November 14, 2012
Jennifer wants to know: I have a question for your I Heart Publix segment. I have noticed that more and more coupons lately, especially the Proctor and Gamble ones, in the fine print it says “void if transferred, sold, auctioned”, etc. Does this really mean anything? When you buy inserts or individual coupons online, aren’t they being auctioned or sold? If so, how in the world would they really track this? Just curious.
If you look at the wording from a black and white standpoint. The wording seems to indicate that if you take a coupon from your Sunday paper and give it to your grandmother you have transferred that coupon and it is now void. If you are waiting in line and have an extra diaper coupon that you offer to the lady behind you – you have transferred that coupon and it is now void. Ultimately this is not the company’s intent with that wording. In my opinion this is coupon sharing or trading and not really a big coupon transfer scheme – tee hee.
The wording on the coupons help protect the company from abuse. I think we can all agree that without some limitations in place – people would just go nuts and abuse the system. Heck, even with limitations in place – there are folks who still abuse the system….that is a story for another day.
Now, I know some of you are asking how ebay and clipping sites can still offer coupons without getting into trouble. Well, they insist that you are paying for their clipping service, mailing efforts and the like and NOT paying for the coupons. Is this a work around the wording…yes – it probably is. Should you avoid clipping sites and auction sites? That is something you will have to decided for yourself.
I think by understanding the rationale for the wording on the coupon you will be able to decide what this means for you. Companies put out a ton of coupons. Generally they only expect a small percentage of those coupons to be redeemed. Think about how many inserts are available each week. Now think about how many people never even look at them and toss them out once they have finished reading the comics on Sunday. The companies who offer the products expect that the majority will go in the trash and never be redeemed. With the rise of extreme couponers – companies have seen many more coupons redeemed. The wording is their attempt to help deter abuse.
Remember, coupons are really just a form of advertising. The companies want to get that product out there. By offering an incentive (discount) they are hoping that you will use it to try their products. Ultimately hoping you like it and choose to buy it again. This is one of the many ways a company can get some attention to the product they are selling. The coupon itself is a great way to get that product seen and noticed.
Ok, back to the question. Does this wording mean anything to us as couponers. Yes, it means that once the retailer submits the coupon the company can choose to not reimburse that retailer if they feel that the coupon terms were violated.
While it would be impossible to track all those coupons that are technically voided through transfer, auction, selling and the like – it is not impossible. A few examples include:
- Printable coupons – each contain information that allows the coupon to be tracked
- Coupons that are gang cut (piles of similar coupons stacked and cut at once)
So what does all this wording mean for most of us? Probably not a whole lot. I feel that the wording is put in place for those that choose to take things to the extreme. Now – please be aware that I am not saying it is OK to sell coupons or to use coupons incorrectly or use them in any way contrary to the wording on the coupon. I am just saying that I don’t feel that companies put the wording on the coupon as a way to prohibit us from offering a coupon to our grandmother or giving a diaper coupon to the lady at checkout.
Please know that I am sharing MY opinion and I do not claim to have all the right answers. I think if I were to stand on my soapbox saying that you guys should never share a coupon with a friend or trade a Dove coupon for a Tide coupon – you would know that I was full of crud (hello…I give away coupons every week as part of FREE Coupon Friday!)
I know this may be a hot topic and everyone will have an opinion. So feel free to share yours in the comments (just keep it nice!)