Can you and the merchant have a better online coupon experience? Yes, if everyone does their part. You have as important a role to play as they do in making this a win-win situation.
This is the second post. The first post, Forever Coupons, was written to make sure everyone knew that online coupons were really gift certificates. They have a lifetime (or more than a lifetime) expiration date.
There are at least six things as a consumer you can you do to make the most of your online coupon experience and purchase. Taking these actions and following these rules will also provide a better online coupon experience for the merchant who wants you to become a regular customer. They will also help them stay in business while offering you this great discount. That’s good for everyone, too.
- Do spread the word about the reality of online coupons — they are gift certificates and don’t expire. Business attorney Jeanine Lehman and I have been presenting this information at business associations to help merchants stay compliant with the law.
- If you do buy these online coupons and give them as gifts, do tell the merchant that you were the original purchasers. Why? Because, they have to track who used them and give back unused monies to the state.
- Don’t violate the purchase rules. Most of the coupons say that they are not to be combined with other discounts or with multiple coupons. The point of these discounts is to give you a good reason to try something or some place new. Please, don’t abuse it.
- Sometimes staff don’t collect or cancel the coupon. They should but these are new to them, too. Please, don’t use them again — even if you can. Please don’t try to get something you didn’t pay for.
- Do be understanding if you have a coupon or happen to be there when there’s a huge rush of people trying to redeem their coupon. Merchants are seeing “coupon bullies”. These are people who push their way to the front of lines and are disrespectful of other customers and staff. Do be patient and well mannered.
- If you didn’t buy a coupon, please don’t demand that the merchant give you the same discount. You may be their best regular customer but please don’t ask for what you don’t deserve.
Online coupons can help consumers save money and be good for business, too . We all just need to understand the rules and do the right things.
Do you have other consumer do’s and don’ts to recommend? I’d love to hear your experiences. What would you add for either merchants or consumers?