April 20, 2012

Commissaries announce coupon policy changes

by Rick Brink
Defense Commissary Agency Public Affairs

Changes are on the way in how commissaries handle coupons and product returns without receipts, among other things, as the Defense Commissary Agency enacts customer service policy changes to protect the commissary benefit.

“The average coupon user might not notice the policy changes because they are aimed at preventing possible misuse of the commissary benefit – primarily using coupons to get large amounts of cash back,” said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO.

Commissary shoppers are big users of coupons, as evidenced by DeCA’s consistent ranking among the top 10 grocery retailers in coupon redemptions over the past several years.

Commissaries welcome coupon usage, and to acquaint customers with the changes in the coupon acceptance policy, it has been posted on the agency’s Web site at www.commissaries.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YourCommissary.

Key changes, which go into effect May 1, include:

  • Gift cards will be issued to a customer in conjunction with cash whenever a transaction total reflects $25 or more is owed to the customer due to coupon “overages” (when the face value of the coupon exceeds the selling price of the item purchased and the transaction results in a negative balance)
  • Gift cards will be issued to customers, in conjunction with cash, for refunds of $25 or more when a receipt is presented showing the merchandise was originally purchased with gift cards
  • Gift cards will be issued to customers, in conjunction with cash, for refunds of $25 or more when a receipt is not presented
  • Clarification for instances of suspected privilege abuse
  • Update to the coupon acceptance policy that clarifies dot-scan barcode requirements and PIN requirements for unique numbering, that photocopies and counterfeit coupons are not accepted, and that coupons must be printed in English

The changes harness the scope of the new commissary gift card, which has been in use since last summer. Available only in denominations of $25 and $50, issuing gift cards as an alternative to paying out large sums of cash brings DeCA in line with other retailers’ practices and ensures DeCA’s cash flow is not adversely impacted. Amounts under $25 will be in cash.

“Commissaries are providers of a benefit that sell groceries at cost, and using the gift cards to cover certain refunds and coupon ‘overages’ discourages practices contrary to DeCA’s mission,” Jeu noted.

“We value coupon usage because it helps our customers boost their savings,” Jeu said. “These changes are in the best interest of all concerned to help ensure that coupons continue to be a great source of savings for our customers.”

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