WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Q & A: Will doubled coupons offer overage?

Posted January 7, 2013


One of our readers e-mailed me with a question that some of you may also be asking. Her question is about whether coupons will double to more than the cost of the item and why she sometimes gets overage.

Here's her question and my thoughts on the subject.

QUESTION: "If you recall, one of the Saturday specials for many of us was the purchase of up to two Lysol products for just $0.97 each. Although that’s a great deal in and of itself, I also had a manufacturer coupon for $2.00/2 – which is the quantity I had, and would have ended up being a “money maker” I guess (although I’ve never quite understood what that meant, since HT isn’t allowed to give us money back.)

If I understand what happened correctly, instead of allowing that $2.00 coupon to double (as part of the Super Double promotion,) he put it in for -$1.94 instead, saying that they’re not allowed to use coupons for more than the value of the product(s) being purchased as part of that coupon (hence the -$1.94.)

I’m fine either way, but I could have sworn I had a situation just a few days prior where due to everything in my order being free (due to my coupons), I had a balance of -$0.52. The cashier just told me to grab a candy bar or something, which I did, and just paid the difference. "

ANSWER: The cashier who rang up the Lysol was correct. The Harris Teeter coupon policy indicates that they will not let manufacturer coupons double to any more than the price of the item(s). He did the right thing.

In your previous order, where you had a negative balance, you probably had manufacturer's coupons that doubled up to the price of the products making them free (or close to it) AND a Harris Teeter ZVR e-coupon, competitor's coupon or Catalina coupon in addition to the manufacturer's coupons? Any of those could allow you to have overage and end up with a negative balance.

Every once in a blue moon, a coupon may scan for more than the product price giving you overage, as well. This is rare for most coupons, though. I have seen this happen a number of times with free product coupons or Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons for items that are on sale, but the coupon still takes off the full price amount. That exact scenario is actually taking place this week at CVS with the BOGO Stayfree pads. They are on sale BOGO for $3.79, but the coupon is taking off $4.49 when it is scanned. My cashier simply adjusted the coupon to take off $3.79, making the product free with no overage.

And then sometimes, a coupon may not scan at all, causing the customer service manager to do an override and enter it manually. When this happens, the coupon will usually double completely (if it is within the dollar amount that the store is doubling), even if the product price was less than the coupon doubled. This happens because the coupon is entered manually and not attached to the product so the register doesn't realize that the coupon doubled is more than the amount of the product.

So, although it does not happen often, sometimes you will get overage and you'll just need to make sure you have enough product in your transaction to cover it since they are not supposed to give you cash back. This means that sometimes, you may have to buy a pack of gum or a candy bar to get back into the positive.

If you have any other thoughts on why this could happen, please share them.


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  • hadiyahr Jan 8, 2013

    @dragonflyz & nakabi, Thank you so much for your advice. I took the items back with a copy of receipt in hand along with another buy 1 get 1 free coupon. The cashier refunded me my money so I received 4 Stayfree pads for free. Thank you both again for the advice.

  • Oxymoron02 Jan 7, 2013

    I've noticed that when an item is on EVIC special, sometimes the coupon will double upto the non-EVIC price, which would give you overage, but only sometimes.

    I've had some weird things happen at HTs though. I think it was about a year and a half ago, they had Frito-Lays singles bags on EVIC 2 weeks running, and when I finally bought them the second week it took off both EVIC discounts, making them free. I didn't even have a coupon, they were just free. It was weird.

  • ctondee31205 Jan 7, 2013

    Ps but none of the other coupons did. They only doubles up te the price like it should. I do have problems though with coupons doubling the whole amount instead of up to te price and the. If I have more like coupons the register will have a problem because it acts like I have too many coupons for the product

  • ctondee31205 Jan 7, 2013

    Come to think of it my Smithfield Ham coupons all doubled the whole amount not just up to the amount of the product

  • watchhillgirl Jan 7, 2013

    No catalina coupons do not double (at least not that I have seen). If they begin with a 9, they will not double.

  • ctya Jan 7, 2013

    Do Catalina double?

  • nakabi Jan 7, 2013

    hadiyahr-LIke dragonflys said, I would take the pads and a copy of CVS's return policy back to the store. It was most likely an honest mistake. I've found that most people working at CVS are nice and I'm sure they will let you redo the transaction correctly.
    HT also has the same product on sale 2/$5 which is nice if anyone is not near a CVS :)

  • watchhillgirl Jan 7, 2013

    I have noticed, that the "older" HT will allow overage, but the "newer" HT the system automatically adjusts so that there is no overage. Maybe a newer/older computer system or something. Either way, I am happy. I guess I am just easy to please :-)

  • hadiyahr Jan 7, 2013

    @dragonflyz, thank you for your response. No I no longer have the coupon I gave it to the cashier when I made my purchase. I went to the CVS in Cary off Green Level Church. I wonder if they will let me return the items and start all over. I knew I should have gotten those pads for free. I still thought that $5.30 was a good deal for 4 packages of pads when originally I would have paid $21 plus. Thanks for the advice!

  • dragonflyz Jan 7, 2013

    @hadiyahr- the CVS cashier did not follow CVS coupon policy. CVS's policy [which should be located in an accessible location to all front store employees] states that a manufacturer's BOGO coupon can be used in conjunction with a store BOGO sale. if you still have your coupon, I'd return to the store [with policy in hand printed off the CVS website] and you shouldn't have any problems. It was probably just an honest mistake with someone unfamiliar with that policy- it's rare that we have BOGO deals at the same time that there are coupons for the same items. now, if you had two of the paper coupons, you would have needed to purchase four to make it work- because the BOGO coupon requires two product barcodes to work. [likewise, you can't use a $1.00/2 and a BOGO on the same two items- because each would require two barcodes]- but a sale, CVS coupon, and manufacturer's coupon can be applied to the same item. :)

    hope this helps!!