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Reader Mail: Are Photocopies of Coupons Legal?

Q: "My question is about expired coupons. One of the stores in my area will take them. But will the store get reimbursed for these, too, or are they just eating the loss when they accept expired coupons?"

A: When a store gets ready to redeem coupons, it gathers all of the coupons that customer have submitted, packages them up and submits them to a coupon clearinghouse. The clearinghouse weeds out expired coupons and fraudulent, copied coupons. After that, the clearinghouse invoices to the manufacturer for the value of all of the coupons received during that period. At that point, the manufacturer pays the store back for the coupons that have been redeemed.

Depending on when the store submits its coupons to the clearinghouse, some expired coupons may still be valid for reimbursement. But if you're using coupons that are several years old, the store is definitely "eating" the loss on those coupons.

So why do some stores do it? It gives shoppers an incentive to choose that store over its competition. Accepting expired coupons may give them an edge over a store in the same market that does not accept them.

(c) CTW Features

Jill Cataldo, a coupon-workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her Web site, www.super-couponing.com. E-mail your couponing coups and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.

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