Love it or hate it, Walmart has positioned itself as the dominant department store with thousands of locations around the country. Many cities and towns, including here in Indiana have multiple locations in their area. And chances are, even if you don't consider yourself a "fan" of the store, you'll still (perhaps begrudgingly) shop there from time to time because you'll justify the ordeal of getting in and out of there to save money on something you need or want. With that said a recent policy change by the company may prevent you from saving as much money as you used to.

Walmart Implement Changes to Coupon Policy

I rarely use coupons. I know they could save me money if I did but frankly, I'm too lazy to look for them, and even if I had some I'd probably forget to take them with me when I go to the store. However, I know people who do and save a decent amount of money. I also know there are people out there who have managed to find loopholes where they use so many coupons, they get items for pennies and in some cases manage to get money back from the store on certain items. Thanks to a change to its Coupon Policy, that may be harder to do at Walmart from now on.

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Richard Klotz
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Lori Crofford with our sister station, 98.7 The Bomb, recently found an article from Coupons in the News stating the company quietly made a few changes to the policy back in late September that coupon-loving customers probably won't like. The biggest change is that the company is eliminating overages. For a long time, Walmart was one of the few remaining stores that would accept the full value of a coupon even if that value was more than the product it applied to. So, if you had a $2.00 off coupon for something that cost $1.50, Walmart would pay you the 50-cent difference in cash. That won't happen any longer.

Other changes, according to Coupons in the News, include:

  • Limiting the number of identical coupons per household per day to four.
    • This is designed to prevent "coupon misuse and shelf-clearing."
  • Coupons with UPC-A barcodes will no longer be accepted.
    • These codes were phased out a few years ago in favor of GS1 barcodes. This change prevents customers from using old coupons that had no expiration date listed.
  • Paper coupons will only be accepted "for in-store purchase only."
    • Customers will no longer be able to use them on delivery or store pickup purchases.

Another major change is that managers at stores will no longer be able to override a declined coupon. I didn't know this until I read the article on Coupons in the News, but when a coupon gets scanned, the company's system quickly runs it through its coupon database. If it finds a match, it accepts the coupon and life goes on. If it doesn't, a message pops up on the cashier's screen saying it's been rejected. Until the new policy took effect, a manager could override the system and accept the coupon if they felt the rejection was an error. That's no longer the case. If the system says the coupon is no good, it's no good. You won't save money on that item and there's nothing the manager can do about it.

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To be fair, Walmart has not completely eliminated the use of coupons. It seems to me that they are simply tightening up the policy a bit to prevent customers from abusing the system. If you're someone who only uses coupons every once in a while, you shouldn't have any issues. The keyword being, "shouldn't."

There are a few other minor tweaks to the policy. It may not hurt to read over it before your next trip to the store.

[Sources: 98.7 The Bomb / Coupons in the News / Cognex / Barcode Graphics / Walmart Policies and Guidelines]

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