It sounds like Ed’s store allows coupon overage but does not allow cash back in an overage situation. The register allows the overage to be applied to other items he’s buying in the same transaction.
The store is reimbursed the full, face value of the coupon. So, to use my $4 cosmetics coupon as an example again, the store will be reimbursed $4, plus a handling fee. No matter what price the cosmetic product sells for, the store gets the $4. Knowing this, if the store allows you to buy other items and “eat up” that overage, applying it to your own groceries, it’s absolutely a smart thing to do.
Here’s another reader email regarding overage:
Sometimes I have a Buy One Get One Free coupon and it states it is valid up to $1.50, but when the item’s price comes up, if it’s less than $1.50 they enter the amount that the item scanned at – for example, $1.
I thought if the coupon states $1.50 and the item value is less that they are supposed to credit you that amount on your bill at the end.
BOGO and free-product coupons do typically contain an “up to” price. They’re intended to make a product free at whatever price it’s selling for – within reason. The “up to” price is the maximum dollar amount that the manufacturer will reimburse. But, these coupons are different than standard dollars-off coupons. The store will only be reimbursed for the actual selling price of the item, so the store is only allowed to take off the actual selling price of the item and no more. You do not receive overage with these coupons.
Smart Living Tip: To find out how your store handles coupon overage, check the store’s coupon policy. Many national supermarket and drugstore chains have their coupon policies available online, and the policies clarify whether or not your coupon will be adjusted down or whether you’ll receive the overage.