Shana, from My Memphis Mommy, is finding that more and more stores are really looking closely at the internet coupons that she uses. We are receiving lots of e-mails with complaints about Walgreens, Target, Kroger and Walmart mostly but I am sure other stores will start cracking down too. Here are some thoughts to consider when using coupons printed from the internet.
TOP TEN TIPS TO AVOID FRAUD
1. Use a reliable source to print coupons from. Yes, I recommend My Milwaukee Mommy ;0) but we can make mistakes too so please alert us if you have any problems. Coupons.com & Target.com are both very reliable!
2. Don't get mad at the store. They are getting lots of pressure from their corp. HQ and from the Man. themselves. So as consumers let's join forces with them, learn all we can about the printable coupon, and NEVER EVER COPY A COUPON, THAT IS FRAUD! THE STORE WILL NEVER GET REIMBURSED FOR A COPIED COUPON, & YOU WILL BE HURTING US ALL IN THE LONG RUN!!
3. Also realize that the clerk who makes an all encompassing statement such as "we don't take any internet coupons" probably is incorrect. Ask to speak to their manager.
4. Don't get mad when you have to wait to have a manger come look at your coupon. Shana had this happen just yesterday at Kroger on her Tropicana coupon that was mailed to her from Tropicana, but it was paper and the clerk was young and nervous and didn't want to get in trouble. That was fine by her.
5. Store managers want your (and my) internet coupons. Shana spoke with about 7 Walgreens managers this week. Each store manager has to make a decision that is best for their store. If they are really getting hit hard with FRAUDULENT coupons they are going to have no choice but to crack down. Most are not accepting them if it won't scan, which seems reasonable to me.
6. Just because a coupon scans (such as a coupon for 120z works on a 60z. product) the store will never get reimbursed for that, so do not try and "trick the system". It will just hurt all of us in the long run.
7. Coupons that say ANY PRODUCT, truly means it. You are not being fraudulent by using it on a trial size product. That Man. has decided that if you want to "try their product for free" then they are willing to let you.
8. Facebook pages of the actual company are legit. Most are now mailing you the coupon because of fraud.
9. If you find a coupon that "sounds too good to be true" it probably is. A printable coupon for a free item is very rare these days and most stores will not even accept them anymore. If there are no size specifications then it is more than likely FRAUDULENT. Click here for a list that is up-dated on occasion.
10.Don't give up on internet coupons. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org anytime with questions or concerns. We are here to support and advocate for you!
To put this into lay person terms:
- The unique 2-D barcode on the upper left is a different number for every coupon you print, even for a second print of the same coupon.
- The dotted line around the entire coupon is really text. It has your user id, the date and time and coupon offer information printed - repeating at least 35 times around the coupon. This is also printed at the bottom of the expiration date box.
- The long barcode at the bottom also has a portion of the unique 2-D barcode number in it. These barcodes are much more specific and very soon will be the barcode that is scanned in all stores!
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