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Thu, Oct. 22

Column | Don’t get shortchanged

Remember when stores ran out of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and face masks? Well, now COVID-19 is cause for a new shortage: coins. Because of business shutdowns and social distancing, people have been spending cash at stores or restaurants at record low levels. Adding to the shortage, the U.S. Mint has slowed coin production to keep employees safe from COVID-19. Now, some businesses are running low on coins and not offering change.

Here are tips to avoid losing money while shopping.

  • If you plan to pay cash bring coins from home so you can pay in exact change.
  • If you’re short on change and the store doesn’t have it, pay using a credit or debit card or by check.
  • If a store doesn’t offer change, it should clearly state or display this policy. If you find a store that’s misleading or deceptive about this policy, report it to your state attorney general.

(Sachit Gali is an intern with the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer and Business Education.)

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