Posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 at 10:21 pm
It is easy to see why so many people get excited about collecting coupons. People use a mixture of paper coupons, digital coupons, and coupons that can only be found in apps. All of them will help a person save a little money. That’s why it is so frustrating to discover that what you though was a good coupon was actually a “ghost coupons”.
What is a ghost coupon?
It is a coupon that you have been led to believe exists and is obtainable – when that simply isn’t true. The coupon doesn’t actually exist in your area – or may not exist where you expected to find it.
One example of a ghost coupon comes from product advertisements. You see an ad for a product that your family frequently uses. The ad could be in a magazine or online. Somewhere in the ad is the statement: “$2.00 coupon found in most Sunday papers”.
But, when you search your Sunday paper – there is no coupon to be found. The alleged coupon has disappeared like a ghost. Where did it go?
The answer to that question is in the wording of the advertisement. It says most Sunday newspapers. The ad did not promise that it would be in your local Sunday paper. People make the assumption that “most” means that they are included in the group that can receive that coupon. What turns out to be a ghost coupon for you could be a real coupon for people who live in a different region.
Another example of a ghost coupon is when a manufacturer suddenly stops offering coupons in places where it has always offered them. A vivid example of this type of ghost coupon can be found in a decision made by P&G.
For a long time, people regularly who used Tide, Downy, Bounce, or other P&G products could expect to find some coupons for those products in their Sunday newspaper. Recently, P&G stopped offering those coupons in that location.
Those who expected to find coupons instead found a mostly empty space that directed consumers to visit the P&G website, and make an account, in order to get coupons. Naturally, this made people feel frustrated. Some may have decided to make an account at the P&G website. Others might have switched to other, similar, products.
There’s another version of a ghost coupon. Sometimes, a company offers a coupon to a limited number of people. The first people who go online to collect the coupon are able to obtain it. After that, it becomes a ghost coupon for those who were too late.