Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Coupon Fraud: How Dumb Can People Be

In the last few months I have read several articles regarding couponing fraud.  Coupon fraud refers to the use of coupons in a manner that is illegal.  This includes photocopying coupons, reusing previously used coupons that should have been surrendered, altering coupons from their original format, or using expired coupons.   All of these acts are considered illegal and are punishable by a fine or jail time.  I do not endorse or encourage this type of behavior and I consider anyone who employees such a method to be flat out STUPID! I mean really, why would anyone risk going to jail in order to save a couple bucks?  Again, that’s flat out dumb! But unfortunately, people are engaging in this type of behavior and they alone are hurting the stores, the economy, and the millions of people who use properly use coupons to save money.  Store coupon policies are already being tightened and cashiers are reluctant to accept coupons; especially ones from the internet.  When photocopied or expired coupons are submitted, the stores do not get paid.  If the store takes a big enough hit, we as consumers will pay the price because merchandise costs will increase.  I understand we all make mistakes and misread the print. That’s an honest mistake, but to take advantage of the system repeatedly with intent is fraudulent. I’m not going write a long article about this because I think we are all intelligent enough to understand the ramifications of coupon fraud, but I do want to make the following points clear:
·         Photocopied coupons are not legitimate.  Coupons contain special markings that are not included in photocopies that confirm their authenticity. There is usually a max limit of 2 when printing coupons from the internet.  Learn to live with what you get. 

·         When checking out, ALWAYS, surrender your coupon….even when using self-checkout. If the box is full, hand the coupon over to the nearest cashier or store clerk. They will see to it that the coupon makes it to its proper destination.

·         Do not surrender expired coupons.  Expired means just that….the coupon is expired, no longer good, not valid, etc.

·         Altering coupons and trying to use them is an example of fraud.  Are you allowed to alter money? Would you try and change a $1 bill to a $10 bill?  NO! Well, coupons are like money.  Don’t alter them.  Be grateful for the coupons that are available because if the coupons were not, we still would have to buy what we need and would have to pay the higher price.  Do not ruin a good thing.

·         Last, but not least, except for when permitted, only one coupon can be used per item and it should be for what the coupon specifies.  It is only permissible to use an additional coupon when using a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together AND it’s the store’s policy to accept such (i.e. video value and a manufacturer coupon).
Well that concludes my rant for the day. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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