coupon inserts

Notice anything different about the coupons in yesterday’s newspaper? Several of them are already about to expire. Many more are valid for only a few weeks.

And that’s no accident.

Several industry studies have noted in recent years that coupons’ expiration dates are getting shorter. Kantar Media reports that it’s been happening for a decade now, with average expiration lengths on a steady decline since 2006. “Manufacturers are reducing their financial risk by shortening the overall expiration lengths of coupons,” Kantar explained a few years ago.

But short expiration dates have grown even more pronounced and more noticeable to the typical couponer lately. More high-value coupons are declaring that they’re valid for “one week only!” Other coupons are expiring long before replacements come along. And even P&G is adding more short-expiration-date coupons to its inserts, where coupons used to be valid for a full month until the next P&G insert came out.

It can be frustrating when you don’t get to use a coupon before it expires, or aren’t able to hold onto it to wait for a sale. It’s also frustrating to coupon buyers and sellers, who are finding that many high-value, in-demand coupons are expiring between the time they’re ordered, and delivered. And coupon “glitchers” don’t have as much time to learn, and share, what items they can get away with buying, by using coupons in ways they’re not intended.

And that, industry representatives say, is precisely the idea.

“Over the past few years, P&G and its brands have seen significant increases in coupon fraud,” a Procter & Gamble spokesperson told Coupons in the News. “To help stem these losses and ensure we are able to provide the highest coupon values to consumers, many brands are moving to shorter duration coupons.”

Insiders say disrupting the coupon resale market – especially the sale of stolen inserts – is also among the main objectives. “Manufacturers are growing weary of having their inserts and coupons stolen and then sold on the internet and social media,” Brand Technologies president Jane Beauchamp told Coupons in the News. “Shorter expiration dates are an attempt to limit this activity, since the coupons are generally considered void if sold.”

Brand Technologies works on behalf of several coupon-issuing manufacturers to seek out evidence of coupon misuse and stop the offenders, and to investigate large-scale coupon sellers who are suspected of obtaining mass quantities of inserts stolen from printing facilities or distribution centers. “The longer coupons are live, the more susceptible they are to fraud and misredemption,” Beauchamp explained. In addition, “shorter expiration dates make it tougher for insert and coupon sellers to do business.”

Some coupon buyers and sellers have already provided evidence to that effect. “So much for ordering coupons which I’m not even going to get before they expire!” one buyer recently complained online. Sellers are also complaining that they’re getting more requests for refunds, from buyers who didn’t receive their coupons in time to use them. “I’ve never encountered this kind of impatience for inserts,” one seller lamented on Facebook. “I feel like I’m just done. I will no longer offer early P&G I don’t think, because that is my biggest nightmare.”

An examination of the coupon inserts this year and last, shows that P&G may indeed be among resellers’ “biggest nightmares”. This time last year, P&G’s coupon insert contained only two coupons that expired in two weeks or less. In the P&G insert published last week, there were 11.

Some expiration dates are even shorter in the first-of-the-year SmartSource and RedPlum inserts. This time last year, they contained four coupons that expired in one week or less. This past Sunday, that number jumped to 12.

Overall, 39% of this Sunday’s SmartSource and RedPlum coupons expire within the month, up from 22% last year. And the average expiration date is 41 days away, compared to last year’s 44. P&G’s shorter expiration dates are even more pronounced. Last year at this time, P&G’s average expiration date was 33 days. This year, it’s just 24.

So the pressure is on, to use your coupons – or lose them. For those who argue that misusing coupons or buying and selling stolen inserts are “victimless crimes”, try telling that to anyone who’s ever had a coupon expire before they had a chance to use it. If it seems like that’s happening more often lately – the real victim may be you.

Photo by Hobbies on a Budget

14 Comments

  1. This is Bud Miller, Executive Director of the CIC. Although we normally don’t reply to comments, I did feel that it was important to set the record straight on one point: contrary to what Janice stated, the CIC has not suggested that Jane Beauchamp and her company are “not legitimate” or anything of the sort. The CIC welcomes the commitment of anyone who is interested in preserving the integrity of the couponing process and preventing fraud in the redemption of coupons.

    • I have been wrong before and maybe I read it somewhere else and the CIC was quoted, possibly incorrectly. I do apologize. I know there was a write up about the ‘fake company’.

      To clarify your statement Bud is Jane Beauchamp really a company that is hired by companies to monitor coupon misuse? Or is she a volunteer who in her own time works t preserving the integrity of the couponing process and preventing fraud of redemption of coupons?

      I have no problem with people who take on a cause. In fact it is admirable. I do have a problem with someone claiming to be something they are not and give ‘airs’ that they are hired by companies and then send out threatening letters that are basically wasted paper because there was zero truth to them. If she is an organization that works voluntarily she just needs to be honest about it. That is my issue.

  2. I think the best way for companies to protect themselves is to have electronic coupons that limit quantities. It is not any company’s intention to give several free products to a super couponer. Super couponing and hoarding products is the cause to coupon changes.

  3. Jane Beauchimp says:

    if company’s know that the bar code they place on a coupon will scan for non-stated items, why don’t they fix the problem?

