Coupon Ethics

LAST UPDATED 08/15/11

Unfortunately, there are ways to abuse coupons.  I want to let my readers know that I am committed to 100% ethical usage of coupons.  It’s important to save money, but it’s equally important you are not defrauding someone else in the process.  After taking some time to reflect, I came up with the following list that reflects my stance on this important subject.  While this may not encompass every possible scenario, I think it covers most of them.

Please understand that I respectfully reserve the right to remove any comment on this blog that I feel violates these guidelines in any way.  Also know that you can hold me accountable that deals I post here at the site will adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Use coupons ONLY as stated. I make sure to read the fine print on my coupons before redeeming them.  If it reads, “good for the products pictured above,” I won’t tell you to go ahead and use it on other products – even if it will scan at checkout.  If the coupon states “limit one per household,” I’m not going to suggest you head to the store with your spouse so you can get two.  There are blogs out there that will fudge the lines on coupon usage in various ways.  This is not one of them.
  2. Use coupons within store policies. The deals I share with you will be acceptable as per each store’s individual coupon policy.  For instance, if a particular store does not accept Internet printables, I won’t include those in on the deal.
  3. Use “peelies” appropriately. Many peelies (i.e., those sticker “save now” coupons on products) are clearly to be used on the product they are found on.  I will never recommend you rip off peelies from products and save them for later.  I consider that stealing.  However, please note that “blinkies” (i.e., the coupons in the dispensing machines) and tearpad coupons can be taken and used at other stores, but do so in a responsible way (e.g., don’t take 30 of them!).
  4. No questionable pdf and other Internet coupons. Before posting a coupon that I’ve found out and about, I will do my utmost to make sure it’s legitimate.  Sometimes I may be personally emailed a coupon that I find valuable to share.  In that instance, I will explain to you how I received that coupon and NOT post the actual coupon that was intended for my use and mine only.
  5. No Walmart deals will be posted. This may be more personal conviction stuff, but I’m pretty anti-Walmart. Their poor business practices have considerably hurt American taxpayers and families. In a word, they behave unethically. Furthermore, I don’t permit debate about Walmart on this site. Occasionally I’ll get emails from readers asking me why I don’t like Walmart. If you truly have no clue why people are upset by this store, do a little Googling and you’ll find no shortage of information. I also refuse to do a post on why I don’t like Walmart. I don’t care to give them any coverage, good or bad, other than this snippet.
  6. No obnoxious, overly aggressive coupon tactics.  While this is subjective, I think we can all agree asking a cashier to do 30 transactions back-to-back for you is obnoxious.  I think we can also agree buying all 50 of a store’s brand X shampoo is obnoxious (because now no one else can do the deal).  I’m all for stockpiling, but there are polite ways to go about doing it (such as contacting the store ahead of time to see if they can order extra stock).   Be considerate of others.
  7. E-coupons and paper coupons cannot be stacked. You will not find deals here that that require both the use of an ecoupon and paper coupon for the same item in the same transaction. The only exception would be if one is a store coupon and the other is a manufacturer coupon (e.g, a store e-coupon stacked with a manufacturer’s coupon clipped from a Sunday insert).
  8. You cannot buy or sell coupons. I am literally baffled by how many people think this is OK. It’s not. According to the CIC, there is no legitimate way to buy or sell coupons – whether through a clipping site or eBay. The “I’m just charging for my time” argument doesn’t hold water. Additionally, the CIC in conjunction with the major coupon manufacturers are looking to put an end to selling coupons by 2011. Coupon clipping service owners and eBay sellers beware! You may soon get a nice email if you haven’t ready and/or slapped with sizeable fines. I occasionally get emails asking me to plug someone’s clipping service. Now you know why I refuse to do that.

There are many gray areas when it comes to couponing, and I want you to know – I will not judge you if you do not agree 100% with my conservative approach. I encourage and invite open discussion (and yes, even debate!) about these topics on my blog. All I ask is that comments left are respectful and avoid personal attacks.

Please note that my goal is to make sure the majority of my deals can be performed by the majority of my readers. I also feel a sense of obligation as a blogger to you – whenever you mention my site to a fellow customer or cashier – I want it to be a positive experience and not the opposite. I want couponing to be enjoyable and fun for you!

If you aware of coupon fraud that’s taking place, please check out Coupon Information Corporation for what you can do.

For more on topics like these that I’ve written about, see my Ethics & Fraud category. If you have a question about coupon ethics or fraud, please contact me.

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