Have you noticed an increasing problem with HEB cashiers refusing printable coupons?
If you've had printable coupons denied at your local HEB, chances are it was a memorable experience -- after all, you went into the store looking for particular deals that you weren't able to buy at the price you planned for!
Well, according to a loyal HEB Bargain Hunter reader, it turns out that HEB cashiers are being trained to refuse perfectly valid printable coupons that don't meet certain guidelines.
Here's what April reported after a phone conversation with HEB Customer Service today, following a poor customer service experience where she was denied using valid coupons:
"The outcome of the call was that while HEB still hasn't updated their registers to scan these barcodes, they are supposed to enter them manually IF they are from coupon inserts.
But if it's an internet printed coupon, and it only has a GS1 barcode and not the upc barcode, it won't scan and the employees have been instructed to refuse them."Here's a screen shot of what April is talking about:
This is an example of a coupon that has both a UPC barcode (the older coupon code that's on the left) as well as the GS1 databar code, which is the newer code found in the middle of the coupon.
All coupons are in the process of shifting over to the databar code, which gives manufacturers much more specific information about how a coupon is used, and is meant to help prevent coupon fraud. You can read more about the new GS1 barcode here.
So basically, since HEB hasn't invested the cash in upgrading the registers to the new barcode system yet, they have decided that in the meantime the best policy is to deny honest customers, using legitimately printed coupons, their discounts.
Fun times, right?
In fact, the customer service rep told April that the reason these coupons will be denied is because "there are so many people copying internet coupons and they can't guarantee that they are going to get reimbursed from the manufacturer on an internet printed coupon."
That's especially ironic considering the GS1 barcode is supposed to be much MORE difficult to fraudulently copy, and therefore meant to cut down on coupon fraud!
April told the HEB Customer Service rep she talked to that she will take her printable coupons to Target or Walmart, where they will be accepted more readily, which is exactly what I would have done in her situation.
If this happens to you at your local HEB grocery store, or if this just plain gets under your skin, here are some additional steps you can take:
- Follow up with HEB Customer Service either on their website or their Facebook page;
- Call or email the manufacturer who released the coupon to let them know which store denied use. Sometimes manufacturers can have more sway than consumers in these situations!
- Share which stores you had this happen at via the HEB Bargain Hunter Facebook page, or share your comments below. Minimally, we can put together a list of which HEB stores are focusing on the customer-service piece of this puzzle, so we can reward them with greater business.
It also never hurts to review my tips on how to handle a coupon-challenged cashier while you're at it.
Your turn: Have you been having more problems couponing at HEB? How have you handled any issues that cropped up at the register? Share your stories in the comment section below.
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