Why Won’t My Coupon Scan (The Store Refused to Accept It)

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It is frustrating when you can not get your coupon to scan at the store.  Find out the most common reasons WHY your coupon will not scan (and what you might do to prevent if from happening again).


I am guessing that this has happened to many of you.  You find a great coupon on-line and hit the print button.  You head to your favorite store and buy the exact product on the coupon.

You reach the cashier, you hand over the product and the coupon.  They try to scan the coupon and nothing happens – in fact- it beeps.   They try again and again, still it won’t go through.

You feel embarrassed and possibly even a bit angry that it didn’t go through.  Was the coupon valid?  Did you get the wrong product? The store ends up handing your coupon back to you letting you know that they will not take it.

This is quite common.  Before we get into why the coupon did not scan, it is important to know your store’s coupon policy.  Many stores have it written that if the coupon does not scan, they will not accept it.  Walmart is one of these stores.  It is just a way to cut down on coupon fraud.

I have shopped at many stores where the coupon will not scan, but the cashier manually enters the coupon for me.  They certainly do not need to do this — but it is great when they do!!

Below you will find a few ideas behind why your coupon may not scan.  Some of these are fixable and others, unfortunately, are not.

Poor Print Quality. If your printer was low on ink or the coupon did not print properly.  This may result in the bar code not properly printing.  Make sure that your coupon is a good quality before you try to redeem it.

PDF coupons. When you print a pdf (which is also an unlimited print), there is not a unique code within the bar code.  This may result in the coupon not being able to be scanned and in turn, the register to beep at you.

Low resolution settings. When you print coupons, the resolution needs to be set correctly.  For some, your printer may work if you are printing on 600 dpi.  For others, it may need to be 1200 dip.  If you continually have issues with printable coupons not scanning, just check your settings (see your printer manufacturer for details on how to do this).

Incorrect Product /Excluded items. It happens.  There are times when you miss that a coupon excludes certain items (for example trial sized products).  When the bar code on the coupon does not match that on the product, the coupon may either beep or not scan altogether. Make sure you read the coupon carefully to ensure you are grabbing the correct item — including the size.

Did not purchase quantity required. Coupons usually include the quantity of items you need to purchase in order to redeem it. It may say you need to purchase 2 or 3 items in order to get the discount. If you purchased too few items, the coupon will not be applied. Either go back and grab the additional items needed to use it, or just take the coupon back to use it later.

Having issues printing coupons?  Check out this post on Common Coupon Printing Issues and How to Fix Them.