Woman says coupons caused her big problems and big humiliationPosted: Updated:
Coupons are supposed to save you money, but a Valley woman says they can also cause you problems. "It's awesome, it's so much fun, it's like a treasure hunt now," says Kerry Boyle.
Kerry says she has found a new hobby that actually helps her pocket book. "I use coupons and I use this system called coupon sense."
At first, Kerry says she was a little leery about using coupons, but when she actually started using them for her regular family purchases, she became hooked. "The first couple of times I did it, I was so amazed by the amount I saved."
However, Kerry says she had a pretty bad experience recently, when she went to a Walmart in Gilbert to try to use her coupons. "I went through the store and selected like 60 items and I had 27 coupons." Kerry says that when she was at the register, she was pretty happy with the savings she was getting, but that changed once the cashier finalized her bill. "She told me my new reduced total and then I put my debit card in the machine and nothing happened."
That is when Kerry says a supervisor was called to the register, and then a second supervisor after that. At that time, Kerry says both supervisors began inspecting the coupons she had just handed over.
"They proceeded to look at every single coupon. They would hold it up in the air, and then check the expiration date. Then she (the supervisor) started questioning the cashier, asking the cashier did you check to make sure she really bought these items."
Kerry, who is a full-time attorney, says the ordeal was humiliating, but it is what she heard next that really shocked her. "The first supervisor said ‘Yes, I recognized those ones as being the ones, and I'm pretty sure those are the counterfeit ones.’ I said counterfeit? And she replied ‘yes.’ I said ‘these aren't counterfeit, that's ridiculous. I got them off of coupons.com’."
Kerry says she was at the register for more than 20 minutes while they inspected her so-called counterfeit coupons. Then, just as quickly as it all started, it stopped. Finally, Kerry was allowed to take the items she had bought. "So I said we're done? And she said ‘yes’. I said ‘so all my coupons came back as legitimate and not counterfeit?’ She said, ‘yes ma’am’."
However, the whole ordeal just did not sit well with Kerry, so she contacted 3 On Your Side. "I felt like I was being investigated in some way and I was thinking, are they going to arrest me, what are they doing?"
A Walmart spokesperson could not give 3 On Your Side any clear answers into Kerry's situation at the register, but they did apologize for matter. Kerry says the apology is too little too late. Kerry says she wants all savvy consumers who are trying to save money by using coupons to be aware. "It was scary and it was embarrassing."
There is such a thing as coupon fraud, but it is not out of control yet. It is causing some concern because it is on the rise. Out of three billion coupons redeemed last year only 1 percent were fraudulent. However, for some stores like Walmart, that is enough to cause them to be more careful.