We know that you love your coupons (we do too) because, well, who doesn't like to save money? As sales, coupons, and discounts are easier to search, print, and download, it is not uncommon to find ways to get the items you want while reducing costs. However, just as finding coupons in newspapers, social media pages, and sites like RedPlum.com has become easier, there are rules to couponing that you must follow to avoid becoming reported for coupon fraud to the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC).
Here are several tips to keep in mind while you search and use coupons.
Prohibited Coupon Activities
- Do not buy coupons. Coupon buyers and sellers can find themselves in violation of the “nontransferablity” clause that is on all coupons distributed within the United States. Always follow the legal language that the manufacturer states on the actual coupon. Each manufacturer has its legal requirements for usage, and the retailers set their acceptance policies.
- Do not photocopy coupons. It is an act of counterfeiting, a criminal offense.
- Stealing newspapers. People subscribe to newspapers. It is for personal use. Do not take someone’s newspaper. It can result in felony charges.
Read the list of other prohibited coupon activities.
What is Coupon Fraud and How to Avoid It?
Coupon fraud is the intentional use of a coupon for a product that the consumer has not purchased or otherwise fails to satisfy the terms and conditions for redemption. Also, when a retailer submits coupons for products they have not sold or that were not properly redeemed by a consumer in connection with a retail purchase; or when coupons are altered/counterfeited.
If you have to pay for a coupon or perform any illegal acts to receive or use coupons, then it is likely that you are involved in a coupon scam. Report individuals in the scam by keeping all of your records or anything associated with the fraud to the CIC.
Also, contact one of the following law enforcement agencies:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Federal Trade Commission
- Internal Revenue Service
- U.S. Postal Service
Remember to be mindful of your coupon usage and how coupon fraud affects all consumers and manufacturers. Couponing is a great way to save if done appropriately. Only use coupons obtained from authorized coupon distributors.
For more excellent coupon tips, check out these articles:
- 5 Important Couponing Tips for the Clever Shopper
- The Must-Know Terms for Successful Couponing
- Couponing for Beginners: Tips for Superior Savings
- How to Get More from Your Coupons
While you are here, print the featured coupons below.