Why shouldn't you commit coupon fraud (besides it being dishonest)??? The answer is simple, stores lose money when you do this and it can cause them to quit doubling coupons or stop taking them all together for a length of time (this has happened at Homeland more than once) or they may never accept coupons again.
How do stores lose money? The stores have to prove they have sold an item before they can get money for the coupons they collect. They have to match the coupon 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 coupon that isn't for the SPECIFIC item(s) it calls for then the store loses money. Even if the coupons scan without a problem they still have to match at the end of the day. A lot of manufacturers put their products into groups so that's why a coupon may scan for several similar items even though the coupon is only good for a specific one.
What is coupon fraud? It's using a coupon in ANY other way than it's intended use. Some examples of coupon fraud are:
1.) Having a coupon for one size product and using it on a different size:
Buying 26oz. Cheer and using a coupon only good on the 50oz. size
Buying a 6-pack of Coke and using a coupon good on an 8-pack
2.) Having a coupon 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 coupon that excludes these 2 varieties
Buying regular Lay's Chips but using a coupon only good on the Baked Lay's
3.) Having a coupon for a specific number of items but using it to buy less:
Buying 1 box of crackers but using a coupon for $$ off 2 boxes
Buying 2 cans of soup and using a coupon for $$ off 3 cans
4). Using a coupon for a totally different item that what the coupon calls for:
Buying Tide Detergent but using a coupon for Bounce. This is called “coding” and it is illegal! Sadly there are some people teaching how to do this in coupon classes.
4.) Using Expired Coupons (unless your store accepts them- most do not)
6.) Using your printer to make extra copies of printable coupons (this is a big no-no, if caught, you get a fine and if on a big scale…jail time) Each coupon that you print (unless a PDF) has a unique serial number printed on the front of the coupon. If you make copies, all the coupons will have the same number and if your cashier sees this…busted.
7.) Using your computer to capture coupons 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 coupons on one item:
Buying 2 cans of soup using a $1.00/2 AND a $.50/1 coupon
Please stop and think before you do something you know isn't right…… stores are losing money left and right because of coupon fraud and they are starting to react by not accepting internet coupons, putting limits on how many coupons you can use, and generally starting to be couponer unfriendly! I remember the days when you could walk into the store and use as many coupons as you wanted and have them all double….but those days are gone due to people clearing the shelves and committing coupon fraud. It's only going to get worse as stores lose more money. Why do you think Walmart gives couponers such a hassle? It's because they are tired of losing money so they over react by denying any coupon they don't understand…..the cashiers are so concerned about getting into trouble that they question every coupon and are more likely to not let you use it because people have tried to “get one over on them” too many times. Ok, I'm off my soap box now…..there are just so many legit deals out there that you don't have to resort to any of the above to get them 🙂
If you missed any of our previous lessons just click the one you'd like to view from the list below:
Lesson 1 – Coupons: Where to Find Them
Lesson 2 – Oragnizing and Storing Your Coupons
Lesson 3 – Shopping With Coupons
Lesson 4- Coupon Money Makers
Lesson 5 – Learning The Lingo
Lesson 6- Are You Really Saving Money and Other Coupon Traps to Avoid