If It’s Too Good to be True…
Yes, there are fake coupons. And second, lots of people buy them, unintentionally. There are clipping services, eBay and even other creative ways to get more coupons, but how do you know if you’re getting a fake?
Last week America saw the biggest counterfeit coupon operation get busted in Phoenix. Police confiscated more than 25 million worth of fake coupons. 40 major manufacturers are out hundreds of millions of dollars in merchandise because of all the phony FREE product coupons the three suspects were selling on eBay.
How to Use Coupons Correctly?
In my 10 Step Couponing course I highlight the ethics of couponing and stress what not to do. In light of this major scandal, let’s go over ways to spot a counterfeit coupon and keep everything clean..shall we?
PDF Coupons with unlimited prints, are suspicious. Manufacturers will tell you to come to their site to print a coupon and it’s generally not as many as you like. Be wary!
No expiration date is a big sign you are dealing with a fake. I do have some coupons in my binder that say the words NO EXPIRATION on them, but they were mailed to me directly from the manufacturer. If you find one online or for sale anywhere, be wary.
FREE product coupons not mailed directly from the manufacturer are usually too good to be true. I have never seen a totally free online printable coupon that was legitimate. If you are unsure, stick to the Sunday inserts and the ones mailed directly from the company.
High value coupons that can be bought in seemingly unlimited quantities online is very suspicious. By high value, I mean, it’s making the product practically free, usually $3 and higher.
Contact CIC if you are unsure. You can go to the Coupon Information Corporation website and send them the info of a coupon you have. They also have an ongoing index of current counterfeits in circulation.
We want coupons to stay around for a long time. Treat them like cash and make sure the ones you are using are legit!