Coupon Cheaters ruining discounts for everyone

by Laura Jones and Desk of Brian’s Brandon Jones

Fraud always creates a problem for retailers and consumers alike. As a cost savings, many vendors issue coupons on-line to increase availability beyond the scope of newspaper subscribers.

Unfortunately, as technology has improved, so have the thieves to take advantage of these opportunities. With a struggling economy, everyone is searching for ways to earn more money and save a few bucks also.

This battle may be marching into a head-on-head confrontation.

1-800-Flowers issued $20 off coupons on Harry London candy boxes, but many coupons were simply peeled away, sold on the internet and circumvented the intent of the promotion.

These are the guidelines for selling coupons on eBay(edited for space, see below for link to entire policy):

  • Valid, unexpired coupons


  • Bulk coupon sales: In a single listing, sellers cannot list more than 100 total coupons, 20 identical coupons, or 5 coupon inserts

  • Coupons for “free” products: You can only list 2 coupons for free products, with no purchase required, per listing.

  • Coupons printed off the Internet: You can’t list more than 2 printed Internet coupons per listing.

  • Expired coupons: You can’t list recently expired coupons on eBay because they could be used to commit fraud.

Not allowed

  • Electronic “scanned” coupons: All coupons sold through eBay must be physical coupons printed on paper, not coupons that can be sent electronically to the buyer to be printed. Also, to reduce the potential for coupon fraud, we ask sellers not to include unaltered scans of coupons in their listings that could be copied, printed, and redeemed in stores.

    Note: The sale of scanned or photocopied coupons may violate federal copyright laws, and sellers of unlawful items like these could face prosecution under federal law. eBay doesn’t allow the sale of these kinds of coupons.

  • Coupons for recalled items: Coupons for items that have been recalled by the manufacturer can’t be listed on eBay.

Selling coupons eBay may be lucrative, but greed still corrupts.

From the report on Consumerist.com:

“1-800-Flowers canceled a string of orders made with the coupon codes that appeared fraudulent. Those customers should receive an e-mail, [a company spokesman] said, asking them to call the company and go through the procedure again.”

Then there’s the issue of fraud.

If you think this fraudulent is not a serious problem, let me point you to this story Daily Chronicle in Illinois in which two young men forged and use over $700 in fake coupons. They are now facing two Class 3 Felony charges.

These stories are everywhere. From overseas arrests (read here), or in Dehli to ebay itself (arrest of Glenn and Joanna Schwartz)

For now Walmart will accept Internet Coupons:

“Internet coupons should be legible and say “Manufacturer Coupon.” There should be a valid remit address for the manufacturer and a scannable bar code.” (Read Walmart coupon policy)

Publix carries the most money saving coupon policy but store managers have hinted that there are changes ahead. Read full Publix coupon policy here.

Read Complete eBay coupon selling guidelines here

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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