New Kroger Coupon Policy for Central Division

by Beth Montgomery on October 19, 2011 · 33 comments

in Kroger, Store Deals

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Update: Since this time, I received an official copy of the Kroger Coupon Policy for Indiana, which varies slightly from the information below.

I’ve been pretty silent about the new Kroger Coupon Policy.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want to keep you informed.  It was because I wanted to make sure I had it 100% correct before I shared it with you.  A lot of local managers seem to be confused about it as well or don’t know about it yet.  However, I finally got a copy of the new Kroger Central coupon policy e-mailed to me by Kroger customer service.

First, so you’re aware, Kroger Central Division includes Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan.

So, here’s the new Kroger coupon policy for the Central Division with a translation to help you out!

We reserve the right to limit no more than five (5) paper manufacturer coupons for the same product, each coupon value considered (1) in the same transaction.

The key here is “reserve the right”.  This means, they may limit you to 5 paper manufacturer coupons, but they may not.  Really, your mileage will vary, depending on the store, product, or even the cashier.  This doesn’t mean you can’t use more than 5 paper manufacturer coupons.  It means, if you are purchasing 6 Coffee-mate creamers and have 6 $1/1 manufacturer coupons from the newspaper, they may only let you use 5 and that’s their right.

Limit one manufacturer coupon (paper or digital) per item purchased.

This isn’t new.  For a while now, Kroger has stated on their site that digital and paper coupons can not be used together.  Since stores don’t allow you to stack manufacturer coupons, it makes sense that you shouldn’t be able to use a digital coupon with a paper coupon.

Expired coupon are not to be accepted.

No change here either.  This makes sense.  You can’t use coupons after they expire.

Only Pharmacy Competitor Coupons accepted.

Again, this is a standard policy.  Most stores don’t accept competitor coupons (except Walmart and Target), but a few stores (like CVS) will accept them at the pharmacy for medicine refills.

Couponed items will not be sold to dealers.

This makes sense!  This stops people from using coupons to buy many items, then selling them for a profit.

Internet Coupon Restrictions / Print-at-Home Coupons

“FREE Item” internet coupons can be accepted if all purchase criteria is met.

This makes sense.  You should always be meeting the requirements of your coupons, regardless of if it’s for a FREE item or not.  So, basically, if your coupon says you get a FREE Crest Toothpaste (4 oz. or smaller) when you purchase a Crest Toothpaste (6.4 oz. or larger), make sure you have got those exact specified sizes.

Only two internet coupons per manufacturer, per customer, per day.

YUCK!  This one hurts.  I’ve done some research on this and from what I understand, manufacturer means manufacturer, not brand.  So, when Kroger has those great Mega Events on General Mills products and you have two printable coupons for Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper and two printable coupons for Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, you can use your choice of two, but not all four, because they are all General Mills manufacturer coupons.

This is where Kroger is going to lose most, if not all, of my business.  They are trying to stop coupon fraud.  Many people copy coupons on their printer or copier at home, which is illegal.  I applaud ideas to stop coupon fraud, since it hurts us all.  However, some manufacturers, like General Mills are generous with printable coupons.  Right now, there are 5 printable manufacturer coupons for Pillsbury Crescent rolls available.  Using all of them isn’t coupon fraud.  It’s simply taking advantage of all the General Mills printable coupons on legitimate coupon websites.

Internet coupons that display characteristics including: blurry, out of proportion, do not scan properly, or appear to be altered in any way, will not be accepted.

This is reasonable.  Typically this is a sign that the coupon has been altered or copied, so this is just to stop coupon fraud.

Doubling (if applicable)

Manufacturer coupons $0.50 and below will automatically double.  Doubling does not apply to the following coupons: free, Kroger store, Catalina, retail food store coupons, electronic coupons, and items prohibited by law.

Again, this isn’t a change.  This has been their double coupon policy for a while.

NOTE: The Store Manager ha the right to accept, decline, or limit the use of any coupon.

This means, be nice to your store managers and cashiers!  They can tell you no for any reason.  It’s their right.  But, I believe, they’ll use this coupon to limit shoppers getting FREE items.  For example, back when we were all using the $1/1 Cottonelle coupon to walk out with FREE Cottonelle 4-packs, that probably would have been a coupon they would decide to limit.  Instead, they just stopped carrying the product.

