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Monday, October 17, 2016

New Coupon Changes Coming To Target: Important News For Shoppers!

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Bad news for Target couponers -- it looks like the chain is making changes to how shoppers can use coupons with their popular gift card promotions.

Going forward, stores will be given the authority to adjust the coupon's value down if it's used as part of a gift card promotion.  

The value will now be adjusted to the return value of the product, which figures in the cost of the gift card.

So for example, if your return value of an item after a gift card deal is $1.50, and you are using a $2 coupon, the coupon will be adjusted down to $1.50.

That means money-makers will be much more rare than in the past!  

And more importantly from Target's perspective, it means shoppers/scammers won't be able to purchase items with coupons, and then return them for a higher value and pocket the difference.

Here's an example deal scenario so you can see what I'm talking about:
  • Pantene Hair Care -- priced at $3.24 per bottle, with a free $5 Target gift card when you buy three in the same transaction.
  • Buy six for a pre-coupon price of $19.44.
  • Use three $4 off 2 coupons from the 10/16 Smartsource inserts.
  • Pay $7.44 out of pocket, then get $10 back in gift cards.
  • All six are FREE, plus $2.56 profit on your purchase!
Now, that scenario would work something like this:
  • Buy six for a pre-coupon price of $19.44.  Since your purchase will trigger $10 in gift cards, the return value of the transaction is $9.44 for all six, or $1.57 each.
  • Use three $4 off 2 coupons from the 10/16 Smartsource insert.
  • The three coupons will be adjusted down to $3.15 off 2 bottles, for a total discount of $9.44 off your purchase.  
  • You'd pay $10 out of pocket, then get your $10 back in gift cards.
  • So all six bottles would still be free, but there'd be no money-making opportunity (and thereby no incentive for a shopper to buy and return the product unnecessarily.)
I looked at the Target coupon policy to see if the changes were reflected there.  While this change is not explicitly spelled out in the policy, there are two bullet points that will support this switch:

Now, I think it's important to remember that we will still see the occasional money-maker at Target -- but they will be almost all driven by rebate apps instead of gift cards.

In other words, you might find a deal that is fully reimbursed and then some once you submit for a rebate.  

This is another really important reason for folks to get familiar with apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, Mobisave, and others!

What do you think of this new policy change at Target?  Will it change your current shopping habits in any way?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!