National Coupon Month – Day 7:Coupon Fraud

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Nation Coupon Month – Day 7: Today's Lesson: Cpn Fraud and Why You Shouldn't Do It.  The answer is simple, stores lose money when you do this and it can cause them to quit doubling cpns or stop taking them all together for a length of time (this has happened at Homeland more than once) or they may never accept cpns again.

How do stores lose money?  The stores have to prove they have sold an item before they can get money for the cpns they collect.  They have to match the cpn to the item on their cash register receipts at the end of the day.  If the coupon does not match EXACTLY to the item, then they don't get their money.  So if you use a cpn that isn't for the SPECIFIC item(s) it calls for then the store loses money.  Even if the cpns scan without a problem, they still have to match at the end of the day. A lot of manufacturers put their products into groups and that's why a cpn may scan for several similar items even though the cpn is only good for a specific one.

What is cpn fraud?  It's using a cpn in ANY other way than it's intended use. Some examples of cpn fraud are:

1.) Having a cpn for one size product and using it on a different size:

Buying 26oz. Cheer and using a cpn only good on the 50oz. size
Buying a 6-pack of Coke and using a cpn good on an 8-pack

2.) Having a cpn for a specific variety and using it to buy a different variety from the same brand:
Buying Campbell's Tomato Soup or Chicken Noodle & using a cpn that excludes these 2 varieties
Buying regular Lay's Chips but using a cpn only good on the Baked Lay's

3.) Having a cpn for a specific number of items but using it to buy less:
Buying 1 box of crackers but using a cpn for $$ off 2 boxes
Buying 2 cans of soup and using a cpn for $$ off 3 cans

4). Using a cpn  for a totally different item that what the cpn calls for:
Buying  Tide Detergent but using a cpn for Bounce.  This is called “coding” and it is illegal! Sadly there are some people teaching how to do this in cpn classes.

4.) Using Expired Cpns (unless your store accepts them- most do not)

6.) Using your printer to make extra copies of printable cpns (this is a big no-no, if caught, you get a fine and if on a big scale…jail time) Each cpn that you print (unless a PDF) has a unique serial number printed on the front of the cpn.  If you make copies,  all the cpns will have the same number and if your cashier sees this…busted.

7.) Using your computer to capture cpns from websites and reprint them over and over.  Sometimes called “snipping”This is very illegal and if caught you will be prosecuted. The CIC (Coupon Information Corporation) has never lost a case they have been involved with since they started in 1986

8.)  Using multiple manufacturer's cpns on one item:
Buying 2 cans of soup using a $1.00/2 AND a $.50/1 cpn. Only one manufacturer's cpn per item.

9.) Purchasing Cpns Online or Using “Cpn Clipping Services”: Due to selling and purchasing of cpns, many manufactors have added wording to to cpns that advise “the sale or transfer of the cpn violates the terms of the coupon and voids the cpn entirely”.  The Coupon Information Corporation states:

The sale or transfer of coupons is a violation of virtually all manufacturers’ coupon redemption policies. These policies are generally printed on the coupons or are available from the manufacturer upon request. Any sale or transfer voids the coupon.”

Kraft cpns now state: “Reproduction, Alteration, Transfer or Sale of this cpn or it's contents is prohibited and is a criminal offense” This wording is across the top of the cpn and not in the fine print.

Stating you are only paying for their time, envelopes etc. and not the cpns is void.

Here's a quote from the CIC website:

“Coupon-sellers often include legal disclaimers stating that they are selling their time, a service, or even envelopes that just happen to contain cpns instead of the cpns themselves. Such statements are invalid and do not offer any legal protection. Rather, such statements suggest that the sellers know that their cpn sales are inappropriate and wrong.”

Aside from using voided cpns, you also run the risk of obtaining counterfeit cpns. If you purchase cpns on the internet, use them at store and they are counterfeit, YOU could be liable if the store decides to press charges. Using counterfeit cpns in a grocery store is considered theft by deception and depending on the amount of products you obtain utilizing counterfeit cpns you could be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.

If you have any questions regarding cpns or you are in doubt about any cpns you may have in your possession, be sure to check the Counterfeit cpn list at the Coupon Information Center website.

Cpn fraud costs consumer product manufacturers hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Cpn fraud also increases costs for consumers and makes it more difficult for honest consumers to legitimately use cpns. Not to mention, this makes the stores VERY unfriendly with cpns and couponers!




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