There are still a number of stores out there that refuse to honor Internet coupons (also called online coupons or printable coupons) due to the false impression that all coupons from the Internet are counterfeit. This impression does have its root in truth, but the problem has been largely solved.

In the early 2000s a rash of counterfeit coupons hit the Internet and many stores accepted them without realizing that they were counterfeit. When it became apparent that the coupons were counterfeit, the grocery stores that accepted them had huge losses which they had to absorb. Not wanting that to happen again, many grocery stores decided to not accept Internet coupons at all.

The coupon providers and manufacturers realized that the counterfeit coupons could greatly harm their business, so they worked together to come up with solutions so that grocery stores could verify if a coupon was counterfeit or not. Today, coupons printed from the Internet will have features such as a scannable bar code, an expiration date and the address of the manufacturer. There should also be information on the coupon explaining how it can be verified.

Most grocery stores now accept Internet coupons, but it is likely that you will run across a store manager that refuses them if you are active in couponing. If this is the case with a store near you, here are a couple of steps that you can take to try and change that.

If it is a national chain grocery store, write to the headquarters and ask for a letter that explains the grocery store chain's Internet coupon policy. You can then take this with you to the store if you have any problems. You can also print out this letter from Internet coupon company SmartSource Senior Vice President Henri Lellouche which explains why the Internet coupons are legitimate and a phone number the store manager can call if more verification is needed.

If you have had issues with the cashier accepting Internet coupons in the past, go to the customer service desk and get all of your Internet coupons approved beforehand by the agent or store manager. This should rectify any problems the cashier may have.

Unfortunately, you may have to educate and retrain the store manager that Internet coupons are as acceptable as those found in the Sunday newspapers to reap their rewards.

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  1. Walmart used to accept coupons printed from the internet, but no longer. And no explanation. Very frustrating. I dont think they will change their minds and they don’t really care. I may approach the manager and see why.
    HEB is just across the expressway and will take them, so about once a month I shop over there, altho I prefer Walmart prices.

  2. Walmart in my area does still honor online coupons. The catch, they have to be able to be scanned at the register – this is to avoid taking counterfeit coupons.

  3. There was a time when the Walmart store I usually shop at started to reject my internet coupons. Even the supervisor of the cashiers rejected the coupons.

    I fedback this matter at the Walmart website, providing the store number and address. The store manager responded a few weeks later. She said they should accept such coupons, either in color or black&white, as long as the product picture and the deal are clear, and not expired. The store accepts internet coupons again since then.

  4. Last year I had a Walmart clerk refuse a coupon for a DVD that I gave my husband to use. After that refusal I called the customer service to ask why not, as other clerks at that store had accepted internet printed coupons in the past. I was told it was a mistake & they WOULD accept internet coupons, so he went back & got the DVD using the coupon.

    Now I have come across a Frito-Lay coupon for Doritos that my local chain grocery refused today. They told me it was conterfeit & took it & wrote on it!! How can I check if a coupon is legit or not?? Thanks

  5. Thanks for the suggestion! Actually, after I sent my comments to you, I went on their website. There was a big notice that said the kind of coupon that I had was fraudulent. I should have realized it was too good a deal to be true! Thanks for your help. Myrnama

  6. I love Kroger and they are always good about accepting coupons and mailing coupons to consumers. I printed from the internet a coupon
    for F R E E Doritos(any flavor)up to
    a maximum of 5.00.My church was
    having vac. bible class.I went to Kroger to use the coupon and was told that they would not accept coupon that stated F R E E. I spoke with the manager he scan the coupon and it scan for .10.Your infomation was very helpful.Advise store manager to post this infomation from your site in the stores.

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