TLC's Extreme Couponing returns for a new season... with more counterfeit coupons?

Georgia-Pacific has already confirmed that this coupon is counterfeit.
So why are Extreme Coupon shoppers still using it?

Extreme Couponing is back again. If you've missed the past media coverage regarding fraud on the show, to date manufacturers have confirmed that over 230 counterfeit coupons were used on past seasons of Extreme Couponing, including free-product coupons for Tide laundry detergent and Quilted Northern bath tissue.

Earlier this month, Matt Sharp, executive producer of TLC's Extreme Couponing, told the Chicago Tribune that the show did not plan any changes for the new season, despite the continued allegations of coupon fraud.

It appears he's a man of his word.

Tonight, Season 3 of Extreme Couponing premiered on TLC... and two of the shoppers bought large quantities of Quilted Northern. One shopper also used several Hefty coupons currently listed on the Coupon Information Corporation's list of known counterfeit coupons. And again, the coupons used were visible on screen.

Cole Ledford of Lebanon, Ohio, flashed his stack of coupons in preparation for his trip. While the Quilted Northern coupons were only on the screen for a few seconds, the purple-and-green wave design was clearly visible to anyone familiar with this counterfeit coupon:

Cole took eight or nine 12-roll packages of Quilted Northern to the register:

And, his coupons were scanned and accepted:

Cole also used several free coupons for Hefty products:

But the problem is that this Hefty coupon has been on the Coupon Information Center's list of known counterfeits since March of this year. The CIC's alert reads, "Retailers should not accept this coupon under any circumstance."

Yet, the store scanned them anyway...

... and Cole got the Hefty bags free too.


Angelique Campbell of Washington also bought a lot of Quilted Northern in the same episode:

How much?

768 rolls -- the equivalent of 64 12-packs of Quilted Northern. Very few of Angelique's coupons were shown clearly as they were scanned, but her end balance at Kmart?

It seems logical to conclude that free Quilted Northern coupons may have been used here too.

How long is TLC going to continue passing "Extreme Couponing" off as a "reality" show?

And where are the shoppers on the show getting counterfeit coupons from? I'd love to know, and so would other viewers. The blogosphere's erupting with posts from other coupon bloggers crying foul about last night's episode. Some bloggers are trying to determine the source of these counterfeits. One received a statement from Georgia-Pacific that read in part, " ...we are trying to determine the source of the coupons. We typically do not print coupons with redemption values that high, and we do not have any coupons of that type currently."

Last night, Angelique Campbell blogged about her Extreme Couponing trip, addressing where her coupons came from. She wrote, "I also for the first time did have to order some coupons from a clipping service (which is something I do not normally do and try to prevent)."

But had she not bought coupons online, she would have completely avoided the risk of ending up with counterfeits.

Kmart is a sponsor of the show this season -- are they comfortable absorbing the loss of any counterfeit coupons that shoppers use during episodes filmed at their stores? As a sponsor, do they allow or condone counterfeit coupon usage on the show? On May 25th, I reached out to Tom Aiello, Sears Holdings' media contact asking these questions -- ironically, prior to the new season's premiere. I have not yet received a response.

I also reached out via Facebook and email tonight to Cole and Angelique, and I would be happy to speak with either of them regarding their Extreme Couponing experiences and where they obtained these coupons.



UPDATE: 10:37AM CST: Angelique responded to my email asking where she obtained her free Quilted Northern coupons. She apologized for not being able to speak on the phone as her baby is due this week.


Her email states, "I am appalled to hear that there is a possibility those coupons could have been counterfeit...I actually never use clipping services except for this episode of Extreme Couponing as I do not like to endorse paying for coupons, however I resorted to it because of my pregnancy! I have contacted someone from "the coupon information center" to find out what the deal is and to help them in anyway find whoever could have produced these counterfeit coupons."

