Asking for Rain Check for Out of Stock Items

It can be frustrating when a product is advertised at a great sale price, but the store sells out of it. Always ask for a raincheck when sale items are out of stock, so you can still get the deal.


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One day I was at the grocery store with my daughter and noticed that the coffee that they had on special (at an especially great price) was all sold out. I commented to my daughter that it was good that I had bought some a few days earlier.

My daughter, the frugal expert in the family, then went to the service desk and came back with several rainchecks for the coffee. I will get the same great price on coffee well into the next year!

Now I make an effort to notice when specials on any items I use are out of stock and take the few minutes to go to the service desk and get some rainchecks for them. That way I can save even more than just buying during the sale.

By Diane from Paradise, PA

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May 10, 20060 found this helpful
Top Comment

Sometimes at our local stores, they have a 'sales display' as well as the items that are on sale, their on place on the shelves & can be found there any day or time, you shop. So if you find the sales display empty of the specific sale item you were looking to purchase, be sure to always check the regular place on the shelf as well.


They might not really be out of the sales item, as it might appear. Better yet, always find a stock clerk, & ask if they have more of the sales items in the back room.

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January 27, 20120 found this helpful
Top Comment

I do this all of the time,most grocery stores, Walgreen's even Home Depot will give you a rain check if item isn't available. It's great they ask how many do you want? That's when I stock up.
Thanks for sharing! Sometimes the things we do, we forget it can be a blessing for others.
Isn't it great when you save,and its a surprise? Enjoy, always ask from now on... all they can say is "no".

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Finding big sale items in weekly store ads is great, until you get to the store and notice they've ran out of stock. It can be frustrating, especially because you've made an effort to make it out to the store only to find there was nothing there for you.

When this happens, go to the customer service area of the store and ask them for a rain check for your items. This ensures that you get those low sale prices locked in the next time they do have the items for you. They will usually give you a huge grace period to come back to purchase them, so you need not worry they will not be available. This also works if you wanted to buy multiple quantities and they did not have all you wanted in stock (as long as you stay under advertised limit).


To expedite this service, it's good to have a photo of the sale price from the store (I use my mobile phone cam), have a digital ad open for the sale item on my store app on my phone, or have a clipping from the weekly ad.

If you encounter an issue where the store has run out of stock and they will not offer you rain checks or a similar alternative, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission to complain:

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If an item is out of stock, don't forget to get a raincheck.

I went to CVS today and as you can see the entire sale items are wiped out. The deal is if you purchase a select Conair Hair Styling Product for $15, you get $10 Extra Bucks (essentially a coupon to shop back at CVS).

I went to the cashier and they wrote me a rain check (product number, price, promotion, etc) and when the item is back in stock - I will be able to redeem my raincheck and still get the item at the sale price and promotion.


Note: Some stores may not give out rain checks for select items. Every store varies.

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July 16, 2004

Always get a raincheck! If the store has run out of an item on special, it is well worth it to go to the service desk and request a raincheck. This will enable you to get the item at the sale price after the sale has ended. Be careful -- some rainchecks have an expiration date.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 6, 2006

Does anyone know the legalities of rainchecks? We have a store here that routinely runs out of "sale" items -- none of which are posted "until supplies last." When I ask for a raincheck, I am told, "We don't give them out." They used to tell me to, "Tell the cashier the next time you are in the store," leaving it up to me to (1) remember, (2) bring in the store ad to prove the price the next time I shop, (3) prove that I bought at least $15.00 worth of groceries to get the special price, and (4) fight with the cashier.


Several cashiers have told me that the store owner tells them not to honor the old sale price. But now they refuse to give a raincheck and refuse to honor the price at a later date either. I already shop at this store as little as possible, but live in a small community with few other choices. So my question is, "Is this legal?". If it isn't, who do I contact to get the problem looked into? Obviously, the store owner cares only about his bottom line.

Susan from AR


January 6, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Okay, I might not know all the legalities, but I have worked in retail for 12 years so here goes... Stores might receive only a small amount of the sale item and therefore do not give rainchecks as they might not restock the item or will not carry it again at that special price. Chain stores will have a notation in their ads like "2500 chainwide" or "15 per store". Small stores might have a one time deal with a distributor to get an item cheaper wholesale (sometimes by purchasing something else) and so cannot give the sale price later. Even if a store doesn't say the sale price is "until supplies last" you should reasonably assume that is the case.


Maybe the store stocked 100 of this sale item and 4 greedy people bought 25 each instead of 100 people each getting one. If something is on sale, be there the morning of the sale when the store opens if you can. Your fourth point gets under my skin the most. You say that you have to "fight with the cashier" to try to get the sale price, but then go on to say that "several cashiers have told me that the store owner tells them not to honor the old sale price". Cashiers are not in charge of store policies, rules, amount of stock, or the demands of their managers/store owners, but they can very well lose their jobs for going against the word of their boss. If you consistently have this problem go to your local Better Business Bureau.

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January 7, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Well, Susan. Guess who I am? The lady for whom the California Bait-and-Switch law was written some 35 (was it that long ago?) years ago. The rain check was included in that law. A similar thing happened to me for an item listed at "while supplies last," and the Attorney General won a $4M lawsuit against the merchant, a large chain furniture store. Just advertising "while supplies last" wasn't enough in LA, with some 7M people then. They had to list exactly how many (24), since that wasn't enough in this large city for "while supplies last."

Then our state legislature--remember them, the guys who never do anything?--passed a law spelling it out, adding rain checks.

So my advice is call the Arizona Attoney General's office and tell them the situation, especially what the cashier said. See what the law really is, and what they advise.


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January 11, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

You could contact your local newspaper, but be aware that if this store engages in a 'bait and switch', then you have very little hope of ever receiving the advertised goods at the lowered price.

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