Important update: using e-coupons at King Soopers

There’s an important update to King Soopers’ e-coupon program: they have officially stated that you cannot use a digital and paper coupon on the same time.  Their FAQ now says this:

Can I use paper coupons as well as digital coupons on the same item?

Limit of one coupon per item. Digital coupons and paper coupons may not be combined on the purchase of a single item.

Audrey let me know that she received a warning about digital and paper coupon “stacking” when she loaded coupons to her Sooper card, and is wondering if this will cause any problems when checking out. What if you had a paper coupon and an e-coupon for a single item and didn’t realize it?!

I don’t think I would worry about it too much, but of course, do comply with the rules. :) While looking for the above information, I did find out that at least with King Soopers’ own e-coupons, you can now remove them from your card, which goes a long way towards allowing the consumer to prevent e-coupon stacking.

Previously, and with several other e-coupon sites like [cf] and [shortcuts], you were unable to remove any digital coupons from you card, which mean you were “stuck” using an e-coupon when you wanted to use a paper coupon, or had to “illegally” stack them because it wouldn’t allow you to not use the e-coupon.

So, in some ways it’s good news to have an official rule about e-coupon and paper coupon stacking at King Soopers!

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  1. Can you elaborate at all on coupon redemption from the store’s side of it? They get reimbursed from the manufacturer for every coupon that gets used, right? I seem to remember something a year or so ago about King Soopers specifically…How they made so much profit from people using coupons. I was under the impression that coupons are win-win. The consumer gets cheaper groceries and the store makes money off of them, too.

    I guess I am just confused as to why Safeway and King Soopers have such very different coupon policies. Safeway specifically says you CAN stack while King Soopers says you can’t. A while ago, King Soopers changed it so only one e-coupon would come off for an item (even if you bought two and had two e-coupons…which is annoying). At Safeway, they all come off when you buy just one item.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but you are personally against stacking paper and e-coupons, right? Do you have a specific reason? Especially since Safeway encourages it? The technology is there to prevent it if they really wanted to. I have not heard anyone/thing specifically say that you can’t (except King Soopers) or that it is illegal. They won’t say that you can (except Safeway), but they don’t say that you can’t, either.

    Personally, I do the majority of my shopping at Safeway since I can stack them and get better deals. I do very little shopping at King Soopers…unless they are doing some mega event or something…because I just don’t find as good of deals there.

    I am all for doing the right thing…morally and ethically. Perhaps I am just too ignorant on the issue. It would be helpful to understand how it all works “behind the scenes” between the store and the manufacturer.

    Any insights?

    • I totally get what you are saying Adena. Stores definitely make money from coupons. There is the 8 cent handling fee plus the fact that once you are in the store to use your coupons you are likely to buy things you might not have planned to. And why one store can stack and not another I don’t understand. I think the problem lies in that (on paper coupons anyway) it usually states only one coupon per item. Plus in the notes to the retailer it says they will be reimbursed as long as the coupon policies are adhered to. How they know how a store got a coupon, I’ll never know. We need to get someone on this post who has worked in the back office of a grocery store dealing with the coupons, mailing them in, and making sure they are reimbursed properly. That must be a full-time job!

      Someone on the fb wall just posted that KS at Stetson has a sign stating they no longer take internet coupons. I’m about to head up to Hartsel location and hope they don’t have the same sign! OH, how awful that would be.

      • Aubrey-I used two internet printable coupons at the King Soopers at Powers & Stetson Hills today and I don’t remember seeing any signs.

        Does any one else have any info about this?

    • Carrie Isaac says:

      Adena, I actually looked at Safeway’s coupon policy again before writing this post – I know it used to say they were OK with digital+paper stacking, but I couldn’t find it in their policy anymore. So, it makes me thing maybe Safeway has even changed their tune even if they don’t specifically prohibit it (or I could have just totally missed it in their policy!).

