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We’ve talked before about the ethics of couponing, but let’s discuss it again. This time, we’ll focus on what I call intentional misstatements. An intentional misstatement is providing information that is not 100% accurate about yourself, your household, or your demographic to get in on a great deal or offer.
Why are we tempted in this area? Many deals, offers and coupons are limited to target markets and sometimes we aren’t in that target market. Target markets could be a specific zip code or geographic area, first time customers, members of an organization or people with specific likes/dislikes. Inevitably, someone cracks the code, figures out a magic set of answers, numbers or preferences to input into the system. When these magic answers or numbers are inputted, you suddenly qualify as part of a target market, when in reality you used information that is not accurate about yourself.
A few examples of what this could include are:
— A manufacturer is running a coupon campaign for a specific geographic location. You live outside that location, but learn that if you enter a different zip code you can get in on it.
— A company is giving coupons in varying amounts based on the answers you provide in a survey. You answer the survey questions so that you get a higher-value coupon, whether your responses really reflect your thoughts or not.
— A warehouse club is giving free samples to its members. You’re not one, but you know of a fake number you can enter to bypass the system.
— First time customers to a photo site get a free gift. You already have an account, but register again using a second email address to get in on it.
When I started on my personal journey to debt freedom and reducing expense, I was faced with these and many other temptations. I had to stop, think about the choices I was facing and establish my own ethical standard. I decided years ago not to tell even a white lie to get a discount or something free. When I started Pocket Your Dollars I decided not to write posts that encourages others to tell a white lie.
I believe that honesty always pays. Yep, I am not the target audience for every deal out there and I’m okay with that. It gives others a chance to get a freebie or a deal and I’ve learned – the next deal always comes. I might just have to wait my turn.
Your turn: What do you think about this? Even if we disagree, and I welcome dissenting opinions, I request that we communicate respectfully within the comments.