Kroger is implementing this policy to curb extreme couponing, coupon fraud, and shelf clearing  brought on by TLC’s Extreme Couponing.  Basically, with the new Kroger coupon policy, if you’re using a lot of printable coupons, you may want to shop somewhere else.

On a side note, the thing that kills me about this, is that they brought it on themselves.  I don’t watch TLC’s Extreme Couponing, but the few times I did decide to turn it just to stay informed, the featured shopper was shopping at Kroger!  And, more often than not, using coupons in a way that violated the original Kroger coupon policy or the fine print on the coupon.  By allowing shoppers on a popular national television show to break these rules, they really opened the door for others to think they can break the rules as well, especially those who are still learning how to extreme coupon.

Before you shop, make sure you check out all the grocery store deals and Kroger deals! And, checkout the Coupon Database for more FREE printable coupons.

What do you think about Kroger’s new coupon policy?  Will it be changing how often you shop at Kroger?

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{ 33 comments }

1 Lindsay October 19, 2011 at 1:06 PM

I shop at the Kroger in Nora (86th St., Indianapolis). About 2-3 months ago, two different cashiers told me they simply aren’t taking coupons printed off the internet. So, I’ve only been able to use insert coupons, e-coupons, and those Kroger sends me. Its pretty frustrating but I haven’t stopped shopping there because its really close, generally less expensive than Marsh and I have to be in a special mood to deal with Wal-Mart. Do you think this particular Kroger has simply made this blanket decision or is it a case of the store manager not understanding the new policy? Can this particular Kroger have a more restrictive coupon policy than the regional policy? Extreme couponing…grrrrr! :-)

2 Alice October 19, 2011 at 1:21 PM

I shop at the one on Carey Road/32 in Westfield, and i haven’t heard it yet. You could always talk to the manager politely to clarify. But per the above sounds like they’re reserving that right on a per-store (per-manager) basis.

3 Beth October 19, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Lindsay, this isn’t a particular Kroger. This is for the Kroger Central Division, which includes all Krogers in Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. This is the official policy I got from Kroger headquarters and have verified it’s accurate, even if store managers aren’t yet aware. It’s also been passed at many Kroger-family stores. And, a few other Kroger divisions as well. There is a similar coupon policy in effect for the Kroger Delta Division. I’m not sure about other Kroger divisions yet. Kroger divides the US into divisions and all their stores are broken into 9 divisions.

4 Kara October 19, 2011 at 3:16 PM

I’ve shopped at the one in Nora and not been told that, and I’ve used multiple IPs….I was told by the self check out cashier (I wasn’t doing this, she was complaining about someone else).. that they won’t accept a coupon on their manager’s special items. Which is silly, and I’ve never had an issue with it at my other Kroger (Willow Creek). As always, it seems at Kroger it depends on the cashier!

5 Beth October 19, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Lindsay I misread your question! That Kroger should be following this policy now. It says they accept internet coupons. However, it also adds that they have the right to refuse coupons, so that Kroger may have decided to not accept internet coupons and that’s their right. Sorry about that!

6 Becky Lee October 19, 2011 at 11:06 PM

About the same time our Kroger in Plymouth had a sign on the doors that they weren’t excepting Internet coupons. Two weeks later the signs were gone & they do accept Internet coupons now. May have been a misinterpretation of the new policy or they were trying the policy before it became official & had too many people complain so put a limit instead of not accepting any.

7 Bettye October 19, 2011 at 1:38 PM

I live south of Indy so try to take advantage of the Southern Div. Kroger stores. The store in Batesville, IN, and Madison, IN, are in the Southern Div. Their prices are lower, the selection is better, and the staff is much, much friendlier. It’s worth a 30-45 min. drive to me! (my loval store is 5 minutes away).

8 Beth October 19, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Bettye, it’s taken place in the Delta, Cincinnati, and Columbus regions from what I’ve heard. I’m under the impression that it may be coming nationwide, or something similar will be hitting each division, but we’ll have to see.

9 Courtney October 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Thanks for taking the time to write all this out and explain it. I shop at the Linwood Kroger, and even though it has a bit of a ghetto feel to it, it’s awesome for people like me who use coupons (though not in an extreme way!) Since very few people there use coupons, there are always products in stock, and the cashiers are not sick of scanning coupons.
I’m also sick of the whole extreme couponing fad. These people are ruining the fun for the rest of us, who are truly just trying to make ends meet.

