Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am often asked about copying coupons. While most people know it is illegal, there are still those who do not. There are also those who think that if 2 printed coupons have the same bar code, then one of them is copied. This is not necessarily true. This post is to point out the differences.  "Like" coupons always have the same bar code. It would be virtually impossible for insert coupons to have different bar codes, and the same is true for printed ones.

If you look closely at the dotted outline, you will see coupon value, expiration date, date and time it was printed, and maybe even an offer number embedded in the there. On most of these, the time is very significant. If a coupon is photocopied, the time will be exactly the same. If it is not, in most cases, the time will be different, even if it's just a few seconds. Some of this info is also embedded below the expiration date.

Most coupons have a dot matrix code in the upper right section. The serial numbers on legitimately printed coupons are normally different.

Smartsource coupons normally have an offer number printed on them and a pin number. The pin number will be different on 2 legitimately printed coupons.

Make certain that you are aware of the differences on your duplicate coupons, so that you can nicely point them out to your cashier if you ever have a problem with this. Cashiers are trained to be careful, and many are afraid of losing their jobs.

Remember, always be considerate, and if you can not resolve your issue with the cashier, ask for a member of management or go to Customer Service after you finish your checkout.

Remember, most coupon & manufacturer's website allow you to print 2 coupons per computer. This is totally legitimate. It is illegal to photocopy coupons, and if you do so, you will be guilty of coupon fraud.

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