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Are Coupons cheating the system or legit?


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I just joined this program that helps you maximize coupons. I've never done coupons before, but my friends are all raving about how much they get for free or close to. I have a weird feeling and I wanted to get some opinions away from my people who use it (and I'm not going to say which one it is).

 

On the message boards, the gals are constantly talking about how some of Store X are taking certain coupons, but other Store X's aren't, the stores that double coupons when they're not supposed to, how you can use more than the stated amount of coupons at certain stores, etc. and I almost feel like these coupon programs are taking it to the extreme - are they taking advantage of the system? Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled with the 15 boxes of cereal I got this last week for $5, but I only felt comfortable getting them b/c I wasn't taking up all that the store had. I'm not into stocking up on something that's free just b/c it's free, kwim?

 

So, I'd love any feedback on if people feel that all of this is legit or if anyone else feels weird about it. Do you feel that it's fine to take coupons to the max? I think it is all legal, but for some reason it feels gray to me.

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some of Store X are taking certain coupons, but other Store X's aren't, the stores that double coupons when they're not supposed to, how you can use more than the stated amount of coupons at certain stores, etc.

 

This seems to cross the line, IMO. Using coupons for what they say, no matter how many, is fine (though I agree that I wouldn't take everything on the shelf). I spend the time each week to match my coupons with the sale paper at the one store I go to, and average about 30% savings. If you have the time to go to lots of stores and use different coupons at different places, go ahead! But I do think using coupons differently than they are written is dishonest, even if the cashier lets you.

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I would never try to use a coupon for something it's not intended for, whether the store has a glitch that allows it or not.

 

I don't know if you're talking about Grocery Game, but that's what I use. As long as I'm following the guidelines of the coupon and the store, I feel fine about it. My coupon won't double/triple more than one coupon of a type per visit, and I don't buy multiple papers, so I'm rarely able to stock up on things, but I do save quite a bit of money on our weekly bill.

 

Do what you feel comfortable with. There are always people that try to take advantage of the system, but you don't have to be one of them.

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It depends. If the coupon rings up double (usually automatically) even though it isn't supposed to, what do you do? I used to tell the cashier and even the manager and they just let it go. Several cashiers have told me it's too much trouble to void. I don't bother asking anymore. It's not worth the effort but I do not go out of my way to make someone double something that shouldn't double. I feel that it's up to the store to enforce the coupon's requirements and I do use my coupons honestly.

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Thanks, Rhonda, and no I'm not referring to GG...

 

Maybe part of my problem, too, is that these gals are constantly going out whenever a new deal strikes to "stock up". They are always on the computer sharing who got a deal and where. Now, of course there's nothing wrong with that, but maybe the infatuation with deals and time spent getting them is bothersome to me - I DON'T have time for that!!!!

 

(I may also be perturbed about how a gal went off about how homeschoolers are un-socialized on the message board....)

 

Maybe that group just isn't the right one for me!

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I do heavy couponing and combine coupons with sales.

 

I do not try to get them to take coupons for something that the coupon is not for.

 

I do not use expired coupons even though some stores take them up to a month past the date.

 

I use one coupon per item.

 

I also follow the rules of the store. Kroger in my area will only take 2 of the same coupon so even if you have 10 coupons for fruit roll-ups and want to buy 10 boxes. You can ony use 2 coupons. So you would have to buy 2 boxes at a time. They also will not accept internet coupons.

 

Yes, you can get a lot of free stuff and sometimes even get "paid" to shop. Today, because of coupons my dh was able to buy 2 tubes of toothpate, a contour blood monitor and a 2 L of soda for 1.23 and they gave him $9 extra care bucks. The monitor coupon was for up to $30 but I had the cashier to only take off the $14.99 that it costs.

 

Things that are free or we are paid to buy like the blood monitor we give to charity so that people who really need it will have it.

 

Good luck and here is a good article on this: http://www.thethriftymama.com/2008/12/being-honest-couponer.html It is on using coupons honestly.:001_smile:

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Stores only get face value of the coupon from the manufacturer. So, if you redeem a coupon for .50 off a box of something, and the store doubles it, the manufacturer only remits the store .50. The store gave you an additional .50 off. If it's the store's policy to double coupons, then the store is giving you the product at an sale price.

 

I've never seen a store go against it's own policy on coupons. For example, my son worked in a grocery store. A man came through with one coupon for a can of tuna, but had 10 cans. He tried to talk DS into running the coupon through 10 times, but the policy is no more than 3 coupons for identical items. If DS had tried to run that one coupon through 10 times, the register would have shut down and DS would have to call a manager to restart it and then explain why it shut down. My son said the registers are programmed to adhere to the store's couponing policies, including not accepting a coupon for an item not purchased. So, at least at this store, you can't cheat with coupons--the registers won't let you.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with taking advantage of sales and coupons. Believe me, stores take very little loss with coupons. First, all the items are marked up greatly, which is why stores can afford to take coupons and offer sales. They also count on loss-leaders (super sales where prices on a few items are ridiculously low) to get people in, knowing that it's rare for a customer to purchase only the loss-leader. A store isn't going to take a coupon or offer a sale price with the intent to lose money. Believe me, they make up for it. That great deal you get buying butter for $1 a lb is made up by raising the price of produce that week, for example.

