Have you noticed anything different about many of your coupons? If you look carefully, you might see that the bar code has taken on a new look. No longer will you find the two small bar codes at the bottom of your coupon. Instead, you will find one that looks like the one pictured above. There are some things you will want to know about this new barcode, in case you have problems.
WHY THE NEW FORMAT?
This new format will give manufacturers more options when it comes to purchase requirements and values. In addition, it will even allow for them to code more complex offers. It will also enable to the coupon to be validated at checkout in order to ensure that the correct purchase was made. In essence – to cut down on the use of coupons using bar code decoding (or mis-respresentation).
Not only that, the new code is to allow for better scanning. With more specific coding built into the coupon it will allow for fewer options that can be decoded. It will also be able to allow retailers to code chain-specific promotions, which has been impossible to do until now. It will also improve tracking and auditing back to the manufacturers.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ME DIRECTLY?
In essence, the new format stops people for using bar code decoding and using a coupon on a product “just because it scans.” This will ensure that coupons are redeemed on the products for which they were intended – with less human intervention to ensure that its done properly. For around 99.9% of us this is not an issue, but for the 0.01% who do this, they now must abide by what the coupon says like the rest of us do!
The problem right now is that so many cashiers are use to the older format that they they do not know about reading/redeeming these coupons. In fact, some cashiers are claiming that they are fraudulent and will not even accept them! This exact this happened recently to Rebecca.
She was redeeming some of the newest coupons at her local Walmart. The newest format of these coupons were not scanning at her store. Walmart’s policy is that if it will not scan, they will not accept it. She was then accused of trying to pass fake coupons by the manager at that store. When she tried to explain to the manager that this was the new bar code that was being implemented, they would not listen to her. At that moment, Rebecca asked for her coupons to be returned to her and left the store. She handled the situation very well and with integrity.
Unfortunately, many registers/scanners can not yet read these coupons. This may result in the cashier having to manually enter them or (sadly) your coupon being rejected. I know it is frustrating, but this should change as we move into this year.
If you are accused of using fake coupons, you might want to just bookmark Bar Code Graphics, Inc. and have it to show to them on your smart phone – or print out the information about the new code. While it may not always help, you never know when it might just be the information needed in order for your coupons to be accepted.
Have you had any issues yet with your coupons being rejected? If so, what was your situation and how was it handled?