Sep 09

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My Coupons Won’t Scan! Now What?

I’m sure we’ve all been there: you planned your list, did your shopping, you have two (or three .. or four) screaming kids in your cart, you are finally in the check out lane and think you can breathe a sigh of relief. Almost done! Then after scanning all your items, your coupon(s) won’t scan! AH! I always feel my face get a little red.. people are going to think I have a fraudulent coupon! Don’t jump to conclusions, there may be other reasons your coupon won’t scan!

1. Some coupons aren’t coded correctly and therefore will not scan.

2. Your ink levels may be low and therefore the printing quality is poor and it makes it hard for the scanner to work properly. I know some have even said they have a problem with ALL their printables – you may want to consider changing your printer to the highest quality setting to see if that helps.

3. With most printables online (like SmartSource or Bricks Coupons) you can print two per computer. However, sometimes companies will put out PDF format coupons where you click a link and then a PDF loads to print with your coupon. Sometimes these have no limit for how many you can print. However, when you take them to the store, you may get that dreaded “beep” and the cashier doesn’t want to accept it. You haven’t done anything wrong if you KNOW that you printed it from a legitimate site (such as the manufacturer’s website) however their computer system just doesn’t like that the coupon doesn’t have a unique code. While the manufacturer should honor it if they put out the coupon, many store policies state they can refuse any coupons that don’t scan. You may decide printing multiples of these types of coupons just aren’t worth it to you for this reason.

4. The machine may be old and not scanning the new type of barcodes properly. Or your cashier may be scanning the wrong one if there are two. Check out info on the new barcode system or if you have two barcodes, kindly suggest your cashier tries the other one.

5. You may have purchased the wrong item. I did this the other day! I was at Wal Mart and had a Thermacare coupon. I grabbed Wal Mart brand by mistake and since the packaging was similar it took the cashier and I each a minute to realize the problem. Other common issues include purchasing one when you need two to use the coupon or incorrect product size.

Remember to never, never, never copy a coupon! Read your coupons carefully to make sure you’re purchasing the correct sizes and amounts. Many stores do state in their coupon policies that if a printed coupon doesn’t scan, they can refuse it. If this happens to you, remember to continue being kind – they are just trying to do their job to the best of their ability even if you don’t agree with them! Finally, make sure to always print from reputable sites.

Have you had the dreaded “beep” happen to you? What was it for? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear your stories!

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  1. kailee b

    I had the beep before, it was on a manufacturers coupon from the Sunday paper, I bought three of the items and first two scanned fine, and the third did not, the cashier refused to try again and then my b1g1 coupons didn’t scan ( from Sunday inserts) showed her I got the right items and refused to get a manager. Haven’t had any problems with printed coupons yet tho.

    1. Layne Quintanilla

      Oh no! That’s horrible, Kailee! I would have for sure called corporate or gone to the service desk and asked them to get you a manager. Some people’s attitudes stink!!

  2. Lisa

    After ad-matching at Walmart, I submitted my $90 worth of coupons the machine stopped accepting them after only a few. Apparently, I had exceded the allowed entries. I had two carts full of bagged groceries and was prepared to sort thru all of the bags and have them void the items that I hadn’t redeemed coupons for and make a separate transaction. Fortunately for me, that night the floor manager was sympathetic and called in the store manager that approved manual entry on the rest of the coupons. I was about in tears thinking of the time and effort it was going to take to check out, but it turned out OK!

    1. Layne Quintanilla

      Oh, my! I’ve had that happen before too! Thankfully, the manager has always come and done the over ride… they have a very low capacity for coupon acceptance without manager approval, I’ve found!! Glad you received good help as well!!

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