A store's coupon policy should be pretty straight forward, right? Not all of them are, and some policies aren't readily available to consumers.
Over the past few months, Kroger and Food Lion have been heavily promoting their new digital coupons, which can be loaded directly onto a shopper’s rewards card.
While these digital coupons save consumers from clipping and carrying paper coupons, they could also be limiting savings. With the rollout of the new digital options, the coupon policies of stores are changing, and here are some details about how you can benefit most as a consumer.
Kroger no longer allows shoppers to combine an eCoupon with a paper coupon. While this rule was already in effect in relation to the digital coupons available on Kroger.com, this updated rule applies to users downloading coupons from Cellfire and Shortcuts eCoupons.
This means that any digital coupons downloaded to your rewards card will be automatically applied and a paper coupon for the same product can’t be used (unless you’re buying two or more of the same product).
Generally, I’ve noticed that many paper or printable coupons carry a higher value than digital coupons, so this could be a big downside to the digital downloads. Perhaps the biggest negative, though, is that digital coupons don’t double. Kroger stores double any coupon under 50 cents and triple any coupon up to 39 cents (UPDATE: This is no longer offered in our region), as long as the coupon doesn’t list any restrictions. Additionally, only one coupon per item is allowed, but there is not a limit on the number of coupons shoppers may use.
Food Lion’s coupon policy has been going through some changes, too. Coupons can no longer be “stacked” (using a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon). According to Food Lion’s updated policy, a limit of 10 identical items can be purchased using a separate coupon for each.
Similar to Kroger, the digital coupons at Food Lion are applied once your MVP card is scanned. When asked about the company’s policy for doubling coupons, Food Lion Spokesperson Benny Smith declined to comment. I called various stores in the area and found out that some stores double paper coupons and some do not.
Walmart has a favorable coupon policy for consumers. A majority of competitors’ coupons are accepted, checkout coupons (those printed at the competitors’ registers) are accepted and if the coupon value exceeds the price of the item, the excess can be given back as cash or applied toward the purchase. Like Kroger and Food Lion, there is only one coupon allowed per item. Walmart does not double or triple coupons, and currently Walmart.com only offers printable coupons.
Unlike the other stores, Kroger’s paper coupon policy is not readily available to shoppers online or in stores (the digital policy is available online). For details, you must call your local store or 1-800-KROGERS.
It seems to me that Kroger should have a printed or digital copy of the policy for shoppers to refer to, especially when significant changes occur. What do you think? Tuesday afternoon I finally got an email back from Kroger customer service stating you could use a manufacturer’s coupon and store coupon at the same time, but this differed from what I was told by store managers. I would recommend calling your preferred store and asking about their policy.
To view Walmart’s coupon policy, click here.
To view Food Lion’s coupon policy, click here.
To view Kroger’s digital coupon policy, click here.