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New York bill would automatically apply digital coupons to seniors

Grocers would be required to give discounts to all shoppers age 65 and over

Digital-only coupons offered through grocers’ loyalty programs would be automatically applied to senior citizens’ bills across the state of New York under a new proposal in the New York Assembly.

Senate Bill S8864 by Sen. George Borrello would apply to residents 65 and older. 

Borrello said in a press release that the bill aims to help seniors without smartphones or other devices needed to access the deals.

“Inflation is hurting the budgets of people across the spectrum, particularly those on fixed incomes,” Borrello said in a statement. “In the past, senior citizens could count on being able to reduce their grocery bills by using coupons from the newspaper or by taking advantage of weekly sales on produce, meat and dairy products. They could also obtain discounts by presenting physical loyalty or rewards program cards.” 

Borrello added that most specials are now offered through online-only ads and coupons that require a digital device to redeem. 

“Loyalty cards are increasingly being replaced with smartphone apps. For seniors who don’t use smartphones, this means they are unfairly deprived of discounts that could help ease the burden of higher grocery costs,” Borrello said. 

He quoted research from the Pew Research Center conducted in 2021 that shows that 39% of seniors did not own a smartphone. That’s compared to 17% of those between the ages of 50 and 64. Nearly 100% of those under the age of 50 owned a smartphone when the study was conducted. 

The bill is partly motivated by the rising cost of food, according to Borrello, who cited a USDA Consumer Price Index report that shows a 25% price increase from 2019 to 2023. 

“Everyone has felt the effects of spiraling inflation, but for low- and middle-income retirees on fixed incomes, the impact is especially difficult,” Borrello said, who added that retailers would benefit from the bill through “higher customer satisfaction, boosting sales, and consumer loyalty over the long-term.”

TAGS: Technology
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