10 Sara October 19, 2011 at 2:35 PM

The change in the “Only two internet coupons per manufacturer, per customer, per day” certainly puts a different perspective on utilizing their “MEGA Events” promotions. The use of multiple coupons during those sales that PROMOTE certain manufacturers…like GM…was the the biggest incentive for me to “buy 10 items PER TRANSACTION” and save. Why buy 10 items anymore if I can only use 2 q’s???? GM includes all of such things as Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Totinos, Old El Paso and so on!!!! I have geared toward reducing my spending 50%…and those promotions helped enable me to do so. I live in the Lebanon area and will most likely be looking elsewhere for other stores…say, Lafayette, etc. It would be worth the drive. A Kroger cashier kept making comments to me just last evening about purchasing “12″ boxes of cereal…and “12″ totinos. My response: I have three teenaged boys. I was then reminded by a manager nearby that I could not use e-q’s w/ manf.q’s. My response: I realize that and I don’t. (My thoughts? You are a national chain…your system should be configured to allow and rule out those kinds of scenarios in the first place. …and how many boxes of cereal do you feel is acceptable in one transaction? Do you really want my business?)

11 Sara October 19, 2011 at 2:39 PM

I shop at this Kroger once every two to three weeks. That’s one transaction in two to three weeks…hmmm.

12 Kara October 19, 2011 at 3:18 PM

I’m guessing this is going to end up being a YMMV situation, especially since many cashiers have enough trouble figuring out individual coupons, how the heck do they expect cashiers to keep track of manufacturer’s? I myself am often shocked by the company’s that say Nestle owns or any other manufacturer, when it comes down to it there is really only 3 or 4 overarching companies out there. I can’t imagine they’d be able to keep track of that in any way in the system, but I could be wrong…

13 Beth October 19, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Sara, that’s exactly my thinking on the Mega Events. I buy 10 products and use 10 coupons and they usually are Mega Events to promotion one manufacturer. I won’t be buying 10 products if I can’t use 10 coupons. And, I have one tiny boy and two girls, and go through cereal like you wouldn’t believe, so I feel for you! I can only image how much 3 teenage boys would eat!

14 Brian October 19, 2011 at 2:36 PM

While I can understand them changing the policy due to that show, fraud etc. I have to say that they are taking things to an extreme that will cause them to loose allot of business. Granted that show was what got me into couponing (yes I have to admit that when I first started I was guilty and wanted to get a huge stockpile of a couple of years stuff we use for almost nothing because of that show and the instability of the economy, but it did not take me long to see how wrong it is to do buy 80 of something in one trip thanks to wonderful sites like yours that gives useful, correct and realistic information) and reminded my wife that couponing does save lots of money (if done properly).

I now despise that show and the people who do not take the time to learn the ethically and morally right way to save money with every ounce of my being. Instead I think that they should do a show called practical couponing in which they educate people how to save money through realistic couponing practices instead of teaching people how to cheat people that might not be able to get a product (that they truly need and use) by going in and clearing the shelf of that item, and how to commit fraud through the practices that they teach of not following the rules set by the coupon manufacturers.

15 Beth October 19, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Brian, I’m so glad sites like mine helped you learn ethical couponing! Did you realize multiple people, including the Coupon Information Center, have offered to work with Extreme Couponing to make their shows more educational and help them follow coupon policies, but Extreme Couponing declines every time. They don’t want to teach people. They love the controversy. It’s free advertising for them.

16 Kara October 19, 2011 at 3:18 PM

I agree, I think it’s silly that Kroger is the one complaining here, as over 50% of the time they are the store featured on Extreme Couponing! Why take part in the problem and then punish people for your mistake?

17 Beth October 19, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Kara, that’s my point exactly. I really just want to laugh at this. I doubt they’ll shop being featured on the show. I wonder if they’ll make the featured shopper stick with the policy or if they’ll continue to waive it for the show.

