Coupon Fraud on TLC? | Mom Blog: written by a teacher-mom, but not just for moms- a blog for everyone

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coupon Fraud on TLC?

Okay, this is the question I have been asking myself since viewing the first two Extreme Couponing shows on TLC... "How the heck do you get $2,000 worth of groceries for a mere hundred?"

And yes, I am still on my coupon rant from yesterday!

I have gotten pretty good at couponing over the last six months with stacking coupons on top of sale items, but despite that, I keep wondering how this select group of people called 'extreme couponers' are able to buy thousands of dollars worth of items for pennies on the dollar or even get them for free.  In my case, even with an item on sale plus 2 coupons, the item only goes down in price a certain percent. It takes a lot of work to find the right cereal on sale at the time I have a coupons for it, and sometimes it simply doesn't work out that way.

Well, what do you know!!!  Here I am looking around on the Internet at some couponing sites, and check out what I discovered.  People are starting to question the TLC show, or rather the shoppers that have been profiled on the show, as to whether or not "Coupon Fraud" is being used in order to obtain items at these rock bottom prices.  Now, keep in mind, I am not in any way accusing anyone of anything.  This is simply information I came across while surfing the net.

According to the website Jill Cataldo (changing the way you shop forever), people had their guard up about one of the extreme couponers right from the get-go.  I am not going to make reference to this extreme couponer by name, but I am going to refer you to a few blog postings I read, so you can read them and draw your own conclusions.

It all seems real clear to me, and I think I have the answer to that question I kept asking myself.... "How the heck do they do it?"

My guess is that we haven't heard the end of this..... especially if coupon fraud really did occur.

You might be wondering what the consequences are for coupon fraud. Well, there is a corporation called Coupon Information Corporation and they work directly with manufactures to help monitor the proper use of coupons. There is a lot of interesting information on their website, some of which I will pass along to you:

FACTS about Couponing Fraud from Coupon Information Corporation
  • Coupon fraud occurs whenever someone intentionally uses a coupon for a product that he/she has NOT purchased or otherwise fails to satisfy the terms and conditions for redemption, when a retailer submits coupons for products they have not sold or that were not properly redeemed by a consumer in connection with a retail purchase; or when coupons are altered/counterfeited. These activities are almost always in violation of Federal, State or local laws. (hmmm... sounds like the TLC shopper might should be concerned if she knowingly used coupons for products not listed on the coupon, even if they were from the same manufacture)
  • Not one defendant has been acquitted in a CIC related coupon fraud case since operations began in 1986 (sounds like you don't want them investigating you)
  • Penalties for those convicted of coupon fraud related crimes vary by each case and the number of laws violated.As of this date, Longest prison sentence: 17 years
    Highest financial penalty: $5 million
    Prison sentences of three to five years are not uncommon. Financial penalties generally vary, but have often been in excess of $200,000
If you think you have a coupon that is too good to be true, they say it probably is.  You can visit this website to see a list of the most current fraudulent coupons.


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