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Coupons 4 Mom: Coupon Overage

by Freebies4Mom on August 7, 2008 7:04 am

Ryan and Amy asked “Is there a policy for overages? I have looked into this, but I couldn’t find anything. Some cashiers just scan the coupon and give the full amount off. I had one cashier say that she is suppose to reduce the amount of the coupon. If a product costs $0.89 and the coupon was for $1.00 off, if they reduce the amount does Wal-Mart still get $1.00 or do they get $0.89? If they get $1.00. then we should, right? Have you heard anything official on this?”

I haven’t heard anything official on this – but I thought it would be a good topic of discussion. Please leave a comment on this post with your thoughts on this question. I believe that it will vary by store. I also believe that the store usually gets the face value written on the coupon from the manufacturer unless they write a different amount on it – so it would make sense in theory for them to also give you the full amount of the coupon even if the product is priced a little bit less. I find that if you get any coupon overage, it is highly variable within each store and depends on which cashier you get and how they ring up coupons. I never expect to get any coupon overage, but I do expect to get the product for free if the coupon value exceeds the price.

A Quick Coupon Summary
Because I’m in Colorado this week, my update is more general. Please visit to see if there are any new coupons you would like to print.

You might also want to look at the coupons in my purple “Quick Print” boxes. If you don’t see them, they’ll be back! Sometimes likes to put a general ad in this spot instead of displaying specific coupons you can print.

Check the giant list of printable coupons scattered across different product websites. It’s a great list to browse if you are new to printable coupons.


COUPON REMINDERS from Freebies 4 Mom

Birthday Freebies 4 Mom
has been updated for August!

You’ll find more posts related to coupons here.

I hope that your coupons do amazing things for you this week! Thank you for being so supportive while I take a bit of a break from coupons and blogging to spend time with family this week.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jin August 9, 2008 at 11:13 pm

As a cashier, I deal with this situation a lot. I work at a Shoprite in New Jersey.Half the time, a coupon that is worth more than the item will bring up a dialog box asking for a manual price input. Other times, it will just go through. In the second case, unless a cashier notices the discrepancy, the coupon is just going to go through for the full value. Some coupons will give errors if you try to put it in for more than the item’s worth. It depends what information the manufacturer put into the bar code and how our system reads it. I don’t pretend to understand it; every company does it differently.All cashiers are required to write down exactly what was input for each coupon if we changed and we also need permission from our managers and a special key that only they have to make the manual inputs go through. Pretty inefficient in my opinion, but oh wells.Every cashier’s drawer is counted separately, including coupons, so one needs to make sure their coupons say the correct amount otherwise you’ll probably be written up eventually.Also, security cameras watch us and we get “progress reports” on whether we let coupons go through with overage, among other things.Very serious about this; it’s crazy.If you want overage, your best bet is to go to a teenage boy. Generally, they don’t last long, are crappy workers, don’t pay attention to what they’re scanning, incompetent, etc. I am a teenage guy too, but I’m actually a good cashier.Well, even though policies vary store to store, I hope this was informative for someone.


Anonymous August 7, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Heather,As far as a coupon policy for overages the only store that I know that has one is target. Target states that if the coupon is greater then the item amount, then they will adjust the coupon down to the price of the item (since they can’t give cash back for the difference) Now at Wal-mart it varies tremendiously. The other day I tried to use one of those $10 off coupons on glucera shakes. The shakes were 8.53 here in FL (not 6.88 like in some areas)She scanned the coupon the screen showed: coupon value $10.00?Origionally she hit enter and it accepted the $10 amount. But she kept examining the coupon and finally did a print out of the journal tape to check the price. When she noticed the item was less then the coupon she called the CSM. The CSM asked her if it went through. She said yes. At first she was gunna leave. Then she hit VOID on the register and scanned the coupon to void it off.She manually entered the coupon by typing 8.53 and hitting the vendor coupon key on the register.So no overage for me but like you say i don’t expect the overage but I do expect it for free.Now I have heard many poeple say in their wal-mart they will not scale down the coupon. They tell have told customers that scaling down the coupon would be altering the coupon and therefore making it void. How silly is that. I know for a fact a CVS their computer does not allow overage. Since I stretch my neck a lot and watch everything. I can tell you for sure. When they scan a coupon for $1.00 and the item is .99 cent the system matches the coupon to the item and realizes that the coupon is worth more than the item. A screen comes up alerting the clerk and they have to touch OK or NO on the touchscreen. That is why many of ther clerks ask you if it is ok, so you won’t be suprised when you get your receipt and see the coupon was adjusted down by the computer. That happtened to everyone who bought those 99 cents Sally hansen nail polishes. Those who bought 2 received 1.98 for the coupon. But those who bought 3 received 2.97 for the same $3.00 coupon! The computer would not allow more then the item totals. As far as how much the store receives from the manufacturer I believe 100% of the times they get full value. Once the coupon is redeemed its placed in the drawer and later combined with all the stores coupons from that location. When they are sent to coprporate for sorting and to be redeemed from the manufacturer, do you think they are gunna remeber which coupon was over and under. I don’t thinks so. They are gunna get the face value of the coupon and that’s it period.The reason why some stores make a fuss over the overage is because they are thinking that if you only bought that one item and then used the coupon that caused the overage, then you would have a negative total and therefore they would have to give you cash back.Coupon overage is a very touchy subject and will vary tremendiously. Its like the BOGO sales and then you have the BOGO coupons. You should be able to get both items for free and just pay applicable tax on 1 item. Many have called corporate and verified this with them; however customers seem to receive such a varied response between each store location and even between each individual cashieer.Good luck using all you coupons and don’t be discouraged; its still worth it!-Liz


