Tips for avoiding counterfeit online coupons

Columnist, Others State How To Avoid Problems With Coupons

Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor who writes a question and answer column that appears in central Illinois’ newspaper The News-Gazette, recently touched on an issue that affects plenty of people — online coupons, and coupon abuse.

Coupon abuse happens with traditional and online coupons and even has reality shows seemingly dedicated to celebrating the practice. Cataldo though tends to write against the misuse in her column.

A recent column had a reader ask about online coupons — sort of. The coupon in question was in an online version of a printed newspaper that the reader printed off multiple times.

“A manufacturer may choose to run a coupon in the print version of the paper, but may not extend permission to provide the same coupon in an online version, especially in a format that can be copied and printed in unlimited quantities,” Cataldo wrote. “A finite number of newspapers were printed with that coupon. The manufacturer agreed to publish that specific number of coupons, and to reimburse any used by shoppers.”

The opposite of the extreme couponing trend is also seen on the website of the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC), which champions Considerate Couponing. The CIC publishes a guide that addresses controversial coupon related activities such as shelf clearing, dumpster diving and more.

The CIC also has tips on how to avoid counterfeit coupons. The advice includes not paying for coupons, never downloading an online coupon from a web forum, being suspicious of emailed coupons and checking the CIC website for a list of known counterfeit coupons.