How to read a coupon
For such a little piece of paper, there is a lot of information to be found on a coupon. I consider coupons to be pretty important, and like any important document, you need to read the fine print.
So if you never have read the fine print, or you have but are still confused and unsure of what some of the information means, keep reading…
Here we have the dollar value of the coupon and the product that it is valid on. The wording says “when you buy ANY Gain Fireworks product”, meaning it is valid on any size and scent variety. Don’t worry about what the picture shows, the wording is what matters.
On either the top or the bottom of the coupon you will see the expiration date and the words “manufacturer coupon” (some coupons do not say manufacturer coupon – in this case, you may want to check with the manufacturer themselves to make sure that the coupon was created by them and that it’s valid).
There is a lot of information here, which is separated for the Dealer and the Consumer/Customer.
- They will be reimbursed for the value of the coupon, plus a handling fee.
- They may be refused reimbursement by the company if fraud is suspected.
- Coupons submitted 3 to 12 months (depending on the coupon) after the expiration date will not be accepted.
- The mailing address to send the coupon for redemption.
The Consumer is you, and the fine print has a lot of important information that you need to be aware of.
““Limit one coupon per purchase” means that you can only use one coupon per item purchased. This means if you have 4 coupons you can buy 4 items.
This is different than “one coupon per customer“. Even if you have 4 coupons, retailers will only let you use one. If you’re shopping with three other people, then you can use all 4 coupons since you are 4 customers.
“Use of more than one manufacturer coupon per product is strictly prohibited” means that this coupon is not stackable (some stores allow coupon stacking in Canada). The restrictions of the coupon override store policy so even if a store does allow coupon stacking, coupons with this phrase cannot be stacked.
- You cannot use a coupon if you are purchasing items for resale.
- The coupon is void if it is altered or reproduced from the original.
- You may have to pay sales tax on the item.
When it comes to sales tax, if you are purchasing an item that costs $3.99 and you have a $2 coupon, you will be taxed on the full $3.99 and then have the $2 deducted from the grand total.
When you have a coupon like the $4/$5 Chapmans or $1 Colgate-Palmolive call in (you can get these coupons from the company) that will often get you a free product when used during a great sale, you still have to pay the taxes, because it is not a “FREE” coupon (Free Product Coupon or FPC).
When you have a Free Product Coupon, it is stated on the coupon that sales tax, if applicable, is included in the face value of the coupon. It is “applicable” depending on the province that you live in and their specific sales tax – meaning that you may or may not have to pay sales tax on free items.
“No cash or credit in excess of shelf price may be returned to the consumer or applied to transactions.” – This means that if the coupon is valued at $1 and the item only costs $0.50, the retailer is not supposed to give you the $0.50 overage. This only recently started appearing on P&G coupons and so far is the only manufacturer that has this restriction.
And there you have it, all the coupon fine print decoded. Now, all coupons vary slightly, but most of the information is pretty standard. And remember, if part of the information is missing, it may be a fake coupon.