  4. Concern Citizen says:

    I do not condone misuse of coupons, however, I feel manufacturers will only find that shorter expiration dates will only back fire on them, and not correct the problem. The only ones it will hurt is the honest couponers. Just like any other problem in the world, it is usually the honest law abiding citizens that pay. We are a two income family, and still have to rely on coupons and sales combined to feed my family. I only buy groceries once a month at a minimum. I only buy brand name products if I have a coupon and my store has a sale on that product. If they don’t, I buy generic. A very large number of families in America are in the same situation. The price of groceries is now so over priced for the quality of the product. Unfortunately shorter expiration dates will only push more people to buy generic and in the end companies will still be losing money because of lost sales.. I think its time for companies to quit wasting time on this and instead find a way to provide a better quality of product for less instead. They are only fighting a losing battle with dishonest people, because they will always find a way cheat and you will never stop them. I think history proves that. You just got to accept that there will always be dishonest people in the world, and it is not right to make the honest ones pay.It is not illegal to save money and it is no different than these companies wanting to save money where they can. I get so tired of people giving couponers a bad rap because of a few bad ones. I am also tired of all the news media dramatizing everything and making it worse than what it really is. Why can’t they report on something news worthy like good Samaritan acts etc. and leave bs like this out of the media all together and let the companies handle it them selves quietly.

  5. I joined a coupon group recently to try and save a little money. I want to help an outreach program but don’t always have extra money myself. Having said that.. I had no idea when I joined what “glitch groups” or “insert sellers” were. My understanding of coupons is that they can not be traded or sold. Hence the sellers would be illegal but yet on facebook these groups are thriving. If I buy two sunday papers I am within my legal rights to use any coupons I receive in them. So what I can buy with those coupons I do. I am trying to do something honest but feel these groups are only making it harder for the ones struggling just to make ends meet. Am I wrong? Arent they in part forcing manufacturers to raise price’s to level out the bottom line?? People were literally chasing down those Star Wars figures priced at 99.00 but glitched at 99 cents… that’s a hell of a loss for any company… don’t they understand the make up is going to come from somewhere???

  6. I love CIN the using Jane Beauencamp as a reliable source should be questioned. She doesn’t even have a real office and she has NOT been hired by any of the insert companies. She is just a fly by night lady trying to get attention. I do not blame CIN but I would look into her a little deeper. She is a fraud.

    • Hi Janice –

      My last name is spelled: Beauchamp for future reference.

      I guarantee you that I am 100% legitimate and a credible source for quotes. Why in the world would you imply otherwise? I’m not sure where you got your intel regarding my legitimacy? Due to the nature of our work, we aren’t immediately discover-able online.

      Instead of taking the time to post such comments about me and the work we do at Brand Technologies (COMPANY DESCRIPTION: an international fraud and risk mitigation company that performs investigations and remediation primarily for the consumer packaged goods industry. The company’s proprietary web-crawling software, combined with the multi-national grass roots sleuthing skills of the investigative team has resulted in a proven combination that can discover, preserve and analyze both digital and hard copy counterfeits. Brand Technologies collaborates with law enforcement and retail loss prevention teams to help prosecute fraudsters. The continual rise in digital and social media platforms – main stream as well as the Dark Net, makes the spread of coupon fraud more prolific than ever. Brand Technologies performs risk mitigation for all types of situations: from Fortune 50 companies to small co-op ownership groups)…… perhaps you should place more focus on the content of the article above?

      In fact, it should be the bigger focus in all couponer’s minds. Large scale coupon insert sales/diversion, glitch groups, and fraudsters are to blame, not me.

      If you’d like to talk more about the subject, feel free to email me at: jbeauchamp@brand-tec.com or call me at 888-642-4250 x 710.

      • As I said before you are not legitimate. The CIC says so. That’s a lot of words for a ‘grass roots company that scours the internet.’ Anyone can do that. Have you actually been paid for your work bu any major retailer or company that has issued coupons? Or do you comb the internet and turn in what you find to companies on a VOLUNTEER basis? There was a big write up about you and your letters to coupon sellers that basically said your letter was a lot of words and no bite.

        It is NOT illegal to sell coupons Even the CIC admits that. Whether they are still valid after they have been sold is another story and it is up to the coupon issuers to deal with that. As of now NO coupon seller has been arrested, fined or otherwise penalized for SELLING coupons or inserts…wait for it…however some have been arrested, fined and otherwise penalized for STEALING inserts. The citations have been for THEFT. The same charges would apply if they had stolen the inserts and NOT sold them.

        Do you have PAID employees that work more then 10 hours a week and are paid for it? No you do not. Now the CIC has done some things I don’t approve however they are legitimate. They are truly used by companies to combat coupon fraud hence their every changing list of counterfeit coupons, classes, seminars and use of REAL office space not a PO box.

        Janice

        • Janice –

          As I said in my previous post, I am legitimate, our company is legitimate and I highly doubt that the CIC would say such a thing about Brand Technologies. Our company has attended CIC Summits, and some of our clients are CIC members!

          We don’t outwardly advertise our client base, nor do we have brick/mortar offices – we are entirely internet/cloud based. We do behind the scenes work and occasionally speak out on behalf of our clients on issues affecting their coupon promotions – which is why we were quoted in the article above.

          Again, I welcome a phone call to discuss. Feel free to call me any time – 888-642-4250 x 710.

          • Exactly. You are a volunteer group that wants attention and your ‘clients’ have not out rightly hired you.

            Read through the CIC articles. You will see the write about you.

    • I agree Janice

  7. Creola Lanier says:

    Please let me know

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