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Target's new in-store coupon policy frustrating shoppers

Posted at 6:00 AM, Dec 19, 2022

Many shoppers still love to save money with digital or paper coupons. But at one popular retailer, it's getting tougher to use coupons.

Shopper Carla Duburgy said she noticed something different when she tried to use a coupon at Target.

"I've had two coupons, and they would only take one," she said.

Target's New Policy

So what's changed? Target recently updated its in-store coupon policy. In a statement, the company explains that the new policy is about cutting down on fraud and fake coupons.

"Beginning October 3rd, Target now only accepts coupons that can be validated through a master file of barcodes provided by manufacturers," the company says. "By doing this, we’ve seen a 95% reduction of counterfeit coupon acceptance. Not only will this reduce coupon fraud, [but] it will also ensure consistency for our team and help provide all guests with access to the savings intended for them."

For shoppers with paper coupons, it can mean rejection at the cash register.

Joanie Demer, the co-founder of The Krazy Coupon Lady blog, says this is a major change from Target's former policy.

"Anything outside the Target app is going to have to validate against this central database, which is very different from how it has done in the past," she explained.

Herteam's recent test found that only half of their paper coupons were accepted by Target cash registers.

"You've got about a 50-50 shot of that coupon being accepted automatically by the register," she said.

Duburgy said the new policy is frustrating.

"I just know when I am going in that if I've got coupons, I am probably going to have to fight to get what the coupon says I should get," she said.

What Can Couponers Do About the New Policy?

The Krazy Coupon Lady suggests:

  • Use coupons in Target's app rather than paper coupons
  • Save paper coupons for other stores

That way, you're not frustrated, and you don't waste your money.

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