18 Gena October 19, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Here is my question: If Kroger is limiting you to 2-internet coupons per day per transaction. How are they going to know if you shopped in the morning, and came back after all of the day shift has gone home? Answer YOUR REWARD CARD. Maybe it’s not worth having this card if that’s how they track you! I live in Texas, and have found that each store here can limit or decline you from using any coupons at the Mangers decision which I think is a bunch of hag wash. If, Kroger hadn’t put themselves in the lime light with TLC EC none of this NEW coupon policy would be effect today. Since they have started limiting my use of coupons I will NOT shop at Kroger’s aging until they decide to flight right again with the original policy they had in place before TLC ever came up!!!!!

19 Beth October 19, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Gena, the problem with not using your rewards card is that you don’t get the deals and sale prices, which make using the coupons even better. If you can’t stack them with sales, Mega Events, 10/$10, etc… it’s really not as good of a deal.

20 kroger share holder October 19, 2011 at 4:39 PM

This new policy upsets me actually a lot. Here are some facts about coupons most that are printed never get used. As a share holder and well somewhat educated on how retail works. I am rather appalled that kroger doesn’t want product flying off the shelves. I want product flying off the shelves. I also know that at eye level companys compensate for their product to be at such levels at most establishments (usually name brand stuff). Maybe kroger needs to have a crew of people studing the coupons out there prior to promoting a sale. However if krofer didn’t outsource its coupons else where to be sorted and claimed then potentially it might be more profitable for kroger down the road.

Manager/ cashier has right to decline or accept legitimate coupons is an out rage. Sure extreme couponing will take place by a select few. I personally don’t have the time for coupons and the select items I tend to purchase are considered luxury or nitche items and those items i never see coupons for.

I am rarely upset by the individuals using a lot of coupons good for them. But am extremely upset waiting in line behind someone using a food stamp card or ebt card buying a full cart full of junk food half full of potatoe chips and soda and meat.. that upsets me.

As a share holder in this company, I am completely out raged that their policy is encouraging people to shop else where.

Kroger will be getting a letter from me.

21 larry ness October 19, 2011 at 5:50 PM

im glad that kroger is taking a stand on coupon fraud it hurts people and stores.i think 4or5 coupons for one product is enough and also 1 or 2 be allowed for the same company products, if you want more all you have to do is husban and wife and or chirdren go in and you can get all you want if you have the coupons and enough money.

22 Beth October 19, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Larry, unfortunately, that won’t work. They track your coupons and purchases through your Kroger Plus Card, so your husband, etc… can’t use the same coupons later. I think 5 “like” manufacturer paper coupons is a fine policy. But, 2 for the same manufacturer is not right. I should be able to go in and buy 1 Head & Shoulders shampoo, 1 Covergirl foundation, 1 Bounty paper towels, 1 Charmin toilet paper, 1 Secret Deodorant, 1 Pringle Potato Chips, and 1 Duracell battery package and use coupons on all of it, regardless of if they are printable or not. Printable website let you print 2 of each coupon typically, but no more. There is no risk of coupon fraud by letting me use coupons for different brands, especially if they offer printable coupons on their site. But, I can’t do this at Kroger, because all of those products are manufactured by Proctor and Gamble. You may not realize how many brands are owned by one manufacturer. This is a bit too extreme to me. I am totally against extreme couponing as taught by TLC and coupon fraud, but I think everyone should be able to use two “like” printable coupons, since sites allow you to print two “like” printable coupons. I don’t think the manufacturer should be a factor. I think the site they were printed would be a better factor, since most coupons from legitimate sites say where they were printed (Coupons.com, Smart Source, etc…)

23 KerryAnn May October 19, 2011 at 6:15 PM

yup, officially done with spending loads of money at Kroger. I will run in occasionally now for manager’s special meat, manager’s special organic milk (only way to afford organic milk and Kroger is the only one that will mark it down close to its expiration date) and that is it.

question: how willk the manufacturers respond to this? think less of their product will be sold as a result? I am thinking it will be too small a blip for it to make much difference to the manufacturers.

also, when these Mega events happen, why do they happen? Who instigates it? Manufacturers or the store? If the manufacturers do, surely they will notice less sales through Kroger stores as a result of the new coupon policy.

I have a Kroger less than 5 minutes from me; however, I have taken 90% of my business to meijer (40 minutes away) and to WalMart (about 7 minutes away). Both are much more coupon friendly.

