Friday, March 19, 2010

How do you know if a coupon is legit?

This last week I had a cashier in another city very rudely try to accuse me of using a 'fake coupon'.   I nicely told her that I am very careful about my use of coupons and always check to make sure a coupon is legit before I use it.  She wanted to know what made me s special that I can spot a counterfeit coupon when she works at a big box store and can't even tell the difference. I told her that I'm no expert, but I have talked to multiple managers of stores and customer service reps to make sure I understood what makes a coupon 'legit'.

Here's my checklist of what makes a coupon legit:
  • A coupon must have a valid expiration date.  Very rarely will a real coupon not have a date.  (I think I have only seen about 3 coupons that don't have one.)
  • The purchase must match the wording on the coupon - doesn't have to match the picture.  Most coupons will show the most expensive version of the item.  I always check size and detail descriptions. 
  • There must be a "send to" address for the store. If there is no address, then the store won't be able to redeem the coupon and get their money. 
  • There must be a readable barcode.
  • Most coupon sites will only let you print of 2 copies.  If it is a 'pdf' file and allows unlimted prints, I am suspicious.  I only use pdf coupons when I can verify that the coupon is from a name brand site. 
  • I don't use coupons that say 'no internet redistribution' or have someone else's email address.  Alot of companies will send special coupons to their mailing list members.  Sometimes they allow you to share those coupons.  But most of the time you have to be a member of their mailing list to use that coupon.  You might be able to 'sneak' the coupon past a cashier, but I try very hard to not do that.
Have you ever tried to use a coupon and been told it was counterfeit?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to work as a Customer Service Manager at a store when I was in college. You would be surprised at what people bring in. I even had a poor grandmother bring in a small child that had a "coupon" for a free doll. Someone had given it to the child for her birthday. It was obviously made on someone's computer. None of the above mentioned things. Of course, the grandmother had no idea. It was horrible to have to explain to the grandmother and child that it was not legit.