      I think the problem is from the manufacturer’s viewpoint, not the stores. The stores get reimbursed for both paper coupons and digital coupons – AND for running sales and promotions on products AND for advertising products. However, the manufacturer has to reimburse the stores for those coupons, so they don’t want you to use a digital and a paper coupon on the same product because they have to pay the store back twice on the same item.

      When it comes down to it, paper coupons and digital coupons are the same from the manufacturer’s standpoint, so in essence, digital+paper stacking is the same as using two coupons on one individual product.

      The manufacturers and stores have to keep each other happy, so I think that’s why the store enforces policies like these. If they let people use coupons illegally (which would potentially help their bottom line until they’re found out!), the manufacturers will NOT be happy. :)

      And yes, I personally don’t endorse it, but also realize that sometimes it’s impossible to comply since some of the e-coupon companies don’t allow you to remove coupons from your card, making it unavoidable.

  2. Adena,
    From all I’ve read, “stacking” coupons isn’t really ethical as you are using two coupons on one product. If the coupons you are using happen to be a manufacturer coupon stacked with a store coupon, that is a little different. When 2 manufacturer coupons are used on the same product, it is true, it doesn’t hurt the store, but it does cost the manufacturer. If the manufacturer has a printed coupon that gives you $1 off one item & you stack an e-coupon (from the same manufacturer) worth $1, you’ve essentially received $2 off one item, where the manufacturer intended the discount to only be $1. I could see manufacturers coming down harder on stores that allow the stacking, since the store isn’t losing money as they are being re-imbursed the $1 paper plus the $1 e-coupon.
    When stores offer instore coupons (Albies & Safeway do so often), it is okay to stack a manu. coupon with them as the manufacturer isn’t paying out twice for the same product. I’m thinking this may not be making total sense, and perhaps Carrie can word it a little more clearly than I! Hope this helps a little, anyway!
    And Audrey, I agree .. how awful it would be if Soopers quit taking internet Qs … I have a couple I plan to use on the kraft cheese! Let us know what you find out! Thanks!

  3. I understand the whole two coupons on one item part…which makes sense.

    But why do they release multiple e-coupons that overlap with each other before they expire. They should make them so the old one expires the day before they release the new one. That way there will only be one available at any give time…at least on each site.

    So is Safeway in the wrong, according to manufacturers, for letting multiple ecoupons come off for one item? And if so, why would anyone ever use ecoupons anyway? They don’t double.

    It just seems way more complicated than it needs to be.

  4. Regarding Safeway, I was told at the one on S. Academy a few weeks ago that they would not accept bot paper and e-coupons and the manager even stated that this was a new policy. With that being said, I checked their site, and if memory serves me, the policy regarding stacking e-coupon and manufacurer coupons only applied in one state (it was either Hawaii or California).

    Since this incident, i have been using the Safeway on S. Nevada without any problems.

    With regard to King Soopers, I’ll be interested to see if there have been any changes in the one I use (Cheyenne Meadows) this week. For what it’s worth, this King Soopers has always been great and I have nothing but good things to say. Really hope that hasn’t changed.

  5. The thing in Safeway’s coupon policy about stacking says that Hawaii is the only state that can’t. That has been confirmed by someone that has personally called and talked to the person who wrote the policy. She was told that if she didn’t live in Hawaii, stack away.

    At least that’s what she said. She is also a blogger.

    What manufacturers think of that, I do not know.

  6. I have never been a safeway shopper, but all of this policy stuff with King Soopers is making me lean the other way now, mostly because I prefer to shop a store that isn’t constantly changing their rules at my expense. Regardless of whether or not it is ethical to stack coupons on one item. I mean really, getting to stack an ecoupon with a paper one only works on one item, since there is usually only one ecoupon for a particular item. That’s just my opinion.

    • King Soopers’ official policy has actually been pretty consistent – it’s just that they are enforcing it more and more. eCoupon stacking with paper coupons has always been a hot topic, but in most cases, it’s always been using two manufacturer’s coupons on one item and though the computer systems allowed it, it was a misuse of coupons. :) Just my opinion. ;)

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