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Consumer Alert

When store policies defy logic, it’s OK to speak up

Q. I went to Walgreens today with a coupon that was mailed to me that had today’s date as the expiration. It would not scan. The clerk and manager were polite, but said they could not help, and referred me to call corporate. I called and was told by the rep (and then her supervisor) that the expiration date on Walgreen coupons is the midnight before the day, so my coupon technically expired. I explained to her that that did not make any sense. She was adamant that this is corporate policy with no further explanation. Is it legal to use a date, but to use a technicality to go back a day? Is this something worth pursuing with the attorney general?


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A. I can see why you were taken aback. It doesn’t make sense for a coupon to expire as soon as the expiration date starts. But as for breaking the law, that’s another story.

A spokeswoman for the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation said they are not aware of any laws that specifically address coupons. A company’s coupon policy can be whatever the company says it is.

That said, the information given to you was incorrect — even though you heard it at both the local and corporate levels, according to a spokesman for Walgreen.

“Concerning the coupons you asked us about, customers are able to redeem them through the end of day on the expiration date shown,” said spokesman Phil Caruso. “We are sorry this occurred. It appears to be an isolated incident and we are reviewing our coupon policy with our team members to avoid such incidents in the future.”

OK, so if anyone who works at Walgreens is reading this I hope you got the message: Coupons expire at the end of the date of the expiration. Got it? Hopefully, that will take care of that.

There isn’t a law for everything, but when your common sense gets rattled, it’s probably worth making a stink – even if it’s just on principle.

Mitch Lipka has been helping consumers out of jams for the past two decades. He lives in Worcester and also writes the Consumer Alert blog on Mitch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mitchlipka.
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