 

Stores are out to make money, bottom line. If they have a generous coupon policy, it's because they can afford to. And, very few people actually go through all the work to get the fabulous deals you read about or hear about on the news. So, if you have a coupon for $2 off a bottle of $2.29 shampoo, and the store lets you redeem 10 coupons for that shampoo, consider that a blessing and buy the shampoo. Maybe donate some of that shampoo to a shelter, if it makes you feel better! :)

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Kroger in my area will only take 2 of the same coupon so even if you have 10 coupons for fruit roll-ups and want to buy 10 boxes. You can ony use 2 coupons. So you would have to buy 2 boxes at a time. They also will not accept internet coupons.

 

Call and complain to the coupon manufacturer AND Kroger headquarters/customer service. If you have a legitimate coupon for all 10 items and the coupon states 'x amount off PER item purchased' and not 'one item per transaction' then you SHOULD be allowed to use 10 coupons on the 10 items.

 

 

For example, my son worked in a grocery store. A man came through with one coupon for a can of tuna, but had 10 cans. He tried to talk DS into running the coupon through 10 times, but the policy is no more than 3 coupons for identical items.

 

It sounds like this man was asking your son to commit coupon fraud for him. The stores only receive the amount of money for the coupon they turn in to the manufacturers. So if the cashier scans 10 coupons but they only had one physical coupon to turn into the manufacturer, then the store has lost out on compensation for those missing coupons. :001_huh:

 

 

 

 

 

I have been a coupon/rebate Queen since I was 16 years old. I too have gone into the grocery store and walked out with them paying me to shop. :) I actually HATE doing coupons but it saves us SO MUCH $$$ in our grocery budget for this family of 8, that I can't NOT do it!!

 

It is legitimate to stack coupons....If you have a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon for the SAME item it is legal to use BOTH on the one item. The manufacturer pays the store for their coupon and the store is paying for the store coupon. However, it is coupon fraud when you use coupons to purchase items that are not specifically stated on the coupon itself.

 

Since the economy has taken a downturn I am having a harder time using my legitimate coupons. Practically every single item I purchase I try to make sure I have a coupon for. Most stores have computer systems that will stop accepting coupons after a certain number have scanned. If you are using the coupons legitimately the manager can come over and override the register to accept those coupons. (And most of the managers at these stores know me well because of this specific problem.)

 

I recently went to a store two weeks ago that I visit about once every 3 months. They refused to accept some coupons I had for butter. It was a manufacturers coupon, but it had a tiny emblem of another store on it and they refused to take it. This was wrong because it was a MANUFACTURERS coupon. It was NOT an x store coupon. I called the manufacturer to complain and they are now contacting that store to find out why they declined to use it.

 

Because coupon fraud is currently high many stores are not taking internet coupons because they can easily be copied/duplicated. I NEVER use Internet coupons. I stick to the old fashioned newspaper ones. I do have a very large family and we most definately purchase more than 1 item of ANYTHING. So I do use more than 1 of the SAME coupon. I use various Internet resources to obtain these legitimate coupons. I also have a few friends who don't use their coupons and happily pass on their Sunday inserts to me.

 

HTH,

Shenan

Edited by Shenan
I left out the words 'one item' in the phrase 'one item per transaction'
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It gets illegal when you start swapping or selling coupons. Other than that, it is about your own personal ethics. If one person cheats a store, everyone pays for it in the long run. I always keep that in mind when making decisions like this. I wouldn't personally use more than the number it says you can use.

 

 

Their is nothing illegal about swapping coupons. As long as money does not exchange hands for the coupons. Once money is being exchanged for the coupon it becomes FRAUD.

 

Their are many Internet websites that sell their SERVICES to obtain and swap/give you coupons. You are paying for their "SERVICE" and NOT for the coupon. In other words you are paying for their time and labor and any expenses they occur. Just like you have to pay a mechanic/laborer an hourly rate for their time/service to you.

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It gets illegal when you start swapping or selling coupons.

 

I don't undestand this. I don't use coupons, so maybe I'm missing something that's obvious to everyone else. Why is it illegal to swap coupons? If I had Huggies coupons I didn't need and my friend had cereal coupons she didn't need, why couldn't we swap? Is that what you meant, or was it something else?

