Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coupon Clarity: Purchase VS. Transaction!

Several months ago, I wrote an article for The Coupon Posse called Purchase VS. Transaction in response to a reader's question.  A few days ago I encountered this problem myself and found myself explaining the difference to the cashier.    It's a very common mis-understanding among shoppers and cashiers alike that can cause quite a bit of confusion and frustration!  Here is the difference:

A transaction is the total sum of all the items you are purchasing on one shopping order.  In most cases, you will be purchasing several items during your shopping trip, but you only pay for all of it once.  Upon paying for your shopping order, you are completing a transaction.

A purchase, in regards to coupon usage, refers to the single item that the coupon can be used for.  When a coupon states "Limit one coupon per purchase, any other use constitutes fraud" what it means is that you may use one coupon per like item that you are buying.    If you are purchasing more then one identical item, then you can use more then one identical coupon. If you were purchasing just one item and tried to use  two manufacturers coupons for it, that would constitute fraud.

When a coupon states " Limit one coupon per purchase, limit of four like coupons per shopping trip" (like the  P&G coupons), it means that you can purchase four items and use four coupons but no additional identical coupons can be used no matter how many more identical items you are purchasing in that transaction.

This is not very common, but sometimes coupons will state "one coupon per transaction" or "one coupon per customer"and when that happens you are limited to using just one like coupon for your whole shopping order.  Reading the fine print on the coupons you plan on using, especially if you have several of the same, can prevent possible problems at the check out.

Simply put, per purchase = per item. Per transaction = all items purchased in the shopping trip.  The cashier I had was new to the job and just didn't know the difference.  With so much coupon fraud going on, they are nervous and will error on the side of caution when it comes to accepting multiple like coupons.  So, if this happens to you, politely explain the difference and if further explanation is needed,  there is nothing wrong with asking the supervisor over to clarify for both yourself and the cashier, especially if it is something that will make your future transactions go smoother, and make the cashier's job easier :) 

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