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There are lots of opportunities or ways to bend the rules with couponing so I want to take moment to list two rules that should not be broken. I know sometimes there are gray areas, but these two are black and white.
Only use one manufacturer coupon per item.
If you slip in more manufacturer coupons, just because you didn’t get caught doesn’t mean that it does not matter. The store will probably get reimbursed but the manufacturer will lose out. In the end this will come back and effect everyone by increasing the price of the products.
Ex: General Mills decides to give $1 million in coupons for Yoplait yogurt with the expectation that to use the $1 million in coupons that consumers will buy $4 million in products. When you buy less products than you use a coupon for you are decreasing the amount General Mills makes and increasing the amount that they spend…
- A printable coupon and an insert coupon are both manufacturer coupons. Pick one to use if you are only buying one item.
- On Southern Savers if an item has 5 or 6 coupons listed under it I am just telling you all of your options. Pick one per product you buy.
Do not make copies or scans of any coupon.
Each printable coupon has numerous security features in it that the company can quickly tell during the redemption process that it was a copy. If store scans or enters in a copy at will not be reimbursed for any of the copies. You might sneak it past the cashier but the coupon clearing house computers scan the much larger bar code and are not fooled.
How can they tell a copy of a printable coupon?
- Each printable coupon has a unique security number on it. You can see that if you print 2 from your computer that each one you print the number is different.
- Recorded in the long specialized bar code is information about you! Your IP address and printing habits along with redemption habits, they know it all.
- There is a user ID that is individualized for your computer that is printed repeatedly in the very tiny print that makes the border for the coupon.
If you make copies of coupons the major coupon printing sites can quickly end your fun. They will block your IP address and you will denied access to their coupons forever.
What about copies of other coupons?
Any coupon that is released by a manufacturer is released with a certain budget planned for redemption. If the set a budget of $1 million, and release that many coupons, but then have redemption of $2 million then something is amiss. Whether it is caught or not someone will lose out, the manufacturer if it is not caught, or the store if it is caught. In the end again their loss is not your gain.
- PDF coupons are the enigma. The manufacturer has allowed you to print as many as you like. I would still only recommend using these in moderation. It is not Vitamin Waters plan to only give away their product for free they would like to sell a couple every now and then.
Can you print coupons from multiple computers?
Yes, this is okay. You are not breaking any rules. The limit is 2 per computer/ ip address. If you have access to 3 computers and want 6 of a coupon that is okay. All 6 will have individualized security features and are legitimate coupons.
Is it okay to buy printable coupons online?
You do not ever want to buy a printable coupon online. There are some that sell them on eBay, you will have no way of knowing if this is a legitimate coupon or not. You do not want to unknowingly commit fraud.
It is okay to buy newspaper coupons online. There is nothing wrong with having more of one coupon as long as you do it legally. Newspaper coupons are not a regular problem with fraudulent use.
- There are some that say that is against the terms on the coupon. Most sellers and companies (the coupon clippers etc) state that they are charging you a handling fee and not selling the coupon to clear up the legality of their of business. This would be the same as you paying your mother to mail you inserts from her paper.
- The folks that say buying more of a coupon is wrong go one step further and say that it is also wrong to send our coupons over seas. I think they have gone to far to say I can’t help out service men and women with coupons that are worthless to me!