Don’t be a copycat
by TheresaShadrix
Sep 13, 2011 | 1258 views |  0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

If there was one thing I thought was understood about the basics of coupons, it’s that you can’t copy them. Nobody likes a copycat. And that goes for coupons. But, I’m hearing from local cashiers, managers, and readers that we have a good number of copycats in our neck of the woods. Folks, it is wrong to copy coupons. If you look at the fine print on a coupon, it says, “Void if reproduced or copied.”

There are three main types of coupons:

  1. Coupons that you cut out from newspaper inserts like Red Plum, Smart Source and P&G.
  2. Coupons that you print off the Internet and have a limited number of prints.
  3. Coupons that you print off the Internet and have an unlimited number of prints.

According to, printable coupons have been available on the Internet for about 10 years. The main confusion of copying coupons deals with coupons printed off the Internet from websites like,, and manufacturer websites. Most of the websites allow for a coupon to be printed twice from the same IP address. That means two times per computer. Some people think, “Well, if I can print two, why not 20?” Here’s why you can’t.

For one thing, each coupon has a unique code that makes that one coupon valid and the code is good only one time. So, if you copy that coupon, the store will only get reimbursed once. With the increase of Internet use and couponing, you must know that if you copy coupons you are indirectly stealing from the store if you use the coupon more than once. People don’t like copycats and most outright hate thieves.

Another thing with coupons printed online is that your IP address from your computer is printed in very, very small print around the outside of the coupon. If you copy the coupon, your IP address will eventually be blocked and you won’t be able to print coupons from that computer. This is the main reason I don’t “coupon fairy” my printable coupons. Meaning I don’t leave my coupons in stores for strangers to use. I can’t control if someone copies that coupon and I don’t want to take the risk of my IP address being flagged.

It might be a little confusing that you can print coupons online but you can’t copy them. I didn’t think there was any confusion at all about copying coupons from newspaper inserts, but, apparently, there are some local coupons doing it. Companies will not get reimbursed for a copied coupon and the loss will eventually trickle down to consumers. 

The only time that you can copy a coupon is ones that are print off the Internet from manufacturers and have an unlimited number of prints. This is a coupon that is in a PDF format. The code is not unique and it’s the same one on all of the coupons. It should go without saying, but the company doesn’t expect you to copy the PDF coupon 100 times. If you think people don’t like copycats and thieves, they pretty much abhor a shelf clearer. So, you might have 100 of an item, but no friends.

Got a question? Email me at 

To verify if a printable coupon is valid, go to and follow the instructions.

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