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Internet Coupon Ethics

I got two e-mails this week asking about Internet Coupons and local grocery stores. Each store’s coupon policy varies a bit. Though I cover each of these extensively in coupon class [1], I wanted to kind of jot down some notes for you!

But before I do that post, I want to take a second and talk about couponing ethics, focusing on the area of internet coupons. You wouldn’t think ethics would be a hot issue in couponing, but it’s a serious problem. And these troublemakers create problems for those of us who love responsible couponing! Stores lose money because of these people! And that makes them become very particular about accepting internet coupons!

So what exactly are these people doing to create all these problems!

1. Photocopying coupons– The generous companies that provide us with coupons generally have a specific number of printable coupons set aside. By photocopying a coupon you have printed off the internet, you are creating a fradulent coupon. It is not issued directly by the company, they don’t know it exists and the store allowing you to use the coupon will not get reimbursed for the coupons. Do NOT photocopy coupons!

2. Counterfeit Coupons– In an age of amazing technology, people are creating false coupons. If it looks suspicious do some googling and find out if it is available somewhere else (most often these fradulent coupons will be PDF files- though lots of Rite Aid coupons are pdf and I have never seen a fradulent one). Make sure to look for things like an expiration date (lots of fake coupons don’t have them at all) and that all the spelling and abbreviations are correct. Also, make sure you only take coupons from reputable sites (like this one). For those of us passionate about coupons and blogging, we do the best we can to ensure that something is legitimate.

3. Self Check Out Scans– As a couponer, I don’t usually use the self-check out lane in my local grocery store. I just feel more secure having a cashier do everything to make sure it is on the up and up. What some coupon scammers do is scan a coupon with their purchases and then put the coupon back in their pocket to be used again. This messes us the store that honors that coupon, and they lose money! So if you see someone watching you closely in the self-check out line, don’t worry- they are just doing their job!

These are just some basic points about Internet Coupon Ethics! So, as you prepare to use Internet coupons in your local store, be considerate of the companies who provide the coupons and the stores that allow you to use them! Don’t be one of the few who spoils it for everyone else!