Frustrated by coupon exclusions? What you can do

Posted at 7:58 AM, Dec 08, 2015

Planning to use some coupons during your holiday shopping this year, perhaps one that gives you 25% off your purchase, or $10 off if you spend $50?

Stores are barraging our mailboxes and inboxes with extra saving coupons: only problem is that it's tougher to use them for anything you want.

Dick's Disappointment

What teenager wouldn't like a Christmas gift from Dick's Sporting Goods?

That's what Judy Lowe figured.    

So she decided to use a $10 off coupon that Dick's had sent to her phone, to buy the teens some athletic clothing.

"They had some good sale items, but I could not use the coupon, couldn't get it to go through on the online purchase."

She was perplexed. Her item wasn't on the extensive list of exclusions, so she called customer service.

"The man says 'I'm sorry, its excluded,'" she said. "He said 'do you see the line on the coupon, that it can't be used with any other promotion?'"

It turns out Dick's was offering free shipping, on the item, which invalidated the coupon. "Because it was free shipping, you could not use the $10 coupon," she said.  "It was crazy!"

Exclusions Grow at Many Stores

Of course, experienced couponers know that Dick's is not the only store doing this.

More and more retailers these days fill their coupons with exclusions.

The savings websiteRather-be-Shopping.com says:

  • Dick's excludes almost 100 brands including Nike, Under Armour, and North Face.
  • Macy's --outside its Friends and Family sale -- also excludes dozens of brands, including Coach, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors.
  • JC Penney coupons tend to exclude Levi's, Converse, and Disney apparel.

Perhaps it would be easiest if the coupons simply listed the brands where you can use them.

Dicks has explained to us that "manufacturers, not the store, make the rules, and typically do not allow markdowns on current season merchandise."

So  if you find a coupon with hundreds of exclusions, don't blame the store clerk.

They are not allowed to mark down current year merchandise, or they can violate their agreement with the company.

What You Can do

Your best bet to get a sale on name brands:

  • Look for last year's merchandise
  • Check the Final Clearance racks
  • Ask if  a Friends and Family sale may be coming up (when they are allowed to discount name brands and designer labels).

That way, you don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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