FORT LEE, Va. â€“ 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.
â€œThe average coupon user might not notice the policy changes because they are aimed at preventing possible misuse of the commissary benefit â€“ primarily using coupons to get large amounts of cash back,â€ said Joseph Jeu, DeCA director and CEO.
Commissary shoppers are big users of coupons, as evidenced by DeCAâ€™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 agencyâ€™s website at http://www.commissaries.com/inside_deca/publications/directives/DeCAD40_6_PC_3.pdfÂ 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 â€œoveragesâ€ (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 retailersâ€™ practices and ensures DeCAâ€™s cash flow is not adversely impacted. Amounts under $25 will be in cash.
â€œCommissaries are providers of a benefit that sell groceries at cost, and using the gift cards to cover certain refunds and coupon â€˜overagesâ€™ discourages practices contrary to DeCAâ€™s mission,â€ Jeu noted.
â€œWe value coupon usage because it helps our customers boost their savings,â€ Jeu said. â€œThese 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.â€