Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hidden Dangers of Buying Coupons Online

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It's a pretty common practice for seasoned couponers to purchase coupons online via Ebay or another private coupon cutting business. You want multiple coupons, but you don't want the entire Sunday coupon insert. The solution for many has been to buy coupons online, where individuals and companies sell them. They charge money for the coupon cutting service and shipping, as opposed to the coupons themselves. It might seem like a good solution, however watch out! A huge company called SavvyShoppersite.com was just shut down after they were discovered creating millions of dollars of counterfeit coupons. Quoted from CouponInformationCenter.com:
“This case clearly demonstrates the dangers of purchasing coupons on the Internet, whether it is from independent websites, e-mail or from online auctions,” Miller added. “Coupon buyers  expose themselves to the possibility of becoming involved with counterfeits, stolen property or other criminal activities. They may also expose themselves to additional risk by providing their names, home addresses and financial information to organized crime rings.”
Just the words organized crime rings makes my eyes widen. It really frustrates me that people feel the need to manipulate a system that is designed to save everyone money. Can't we all just follow the rules?!  In all my years of couponing, I've not once purchased coupons online. I'm not saying it's bad or that I worried about counterfeit coupons {although maybe I should have!} Rather I just didn't feel it was necessary. I've always been very happy with my 4 sets of inserts I got from the Sunday paper. If you're new to couponing and are thinking about buying coupons online, you might want to read up on How to Identify Fraudulent Coupons. The CIC also gave a few tips:
  1. Never pay money for coupons or coupon related “opportunities”
  2. Beware of invalid disclaimers, such as “You are not paying for the coupons, but for the time and effort it took to clip them.”
  3. Be wary of any coupon emailed to you by anyone but the manufacturer or its authorized distributor.
  4. If a coupon is visible on a computer screen, it is probably counterfeit.
  5. Free product coupons are seldom, if ever, distributed on the Internet.
  6. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I'd love to hear thoughts from those who do regularly purchase coupons online. Will this situation change your practices? 

Thanks CouponGal for the head's up on this article!!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would never buy a coupon. It defeats the purpose. I don't subscribe to multiple papers either, and I do just fine (total coupon savings last year $1,956.00 and change.) If you don't have time to clip your own coupons then you're doing something wrong.

Let me start by addressing something you wrote. You used the phrase "manipulate a system that was designed to save everyone money..." to describe coupon counterfeiters...

a. Coupons were not designed to save everyone money. They are designed to advertise products and generate sales. On the contrary, they are designed solely to MAKE money.

b. Love couponing, love the Deal Diva, but in my humble opinion subscribing to multiple newspapers, printing from multiple computers, going through the line more than once, or rolling Catalinas can all be considered "manipulating a system." Sorry if that ruffles some feathers out there, but I am also guilty as charged. The proof lies in ever-increasing usage restrictions everywhere. We're abusing the system, like it or not.

As couponers many of us tend to get a little uppity when it comes to the notion that we are entitled to something for nothing, or more than someone else, because we have unique knowledge. That's how couponing works and where the payoff lies - in bulk. The more we get for less the better, right? We can also be so succeptible to a bargain that we'll buy garbage in bulk without realizing it. It's the perfect storm, because now we're also collectively paying millions of dollars for more coupons because we want more bargains. It's greed disguised as savings.

My point is this: I really do not think that the neediest among us are buying coupons, I think it is the greediest. A thriving fraudulent coupon crime ring speaks to greed and manipulation on both ends. Let's all be careful out there.

Utah Deal Diva said...

Anon- great points. You're right- coupons were and are first and foremost advertisements. However, as it stands, if used correctly, they could save us a TON of money. Many of us have experienced that. My point was- take those savings and be happy with it. You hit the nail on the head when you said - GREED. It's so unfortunate that we inevitably pay the price on other's greed.

I get 4 papers and don't see anything wrong with it. It's the max allowed for any one residence. I feel like it's the one way we can legitimately get more than one coupon.

We all have to find that happy median- that balance- where we save money, but also buy good food while following the rules. There are so many gray areas of couponing- it's always been the hard part of this process.

Thank you for your comment- I love your thoughts and insight!

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