Milwaukee, Wis. – Coupons are one of the best ways for consumers to save money and be financially responsible. A savvy consumer no longer has to use a pair of scissors in order to reap the benefits. With the popularity of online coupons on the rise, the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin (BBB) offers advice for identifying deals and avoiding deceptive offers.
“We have seen consumers redeeming online coupons for some time now, as it is a trend that has grown in popularity and at a rapid pace,” said Ran Hoth, CEO/president of the BBB of Wisconsin. “We want to remind consumers that not all coupons are as great a deal as they may appear and the BBB advises consumers to use caution when clicking on coupons online. It’s always important to read the fine print.”
The BBB offers the following advice on redeeming online coupons:
Check out who is offering the coupon. Consumers should check to see if the coupon is being offered directly by the store or if it is being offered by a third-party such as a partner or affiliate. If it is via a third-party, they might ask for additional info or require the consumer sign up for services to redeem the coupon. If so, the BBB recommends using extreme caution before sharing any personal information. Check the company out, free of charge, at www.bbb.org
Be cautious of pop-up offers. The BBB advises coupon clickers to be wary of pop-up ad coupon offers that require you to immediately click to redeem. Clicking on the ad may automatically sign the consumer up for services they were not interested in receiving, causing them to be billed every month.
Read the fine print. Carefully read the terms and conditions for the use of the coupon. Check for the expiration date, limitations of use and whether it is an online coupon good for only online purchases or if it can also be redeemed at the physical store location.
Will the coupon be honored? With some stores concerned about fraud related to online coupons, not all businesses are eager to redeem them. The BBB recommends contacting the store where you wish to use the coupon directly to find out whether the coupon is being honored or not.
Be wary of required phone calls. Be extremely cautious if the coupon requires the consumer call the company to redeem the value of the coupon, and/or has any requirement to give personal information.
Don’t fall for phony coupons via e-mail. Many fake coupons have been making the rounds via e-mail and just because it may come from a friend or family member, don’t assume the coupon is legitimate.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.