I know when my coupon expires, but when does it begin? | Jill-cataldo

I get coupons in papers delivered on Friday and Saturday in my area.

Twice in the last three months I have cut out a coupon to use that day and the coupons have been refused, though they were for the item listed.

I wrote to one of the companies to ask if there was a start date for the coupon and did not get an answer to that question.

f a coupon comes in a weekend paper, is it not valid until that Sunday or Monday?

Yes, it’s highly likely the coupons you receive in the newspaper before Sunday aren’t valid yet.

Most people realize coupons have expiration dates, but many of them also have individual start dates: The date the coupon’s offer begins to be valid.

A coupon’s start date isn’t printed in a text format you can see. It’s encoded into the barcode on your coupon. When a coupon is scanned at a store’s register, the store can read both the start and expiration dates within.

If you’re attempting to use a coupon prior to the start date encoded in the coupon, the register will beep and not allow it to be used – just as this reader discovered at her store.

You may remember back in 2011, coupon barcodes started to look different than they had in the past.

The older UPC-A barcode on coupons began to be replaced by the newer GS-1 Databar, which is the larger and more complex bar code you see today on nearly every paper manufacturer coupon, whether you find it in the newspaper or print it from the internet.

The GS1 Databar is capable of holding a great deal more information than its predecessor. In addition to expanding the kinds of discounts manufacturers can offer (higher values, multiple products) the GS1 also gave manufacturers a new data field: An optional start date for each coupon offer.

Manufacturers began taking advantage of the new option within their coupons’ barcodes, and now many coupons have both a start…

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