Anonymous August 7, 2008 at 7:07 pm

I usually shop at Walgreens and have never had a problem as long as my total is greater than my coupons. they have always given me the full amount.


Trish August 7, 2008 at 3:31 pm

During high school and college, I worked at a local grocery store. Their policy was not to give overages. If someone was using a coupon that would give them money back, we were supposed to change the amount the coupon was worth and write that on the coupon. Example: if mustard was on sale for $.99 and they had a $1.00 off coupon, we could only put the coupon in at $.99, not $1 and then we had to write $.99 on the coupon. I don’t know if that was the store’s decision or if manufacturers wanted them to do that.In my recent experience, the cashiers don’t care or they don’t notice if I have an overage. Only once in the last several years did a cashier at CVS tell me she could only give me the coupon for the price of the item, which was fine with me.


magidraki August 7, 2008 at 1:57 pm

At Wegmans, if a coupon is for more than the item, a manager has to come over and handle it. I think their policy is to adjust the coupon amount (and I have seen them write the price on the coupon). If doubling a coupon amounts to more than the cost of the item, the system automatically fixes it (like, $0.75 + $0.74 for a $1.49 item).


jill August 7, 2008 at 1:48 pm

I have the best luck with young male cashiers at Walmart. Don't know why, but they seem to always take the whole amount off, even if it's an overage. The screen says ?coupon amount valid? or something like that, and they just always push yes! So, even if it's a longer line, I always find the male cashiers. However, at Albertson's, I had 2 of the $1 off powerade coupons-they were on sale for .69 – they would only let me use one coupon & applied it towards both powerades. I asked them to just adjust both down, and they said no. Then at Walgreens the other day, she wouldn't adjust one down, either, even when I asked her to.So I agree, it really always depends!


Liberty August 7, 2008 at 10:19 am

I have this happen to me at Walmart & Alberstons – they will over ride the coupon amount for the 'real' price. I too have always wondered if they are still getting the full coupon amount though.


Heather August 7, 2008 at 9:58 am

Josh and Lindsey: Next time that happens you need to politely ask to speak to the manager about using those coupons that the cashier questions. You don’t need to argue with the cashier, you just need to take it to the next higher authority. The manager should be happy to accept your coupon or at least adjust it downward so you can get the item for free. Good luck!


Heather August 7, 2008 at 9:49 am

Sorry, The Adams Family, I just took another look at that Wendy’s coupon and realized they’ve individualized the link for each recipient of their emails. I’ve replaced the coupon with the general link to sign-up for their future coupons by email.


Lindsey S August 7, 2008 at 9:25 am

I tried to get a sample size of Old Spice Shampoo (which was 99 cents) using a coupon for $1 off any size Old Spice product, and the WalMart cashier refused to take it, saying it was because the coupon was for more than the product cost. She was not the friendliest and I believe she did that with another sample size w/ coupon. I was not very happy, but in no mood to argue at the time. If you get any more info on this, please let me know.


jenkatt August 7, 2008 at 8:55 am

I’ve gotten overages at Publix. I’ve gone to a few local ones and gotten the overage at all of them.


Helene August 7, 2008 at 8:41 am

I always get overage at Walmart with no problem. Except when they “forget” to scan my Planter’s and Buddie’s coupons. At Jewel in the Chicago area I tried to use the $1 off the Gillette small body washes and the asst mgr backed up the cashier and when I asked for it to be adjusted down a penny she said “oh we can’t do that, we have to scan them.” At CVS I used the Buddies coupon and he said it had to be adjusted to the price, was that ok? I said of course. My guess is they still get their full amount back but not sure if anyone in accounting departments really care or notice or if the automated tracking does anything about it.My overage at Walmart sometimes pays for this ridiculous 10% tax we have here. BTW, love your blog. I’m new to this (since May) and I can’t find deals or match coupons to stack for sales so I depend on you all 🙂


The Adams Family August 7, 2008 at 7:14 am

I try to print $1 Wendy Salad but said you have printed limit and I did click on Help, but no go. Wonder if anyone have any problem to print this coupon? Thanks!


The Adams Family August 7, 2008 at 7:09 am

Just want to share this: yesterday I got lot of coupons from Kroger Co. that I frequently shop there for groceries/fill the gas. Those coupons are really good and I will for sure use them. 🙂


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