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Consumer Sourcebook

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Extra Note: Rain Checks

A store that has run out of an advertised special will typically offer you some type of compensation such as a "rain check" or discount coupon (unless the ad stated "quantity limited"). Both New Hampshire's Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Federal Trade Commission's "Unavailability Rule" protect consumers from stores using misleading advertising practices.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule applies to grocery stores. The rule requires grocery stores to have a reasonable supply of advertised items to meet a reasonable demand, unless the ad clearly states that quantities are limited or available only at certain stores. When a grocery store runs out of an advertised special, the consumer is entitled to one of three remedies:

  • A "rain check" allowing the customer to buy the item later at the sale price
  • A substitute item of comparable value to the sale item
  • Some kind of compensation that is at least equal in value to the advertised item

If a grocery store routinely runs out of advertised specials and fails to specify "quantities limited," and does not provide "rain checks" or substitutions, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or 1-877-382-4357 (toll-free).

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New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658