Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coupon Fraud: Part 2

In our last post (Coupon Fraud: Part 1) we talked mainly about coupons you normally find in your Sunday paper. But as we couponers know, that is merely one of the places we get our coupons. Our second main source is the internet. Of course every point I made in the last post is just as valid for printable coupons, but there are some added opportunities for the scammers out there. So in this post we're going to talk about these.
            Most coupons have limit on how many you can print. Most are 2 coupons per computer. So if you need more than that you ask friends and family to print them for you. Or if you have more than one computer (say a desktop, and laptop, or the kiddos have their own) you can have a wireless printer and print them from each computer.
a.       This means that you can NOT print of two, and then make copies of those to use! If you think you've received copied coupons, check the upper right hand side. Most have a unique number so that copies can be easily identified. That is coupon fraud my friends.
2.       Most coupons are NOT in PDF form, with unlimited prints. The only company that I’ve ever seen do this is 3M, and they usually have very restrictive use verbiage on them. For example some say “limit one coupon used per day”. Normally coupons are not done this way, and be very suspicious of any you find that are.
a.       Some people actually do make fake coupons online, and that is coupon fraud! But if you get your coupons from a trusted source, like coupons.com or a manufacturer’s website, than you should be safe. If you’re not sure, don’t print it!
3.       You do not find coupons for FREE products online. Most companies mail you coupons for free products. You could request some coupons for a free product online, but you can’t print them.
a.       This does not apply to Buy One Get One Free coupons. I have found those online, but they still require a purchase to get your free item. Which is the important part to consider when looking at freebie coupons online.
4.       Always consider the source of your printable coupons. As I mentioned earlier there are sites that you can trust, check out my Printable Coupon Homebase (link) for a list. Also, if you find the link to the coupon on the manufacturer website than you should be safe.
a.       Some blogs can report online coupons that are not legit. Whether they do it on purpose or accident isn’t important. What is important is that you do your research. If it seems too good to be true, say $8 off a $10 purchase, than it’s probably fake. Better safe than sorry I say.
5.       Which leads to our last rule of thumb. Internet coupons are not generally high value. Like in the example above, companies just don’t normally put coupons like that online. Again, you could request some coupons from the company via email online, but they will be mailed to you, not printable. Now a $5 off a $25 purchase coupon (like Dollar General puts out) is high value, but the purchase price is your clue that it’s okay.
So just remember that unless you know it came from a trusted site, or the manufacturer website always be careful. Why is this important? What’s the harm if you use a bad coupon? Well, stores can refuse to take online coupons entirely! In fact in my small town neither of our grocery stores takes them, because they were given fraudulent coupons, and weren’t reimbursed. I’ve also heard of other Kansas couponers that have this same issue in their local stores in the rural areas. And when you’re talking small mom and pop stores, they just can’t absorb those losses like the big hitters. This hurts everyone! 

No comments:

Post a Comment