Coupon rebate sites have been around for a while, and the concept is a twisting together of the good old-fashioned rebate and regular coupons. To use coupon rebate sites, shoppers clip rebate offers in an app just like someone would clip coupons; then they purchase the items that qualify for the rebate, submit their receipt, and receive the stated rebate amount back later – such as $1 on the purchase of two boxes of cereal.
It is fairly straightforward, but one question has always swirled around coupon rebate sites. Can shoppers also use coupons in-store, and combine (or stack) them with a rebate? The answer has varied from coupon rebate site to coupon rebate site.
But now, one of the popular ones, Shopmium, has unequivocally answered – and cracked down – on this issue: Coupons used against the purchase of a product in-store, WILL definitely invalidate your rebate.
According to Shopmium, rebates submitted to them will no longer be honored when a coupon is used against the price of the item. They cite that the fine print on some rebates state that they could not be used in combination with any other offers. They view using a coupon and a rebate as double-dipping on manufacturer offers. Shopmium's rebate terms and conditions now state, “We do not allow coupon stacking! At Shopmium, we take into account coupons associated with your item’s final line price. If you upload a picture of your receipt showing a Manufacturer or Vendor coupon applied to your eligible item, you will be asked to submit a different receipt.”
Since Shopmium clarified their stance just last month, they received a lot of questioning in how they would enforce such a policy – in that, how would they know for sure which coupon you used on your receipt? How can a shopper prove that a coupon was used on another item and NOT against a rebate-qualifying purchase? Will rebate submissions just begin to be rejected?
The answer, in short, is YES. Shopmium has handled this dilemma by stating they will now reject ANY receipt submitted for rebate in which a shopper used ANY coupon – unless the receipt specifically shows which coupon was used for which item.
You see, the problem is that not all stores specifically list on the receipt which purchase item was matched to which coupon. Many stores simply list the coupons used. In fact, shoppers will find this true when shopping stores such as CVS, Meijer, Kroger (and their family of stores, like Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, and King Soopers), and Publix, as these stores typically do not show precisely which coupon was used on which purchase.
So are coupon rebates going to die? Will this kill people's desire to even bother with coupon rebate sites? Possibly. But for now, there are two bits of good news:
(1) You can work with the new policy by separating your rebate-eligible items into one shopping order, and your coupon purchases into a second shopping order. That way, you'll have a receipt that shows no coupons at all, so your rebate submissions won't be rejected.
(2) So far, Shopmium is the only rebate app to institute and enforce such a policy.
At SavingsAngel, we've listed a few coupon rebate sites for a long time in our Enlightened Shopping system, but Shopmium has never been one of them. We list SavingStar
, and Ibotta
. And those sites have their own policies.
- Checkout51 states, “You can earn Checkout 51 Cash Back in combination with any other coupon or discount unless otherwise stated. Tap into the offer to see any conditions.” So with Checkout51, it appears you can still stack their rebates with coupons.
- Ibotta says nothing in their terms and conditions about using a coupon in conjunction with one of their rebates. So unless they change or specify their stance, for now it appears you can stack their rebates with coupons.
- SavingStar advises against using a manufacturer’s coupon – stating that their rebates “are not intended to work with manufacturer coupons” – but they do specifically state that you can combine their offers with store offers or store coupons. So as long as the coupon is not a manufacturer's coupon, you can still stack their rebate offers.