EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

December 28, 2012

Fraud or Unethical? You Be the Judge

Have you ever seen another shopper using a coupon in a questionable manner? Decide for yourself: Are the scenarios below fraud, or simply unethical?

Dear Jill,

I shop at a drugstore every week to do the coupon deals. There is a woman who comes in and has six loyalty cards for the store. The store’s card is supposed to be one per household, but she sets up six identical orders on the counter and purchases one with every card. She is always clearing off shelves because she buys six deals that are supposedly limited to one per customer. The store does nothing.

Wendy N.

Unethical. While the store states that its loyalty cards are limited to one per household, it clearly does not enforce the rule. It’s not illegal to have multiple loyalty cards. But, it is unethical (and rude!) to use multiple cards to get around store purchase limits.

Dear Jill,

I joined a large coupon forum online to learn more about couponing, but I don’t like some of the things they teach. They say to try to use as many coupons on the same item as possible even though the register is supposed to stop that. And they say to go to young cashiers who are likely not to know any better, so you can convince them to take all the coupons if the register beeps. Isn’t this illegal?

Tina F.

Fraud. Nearly every manufacturer coupon states that the coupon is limited to one coupon per item purchased. There is another statement on the coupon: ‘Any other use constitutes fraud.’ It’s unethical to use coercion to encourage cashiers to override coupon limits at the register.

Dear Jill,

A woman comes into our store and takes every coupon book the store puts out. Our store publishes these books almost every month and displays them on a rack. If you are in the store when she is there, you will see her take them all. She says it is not illegal to take all the coupons because they’re free.

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