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What a Fraud…

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The “Dark Side” of Couponing…

I have to say, there are few things that make me madder in life than when someone ruins things for the rest of us. In school it was the kid who stole something out of someone’s locker and when no one fessed up, the teacher held EVERYONE in punishment during recess. Now as an adult things are a little more complicated, but there are still a few bad eggs that ruin things for the rest of us. DON’T be one of those bad eggs!
A recent development in the show Extreme Couponing All-Stars indicated that the winner of the show, Chris, may have in fact done so by “allegedly” using 200 counterfeit coupons. You may wonder “So what’s the big deal?”. You may think that making photocopies of a coupon, or printing coupons you know to be fakes isn’t a huge issue. Well…turns out these things ARE a big issue. Here’s why:

When a VALID coupon is used, you give it to the cashier, they scan it, it goes to their cash office, and is sent in to the company who issued it, or a coupon clearinghouse where the store gets redeemed the value of the coupon plus a handling fee.
When an INVALID or FRAUDULENT coupon is used (this includes coupons used for an item not indicated on said coupon) the coupon may “work”, as in it will scan and give the discount, but the clearinghouse cannot reimburse the store for the value of the coupon.  This means the store is out both the money and the product. THIS IS THE SAME AS STEALING. It’s not only morally wrong, but it’s also illegal. In other words, if Chris’s 200 coupons are in fact fraudulent, it’s the same as him having stolen $12,000 worth of product from that store. See more about that story by reading the article over at Jill Cataldo.com
The problem is that its very difficult to catch, because the issue is not discovered until the store finds out they won’t be reimbursed for the coupon, which happens long after the shopper has left the store. Therefore, stores retaliate to protect their assets by establishing strict limits on all couponers.

Make sure that you are doing everything possible to research where your coupons come from. Reliable, legitimate sources exist that will often get you deep discounts and free items, however leaning to the “dark side” and using fraudulent, counterfeit, copied or otherwise “bad” coupons will lead to tighter restrictions for all of us, or the eventual banning of coupons all together.
What good will your counterfeit coupons be when no stores will allow any coupons, and we are ALL stuck paying full price as a result? 
Be smart. Use legitimate coupons from legitimate sources. Don’t worry though: Any coupon from a newspaper insert, or sites such as Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, Redplum.com or a manufacturer website is probably legitimate.
If you are aware of a coupon that is fake, please do not use it, no matter how good the deal is. If you are going to use a fake coupon, you may as well skip it, wear some baggy pants, and steal it by stuffing it in your pocket instead. At least then your stealing will only punish you and not the entire coupon community.
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