sure the cashier physically scans all four instead of scanning one and punching in [x 4] on the register.


9. Use a cashier you know.

One of my favorite people is Rose, one of the cashiers at my local Target. I don’t know Rose personally, but I always try to get in her line because she’s also a couponer, and I know she’ll be patient and fair through my sometimes six transactions. Once you find a good cashier, look for that person each time you check out.


10. Or, go to self-checkout.

The advantage of going through self-checkout is that it’s meant to go quickly, so you either scan the coupons yourself or the cashier will do it at the end of the transaction. Coupons can still be rejected at self-checkout, and if that happens you can reference the top half of the article for tips on navigating that!

Note: This isn’t license to misuse coupons, but it can save time and a headache to bypass the cashier.


11. Make sure your printer has enough ink before you print coupons.

I know we all like to stretch our ink as far as it will go, but when the bar code is too faded to scan, chances are your coupon won’t be accepted.


12. Check that all your coupons match the products you’re buying.

Double check the items in your cart, and make sure they match the coupons you have in hand. Also, don’t make the mistake of grabbing the pictured product on a coupon without looking at the fine print. Although the image on a coupon may show one of the products that can be purchased, it doesn’t show all the eligible items or size restrictions. These details can be found in the fine print.


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What to Do if Your Coupon Is Rejected