Target (NYSE:TGT) has changed its coupon policy in a way that may infuriate some of its customers.
The chain has recently updated its point-of-sale system, its cash registers, and with the change comes a new policy for accepting coupons. It's a small change, which was first reported by CouponsInTheNews.com, but it takes power away from cashiers.
Under the previous system, the retailer's employees were able to override the system when a coupon was rejected. That is no longer allowed, which could lead to longer lines as customers ask for managers and angry shoppers when certain coupons are not allowed.
What is Target's coupon policy?
In addition to taking away some power from cashiers, Target has also eliminated "overages," the practice of giving cash back when the value of a coupon exceeds the value of the item being purchased.
"We do not give cash back nor do we apply any overages to the remaining items in the transaction if the value of a coupon is greater than the purchase value of the item," reads the Target coupon policy. The company also reserves "the right to refuse, or limit the use of any coupon and/or the subsequent return for any reason, including if guests' reoccurring behavior becomes disruptive or the items are deemed not to be for the purpose of using or gifting."
That all sounds harsh, but it's really just meant to curb abuse and people using coupons to beat the system. The move comes in part because the company's new register technology does a better job identifying coupons and matching them to specific products. Under the old technology, a savvy consumer might be able to use a coupon from a certain company on a product it was not intended for.
As for the overages "change," that was always Target policy, Consumerist reported, but it was up to cashiers to notice and enforce. Now the problem will be spotted by the point-of-sale system taking the human factor out of it.
"We want to ensure coupons are easy for our guests to redeem and seamless for our team members to process," a spokesperson for the company told Consumerist. "This policy is consistent with how we already handle Target-specific coupons."
This is good for most
The new policy may occasionally slow down a line while someone fights for a denied discount. For the most part, however, this prevents abuse and eliminates couponing as a sport. Ultimately that benefits most members of the shopping public who are simply trying to honestly use coupons as intended.
These changes are also good for the chain's bottom line since it eliminates some coupons which it could not redeem with its vendors and it prevents Target from having to give away an item while also offering cash beyond the value of the product.
Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. He almost never uses coupons. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.