Final 2 cents: I think this is in direct coordination with their new promos for shorter waits in line and faster checkouts. Coupons do slow checkout down.

24 Beth October 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM

KerryAnn,

I never thought about their shorter checkout line promotion, but I bet less coupons does help that. But, you’re right. I bet they see a decline in their Mega Event purchases and I hope manufacturers notice that. Many manufacturers release coupons in conjunction with their events like that and they do it, because they want people to use the coupon with the sale. It encourages more sales. It seems like a bad business move to discourage that and I really can’t understand the reason behind it. Using multiple printable coupons from the same manufacturer regardless of the brand in no way means you’re committing coupon fraud. Most manufacturers release a bunch of coupons for multiple brands they cover at once.

25 Tripletmom October 19, 2011 at 11:09 PM

I shopped the Nora Kroger in Indiana and actually go out of my way to go to the Range Line store instead. They are much more coupon friendly up there and better service. I use coupons all the time on Manager specials with no trouble. I think it’s more the misinformed cashier about the coupon policy. I know there is fraud out there but if you’re doing it correctly and within reason like most of us, the stores actually get more money with coupons with the added handling fees paid back. I can now see longer delays because someone using coupons (like myself) may be over that limit of printable coupons (which would be easy to do) in line and then have to remove items, cashier rechecking items bought, ect, sounds like they are going to cause a lot more trouble for themselves, Kroger that is.
PS – Thanks TLC, I knew you’d screw this up just like you did for parents of high order multiples :(

26 Harmony October 20, 2011 at 12:00 AM

This policy is really disappointing. I’m usually a Marsh shopper, but I was considering doing some comparison shopping at Kroger and Meijer after the first of the year. I’ll probably skip Kroger if they’re going to make it this complicated.

27 Rachel October 20, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I personally find Meijer to be significantly cheaper than Kroger or Marsh, especially considering they double coupons up to .50, and then give you an “extra coupon” up to $1 (meaning if you have a .75 manufacturer coupon, they’ll give you an extra .25 to make it $1 off!).

28 Melissa Goodson October 20, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Rachel (or Beth) Regarding Meijer and doubling Q’s or rounding up to a $1… Do all Meijer’s do this? Does anyone know if Bloomington Meijer’s does this?

I’ve been typically going to the Terre Haute Kroger. My last trip on 10/15, I had no difficulty with multiple coupons for same manufacturer. If they are restricting coupon usage this much, then I see no need to go to Kroger. I live in Linton, IN. I find my local “IGA” type store to not be coupon friendly – or maybe just not coupon educated. Same for my local Walmart cashiers. I often hear “oh, I don’t think I can do that.” Even though I point out I’m following coupon restrictions. Anyway, looking forward to shopping in Bloomington @ Target & Meijer. Thanks for a wonderful website! My interest was peaked with the show on TLC, but I’m learning a correct way to do it with this websites help!!!

29 Rena Ball October 21, 2011 at 11:06 PM

Is this for all grocery store chains owned by Kroger too, like JayC Plus here in southern Indiana? I certainly hope not! :(

30 Beth October 22, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Rena, I really don’t know. I saw other Kroger-family stores releasing similar policies, but I’m not familiar with JayC, honestly.

31 Rena Ball October 24, 2011 at 2:13 PM

OK, thanks.

32 Beth October 19, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Kara, it’s actually on every coupon. If you look at the Remit To address on the coupon, it’s the manufacturer. Huggies coupons say to remit to Kimberly Clark. Betty Crocker say to Remit To General Mills. So, it depends on how throughout their cashiers are going to be. The cashiers at my local Kroger scrutinize each coupon.

It also depends on if they change their cash registers to read the codes. They can have their cash registers identify manufacturers, if they make technical changes. It will depend on how serious they are about it, but I’m with you. It’s hard to keep track of what manufacturer owns what brand.

33 Beth October 20, 2011 at 9:18 PM

Melissa, it’s just some Meijer stores. Not all do that. But even without that, I still find that Meijer has great produce and the prices are comparable to Kroger’s. Plus, they offer Mealbox and MPerk coupons which you can stack with manufacturer coupons. However, the Mealbox coupons are often off some crazy number, like $1 off 6 Juicy Juice Juices. Sometimes, it’s a bit much for me :)

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