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How to use Internet coupons

by KASEY TRENUM on September 22, 2012 11:00 AM

QUESTION: Why does it sometimes say "print limit reached" on the Internet when I haven't printed a coupon?

ANSWER: Internet coupons have a certain number of "prints" that are allowed by the manufacturer. If a coupon reaches that number of prints (usually in the thousands), the manufacturer will either pull it and replace it with another coupon or display a message that says the print limit has been reached. Sometimes the limit will be reset within a few days and other times you have to wait longer.

QUESTION: How many times can I print an Internet coupon?

ANSWER: Most manufacturers allow their coupons to be printed two times per computer. Also, most coupons are reset at the first of the month. Therefore, it is a good idea to check sites at the end of the month knowing that many will soon be reset and you will have another print available. Most Internet coupons have a running count each time they are printed. There are a few that are issued under a PDF file that may let you print them more than two times; those are rare, though. Occasionally you can find the same coupon on several different sites that might allow more prints of it.

QUESTION: Can I copy Internet coupons?

ANSWER: No. Internet coupons have identifying bar codes on them. You will also notice a bar code on the coupon at the top near the expiration date. This bar code ties back in to the IP address of your computer. While you are able to print most Internet coupons two times, and the common bar code will stay exactly the same, the other bar code will be different on each copy.

Clearinghouse companies and manufacturers scan this bar code. If multiple copies of it are detected, they can block your computer from being able to print from their site. In addition, it is their intention for the coupon to only be printed two times per computer.

QUESTION: Are all Internet coupons safe?

ANSWER: Most Internet coupons are issued by the manufacturer and are perfectly safe. There are strategic identifying elements on Internet coupons to track them and prevent fraud. With that said, there are fraudulent coupons out there that shoppers should avoid. These are mainly found and distributed through email or unusual websites. Also, most of these coupons read that an item is absolutely free. Manufacturers want to sell their products, not give them away. Stick to printing from reputable sites and manufacturer sites and you'll be fine.

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