Monday, January 16, 2012

Notice the changing barcodes on coupons?

Have you noticed a lot of coupons only having one barcode on them lately? I sure have! For those of you who are new to couponing or maybe you have been couponing for a while and just don't understand,, here is why they are changing!

The older barcodes have 12 digits and are very general barcodes that look like UPC codes. They can be "decoded" so that someone who understands them can mess with the system and use if for other products than intended for. When someone does this, it is coupon fraud and not only can it hurt the manufacturers bottom line BUT can hurt the stores if they can't prove they sold enough of the correct inventory to cover the coupons AND can land you with a huge find and/or jail time!

Here's a few examples:

1st scenario:
$1 off any Reynolds wrap coupon may be used for Reynolds Parchment Paper because the "code" matches on the old barcode and it would pass right the system without the system beeping so the cashier would think the customer purchased the correct product when in reality they purchased the wrong product. This will not happen with the new barcode(which is pictured above).

2nd scenario:
Janie walks in to Wal-mart and she has a $2 off Tide coupon but since the codes match, she decides to purchase Gain dish detergent instead. When she gets to the register the cashier pays her no attention and just scans the coupons and they go through because the codes match.

3rd Scenario: Lisa walks into the Commissary with a $3 off any 150 oz or more Purex coupon and decides since the 50 oz is on sale for $2.99 that's what she'll get instead and still use the coupon.

These types of scenarios happen every single day. These are not rare instances.
The new barcodes will almost completely stop coupon fraud because it will attach directly to what it is supposed to attach to and it can get as technical as alerting the cash register if the coupon is expired(I'm not sure how this will affect commissaries overseas that allow expired coupons, my guess is they may have to be entered manually)

Next time you are looking over couponing blog and it says to use a coupon for an item it's not intended for, please think twice before doing so.

CouponingMama FortBragg :)

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