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. . . use of coupons. Coupons are advantageous for those of us who use them to get what we want at a lower price than the less organized or diligent have to pay. They're advantageous for the manufacturers because they have a demonstrable effect on consumer behavior--coupons *make* money for the manufacturers, because they get you to buy something you might not normally, and they increase the likelihood that you'll buy it again even without the coupon.

 

It's only when they're used fraudulently that you're cheating the system.

 

To take your example about doubling coupons when "they're not supposed to." It's entirely up to the grocery store whether or not they will double coupons and under what circumstances. The manufacturer pays the face value of the coupon only; the grocery store itself pays for the doubling. Manufacturers will sometimes write "Does Not Double" on their coupons, but that is not binding on the grocery store. So, a store that decides to double even coupons that say "Does Not Double" is not acting fraudulently--they're not costing the manufacturers anything, and they may even be increasing the manufacturers' business.

 

On the other hand, a store that accepts a coupon for a product other than the one on the face of the coupon *is* acting fraudulently. Say the coupon is for Frosted Cheerios, and you want to buy regular Cheerios. The store might decide to accept it anyway, esp. if it knows that they sell enough Frosted Cheerios that they won't end up with more coupons than sales. But this is not fair to the manufacturer, who doesn't want to give you a discount on regular Cheerios.

 

Anyway, in both scenarios, it turns out well for you, the consumer. You get a bigger discount in both cases. But in the second case, it *is* cheating the system. I avoid deliberate fraud (and the stores are generally set up to catch that anyway), but I don't mind taking advantage of services offered to me.

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. . . use of coupons. Coupons are advantageous for those of us who use them to get what we want at a lower price than the less organized or diligent have to pay. They're advantageous for the manufacturers because they have a demonstrable effect on consumer behavior--coupons *make* money for the manufacturers, because they get you to buy something you might not normally, and they increase the likelihood that you'll buy it again even without the coupon.

 

It's only when they're used fraudulently that you're cheating the system.

 

To take your example about doubling coupons when "they're not supposed to." It's entirely up to the grocery store whether or not they will double coupons and under what circumstances. The manufacturer pays the face value of the coupon only; the grocery store itself pays for the doubling. Manufacturers will sometimes write "Does Not Double" on their coupons, but that is not binding on the grocery store. So, a store that decides to double even coupons that say "Does Not Double" is not acting fraudulently--they're not costing the manufacturers anything, and they may even be increasing the manufacturers' business.

 

On the other hand, a store that accepts a coupon for a product other than the one on the face of the coupon *is* acting fraudulently. Say the coupon is for Frosted Cheerios, and you want to buy regular Cheerios. The store might decide to accept it anyway, esp. if it knows that they sell enough Frosted Cheerios that they won't end up with more coupons than sales. But this is not fair to the manufacturer, who doesn't want to give you a discount on regular Cheerios.

 

Anyway, in both scenarios, it turns out well for you, the consumer. You get a bigger discount in both cases. But in the second case, it *is* cheating the system. I avoid deliberate fraud (and the stores are generally set up to catch that anyway), but I don't mind taking advantage of services offered to me.

 

 

So beautifully/well written!!:001_smile:

 

I was going to rep you but I think they got rid of that system while I was AWOL. :D

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First, all the items are marked up greatly, which is why stores can afford to take coupons and offer sales. Believe me, they make up for it. That great deal you get buying butter for $1 a lb is made up by raising the price of produce that week, for example.

 

I used to work in retail and at the time grocery stores had the lowest profit margins in the business. Generally the mark up at grocery stores is not very large and they do not mark up the prices of other items to compensate for loss leaders. Loss leaders at considered the cost of doing business almost equivalent to advertising costs. You are right about the registers being programmed to only accept coupons according to corporate regulations so if a store allows a coupon to be used that generally means that they have considered the cost of doing so. I can't even begin to imagine how people manage such savings using coupons. :confused:

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I use coupons, will use multiple coupons, do not clear out the shelves. Do pay someone else to clip coupons (buying multiple coupons of one item off of e-bay or a clipping service, I see nothing wrong with that) Do it all legally and am thankful that I can save money and feed my family well. Some people just will not mesh with certain on-line message boards. I personally enjoy Couponmom, everyone is great there. I do not care for the grocery game cause everything is so mushy, you can't talk about anything and everyone seems like that can't do it themselves. I love viewing ads early on other websites and see what I can get for the upcoming weeks. Plus some stores run such good two day sales, I'd hate to wait for a "list" to tell me what to buy and miss out on the sales.

 

Happy Shopping!

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I love couponing. I have at least an extra $4000 in my bank account this year from couponing(would be more but I buy tons of fresh fruit and veggies:)). Swapping coupons is not illegal. Manufacturers send out coupons all the time and specify to give the extras to friends. Also, stores set out coupons for customers to pick up because those manufacturers are trying to sale their products.

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