Update: All coupons now considered invalid copies and word is being sent to retailers not to accept them. Read FB statement here.
On Friday I posted about some “amazing” coupons available through Facebook. You can see that post here. When I posted this, Heather from Freebies 4 Mom was quick to let me know her reservations about these coupons. The only reason I shared them with you was because the Supermods at A Full Cup contacted the marketing company who put out these coupons and the company said that in fact these coupons were legit.
I had my own reservations about these coupons:
- The fact that they could be printed more than twice,
- there was no way for the retailer to verify authenticity
- It was not a coupon issued by a manufacturer but by a marketing company
- Finally, some of the coupons were just too good to be true
As you can see, more than one red flag. The first hint I got that these coupons would be eventually pulled was that the marketing company said they would be reimbursing these coupons. I noticed how these coupons caught on like wildfire on the Internet Friday evening and I knew this company had bitten more than they could chew. The second hint came yesterday when I started reading that this marketing company was claiming some of the coupons available out there had been hacked from their promotional database. Still I left the post up because I was waiting to hear what Hotcouponworld would investigate about this coupons.
I am not surprised to learn this morning via Hotcouponworld that the Coupon Information Center and its manager and coupon fraud zealot Bud Miller are already investigating these coupons and the company that issued them. Read HCW’s announcement about this here. Facebook has also issued their own statement which you can read here.
I think there are some lessons to be learned here:
- If something is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be weary of coupons not issued directly by the manufacturer. This was the biggest concern of mine about these coupons. Because even if the marketing company was backing these coupons, if they retracted them the loss of goodwill would be for the manufacturer’s products not this company.
I hope if you have any of these coupons you will consider waiting for a final resolution about them before using them again. I fear this whole situation could result in retailers being even more reluctant to accept Internet printables than before.