ppod_citn-728x90
ppod_citn-320x100

Next time you use coupons at Walgreens, better behave yourself. Otherwise, your store might refuse your coupons – and your business.

The drug store chain has made some changes to its coupon policy, officially effective today – though apparently backdated to March 1, according to Walgreens’ website, which was updated just last week (not on March 1). So it’s not clear whether Walgreens is simply formalizing changes that have been in place for some time, standardizing policies across all stores, or changing policies altogether. Either way, while the changes to the previous posted policy aren’t drastic, they could affect some of Walgreens’ more extreme couponers, and just might help ease some tense situations at the checkout.

Or they might exacerbate them. But we’ll see.

The new posted policy makes clear a number of guidelines that some individual Walgreens stores already had in place. The most notable rule is one that other retailers have had for a while – and now Walgreens does, too: “Walgreens accepts up to four like coupons for multiple qualifying items,” replacing the old verbiage “Walgreens accepts multiple coupons for multiple qualifying items.” In case it’s not clear, the new policy reiterates the new limit: “There is a limit of four identical coupons per household, per day that will be accepted.”

336x280-CITN-3

Before now, if your store would stand for it, you could bring a dozen or even a hundred coupons for the same product, and buy a dozen or a hundred of them at a discount. “Best thing about couponing at Walgreens: No identical coupon limit,” the Krazy Coupon Lady wrote in a recent roundup of stores with the best coupon policies. But no longer.

The new policy also clarifies that Walgreens does not accept mobile coupons except for its own: “Stores cannot scan a coupon barcode from a mobile device that resides outside of the Walgreens mobile app, Walgreens.com Ship to Store ready for pickup email, or myWalgreens account.” And it includes a few points you’d think would have been in the policy before now, such as stating that “items purchased must match the description on the coupon, (i.e., brand, size, color, flavor, scent, quantity, etc.)” and that the store will not accept “coupons that are copied, reproduced, altered, transferred, purchased, sold, or prohibited by law.”

And if you make a stink about the new rules when checking out, be warned. The policy now states that “Walgreens reserves the right to refuse, or limit the use of any coupon, including if the customer’s behavior becomes disruptive/confrontational or the items being purchased are deemed not for normal household use.” That’s similar language to what’s used in the policies of retailers like Walmart and Target, but it’s a new one for Walgreens. By empowering employees to shut down couponers who are “disruptive” or “confrontational,” the policy turns the old adage “the customer is always right” on its head. But if you’ve ever witnessed a confrontation over coupons – the change may be for the best.

That said, the parts of the policy that are open to interpretation could conceivably cause more confrontations than they solve. It will be up to each store to determine what constitutes “normal household use.” Got a big family? Hope you don’t need to buy a lot at Walgreens, because your store might not consider your purchases “normal.” The new policy also replaces the definitive rule “paper coupons will be processed before digital coupons” with the vague new wording “coupons will be processed in the order that is determined by Walgreens.” And store management will have the final authority to “determine if a coupon can be used and answer any questions or disputes on the interpretation of the policy.”

One bit of good news is that the new policy clarifies that “returns for items purchased with a manufacturer’s coupon will be processed for the full price paid for the item, which includes the value of the coupon(s),” so your store won’t deduct the value of any coupons you used when you make a return. A potential bit of bad news is that the new policy eliminates a section that stated “Walgreens shall accept manufacturer coupons for items that are on sale.” That would be major news if Walgreens will no longer allow you to use a coupon when an item is on sale – but presumably this is missing from the new policy only because it’s an oversight, or so obvious that it’s not worth mentioning. The same is likely true about the fact that the new policy no longer states that “Walgreens will not accept fraudulent or counterfeit coupons.” It’s a safe bet that Walgreens is not happily accepting counterfeit coupons now, just because it didn’t specify in its new coupon policy that it won’t.

Perhaps the most unusual part of the updated policy is how it was rolled out. Images of what appear to be an internal Walgreens memo began circulating on social media late last week, informing Walgreens employees that “on Monday, July 26, 2021, the updated version of the Coupon Procedure will go into effect,” and highlighting several key points, including the four-like-coupon limit and the restrictions on mobile coupon acceptance. At about the same time, Walgreens quietly updated its coupon policy online, but appeared to make the policy changes retroactive to March of this year, since the site claims to have been “Updated: March 1, 2021,” which is not the case, since archived versions of the page show it was not changed until last week, not on March 1.

A Walgreens customer service representative confirmed that the new policy is effective today. But a Walgreens corporate spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment about the specific policy changes, the reasons for those changes, or the contradiction about the effective date.

Ultimately, the updated policy is unlikely to have a major effect on most Walgreens couponers’ shopping trips. With more coupons going digital, fewer shoppers are showing up with fistfuls of paper coupons anymore, so a limit of four like coupons is reasonable enough for most. Cutting back on the number of paper coupons accepted, while making clear that stores won’t accept most mobile coupons, could do a lot to thwart fraudsters who like to print off multiple copies of paper coupons and make their own realistic-looking mobile coupons. And if banning “disruptive/confrontational” couponers makes shopping at Walgreens more peaceful for everyone – all of these coupon policy changes just might be worth it.

Image source: JeepersMedia

3 Comments

  1. I stopped shopping at walgreens in March of this year when my local store said they would no longer accept ANY coupons for ANY items that were on sale. I note the new official walgreens coupon policy removes the previous wordage about how coupons would be accepted for items on sale.

  2. Hopefully they don’t try to use that problems thing when the problem is on their side.

    For instance – the current coupon for Irish Spring or Softsoap wash. If you buy 2 Irish Spring, 2 coupons will scan fine. If you get one of each, only the first coupon scans. It was apparently not coded right for the Softsoap (which is an issue between the store and coupon company), but they usually try to blame it on the customer.

    The limit of 4 isn’t really much issue any more, as so many coupons already have that limit (if not a limit lower like 2 or 1) anyway.

  3. I rarely shop at WG but I returned something recently and was pleasantly surprised to get the coupon amount included, even a Register Reward that I had used.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy