Print Your Coupons Here!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are My Coupons Legit?

In response to my post about printing coupons in black and white to save on ink, Katie asked an excellent question that I felt deserved its own post.

I read that you print your coupons in B&W...have you ever had issues with them being accepted? I print mine in B&W, too, and last week they wouldn't accept one because the manager (who happened to be bagging) said it looked too much like a photocopy. Has this ever happened to you? Is there any way to prove that they are real and not copied?

None of us want to be accused of coupon fraud, so it's good that we practice caution about printable coupons. Stores are often leery of internet printables because they will lose money if they accept a fradulent coupon. There are fradulent coupons out there, but there are also a lot more legitimate coupons available to help you save money. So how do you tell which ones are okay to use and which ones aren't?

Before you print a coupon, there are a couple of things you can look for to make sure it is legitimate.

  • Did the coupon originate from a legitimate source? Coupons printed from,,, and directly from manufacturer's websites are legitimate coupons. However, something I have learned is that if a coupon is in pdf form (read by Adobe), it may or may not be legitimate. The reason is that these often print off the same barcodes and there aren't print limits on them.
  • Does the coupon LOOK legitimate? Is it missing an expiration date? Is it for a completely FREE item with no other purchase necessary? Are there any misspellings on the coupon? These are all GIANT red flags that a coupon is counterfeit.
To get back to Katie's question about printing legitimate coupons in black and white, I did ask some "super savings bloggers" who know more than I do how you can prove to a manager on the spot that a coupon is legitimate. Mercedes brought up that the fact that the coupon is in black and white doesn't make it any more likely to be copied than if it were in color--since there are also color copiers! :-) I thought that was a good point!

The short answer is you can verify each coupon by going to the website listed on the coupon, which is often Of course you'd have to be willing to politely ask the manager to do this, and I guess it is his/her prerogative to refuse--however I would (politely) make it clear that if they were willing to accuse me of coupon fraud and yet weren't willing to verify that my coupon WAS indeed legit, they'd be losing my business. You are well within your rights to print coupons in black and white to save on ink costs.

Thanks to Heather and Mercedes for their help in answering this question!


Pam said...


I print my coupons in black and white as well. Most coupons have a watermark that is a faint gray in the background, but would be black if you photocopied it.

I haven't had any problems with them.

Michelle said...

Thx. Haven't had any probs but good to know the site.

Home Gnome said...

Thank you for such a thorough answer, Jessica! I feel much better equipped to handle this type of situations, should I be questioned again.

Thanks for all you do!

The NEW Mommiez Blend said...

Great post Jessica! I have the 'fear' in me so I still do color lol. I feel like I have enough issues with mgrs and checkers manhandling my Qs! Kidding....Keep up the great work :)

Unknown said...

This reminds me that I still have the 1/2 gal. of chocolate milk w/ purchase of 2 gal. of milk. I tried to use it at Woodman's, but their policy is to never accept coupons for "free" items. I didn't need milk at the time, so I left them all there. Now Festival has milk at $1.49 with in-store coupon, so I need to go and do that today, before the coupon expires! (now where did I put it?)

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