How to Avoid Committing Coupon Fraud
Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 at 7:41 am
The majority of people who use coupons are doing so because it saves them some money. Coupons can help people stretch their dollars a little bit farther. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who commit coupon fraud (either intentionally or unwittingly). Here are some tips that can help you to avoid committing coupon fraud.
How to Avoid Coupon Fraud
What is Coupon Fraud?
The Coupon Information Center (CIC) has an easy to understand explanation of what coupon fraud is. “Coupon fraud occurs whenever someone intentionally uses a coupon for a product that he/she has NOT purchased or otherwise fails to satisfy the terms and conditions for redemption.”
Coupon fraud also happens when a person alters coupons or creates counterfeited ones. These types of activities are almost always in violation of Federal, State, or local laws.
Don’t Buy or Sell Coupons
The CIC points out that there is no legitimate way to sell your unwanted coupons. Selling a coupon violates virtually all manufacturers’ coupon redemption policies. In other words, selling a coupon actually voids the coupon. People who use a coupon that they purchased are committing coupon fraud – and so are the people who sold them that coupon.
Don’t pay for “clipping services” that sell coupons to people. Some will say they are charging people for the time it took them to collect the coupons. In reality, selling coupons is an act of coupon fraud.
It is also worth pointing out that there is no good reason to spend money on coupons. You can get them for free with your store loyalty card or from credible sources online (such as Coupons.com).
Don’t Make Copies of Coupons
Photocopying coupons is illegal. Some coupon websites will allow a person to print out 2 copies of a specific coupon (per computer). If you make, or print out, additional copies – you are committing coupon fraud.
Don’t use a coupon if it doesn’t have a bar code. Legitimate coupons have bar codes. If the coupon doesn’t have it, that is a good sign that it is a fraudulent coupon.
Don’t Use a Coupon Incorrectly
Technically, a person is committing coupon fraud when he or she intentionally tries to use a coupon in a way that was not intended by the manufacturer. If the coupon is for a specific brand of baked potato chips, and you try to use it on the “regular” potato chips from the same brand – that’s coupon fraud.
Trying to use a coupon after it has expired is also coupon fraud. There is a big difference between an honest mistake and the intentional attempt to sneak expired coupons past a cashier.