Angelique has continued responding in the comments below this article: "I don't typically buy coupons...and decided to try it out when I realized I just didn't have enough or even the proper coupons I would need to make a trip work since I had been SOOOOO sick through my pregnancy and not really couponed for months!"


UPDATE: 2:45PM CST: Tom Aiello of Sears Holdings (parent company of Kmart) responded to my emails. I wrote asking for a statement about Kmart sponsoring a show that has featured counterfeiting and coupon fraud.


He responded, "We find that so many of our customers are always looking for great deals, and believe Extreme Couponing is another fun way to engage our loyal customers- just one of the many ways we engage our customers everyday with great value."

(Kmart considers sponsoring episodes of a show that promotes counterfeit coupon usage a "fun way to engage loyal customers?" A cut-and-paste feel-good PR statement doesn't exactly apply to a situation where criminal acts are involved.)


Unfamiliar with the counterfeit coupons and coupon fraud on TLC's "Extreme Couponing? Read more here:

In the media:

Images from TLC's "Extreme Couponing" used under Creative Commons license.



clipping services NOT illegal

Sorry appear to harp on this, I just found this article while looking for something else. You really need to be more honest with your bloggers about the legality of coupon clipping services. If you feel they are unethical, or not a business you wish to support then please stand by that and I will respect you but don't mislead, it puts your credibility and motives into question.

Phoenix counterfeit coupon ring

Again - especially in light of the enormous counterfeit coupon bust this past week, this argument doesn't hold water. I do feel they're unethical, do not wish to support them, and don't feel I'm misleading anyone or losing any credibility whatsoever when I recommend people avoid purchasing coupons online. My motivation is to help people save money, not lose money by paying money for coupons that they do not know the origin, source, or validity of -- and possibly put themselves at risk if they purchase and use counterfeits.

This counterfeiting ring had over $25 million worth of counterfeit coupons on the premises when it was busted. At this point we have no way of knowing how many other sites were selling their coupons, or still might be. (Their coupons are still all over Ebay as I write this.) You nearly remove the risk of encountering a counterfeit coupon if you don't buy coupons online.

I'm sure the clipping services out there will react with statements like "but OUR coupons are real." Keep in mind that one of the sites that was busted had this disclaimer too to assure buyers their coupons were "real":

All of these coupons are original and have been obtained directly from each respective manufacturer.

When dealing with coupons, it is useful to know there are crooks making fakes of almost all coupons. The biggest culprit of spreading fakes is eBay.

If too many fakes begin to circulate, the manufacturer alerts the stores and tells them they are all fakes. They can't expect the stores to know what is real or not, so they tell them not to take any. This seems to occur mostly at the "big-box stores" like Walmart, PetSmart and PetCo, so they are on more often on high alert. Smaller chain and independent stores seem to take the coupons with no problem.

If you are ever told your coupons are fakes, be prepared to stand your ground. Tell the store personnel your coupons come directly from the manufacturer, and are 100% legitimate. Never let them intimidate or harass you, or take your coupons from you. They have no right and are probably on a little power trip of their own.

In short, don't buy your fakes on Ebay. Buy them from us.

How about not buying coupons at all.

Clipping service DO NOT SELL FAKE COUPONS!!

Reading through the comments and listening to Jill's constant attack of clipping services prompts me to say something.

They got the fake coupons from EBAY...not reputable clipping services!!!!!!!

Clipping services buy the papers and pull the inserts out. Then they sort them, then they cut them then they organize them and then they put them up on their website (which they have to maintain) They pay taxes, state (if applicable) and federal. It is a SERVICE. An illegal business can not get a business license!!!!!!!

The terms on the coupons are just that...contractual terms. The company authorizes you to use this coupon under these conditions. AND EVEN THAT is not adequate. In order for a 'contract' to be valid contractual terms must be spelled out plainly and agreed upon by both parties. The terms on the coupons are not very clear, nor or they specific enough. Coupon clearing houses can REFUSE COUPONS they feel were not redeemed properly ONLY because the stores have a separate contract with the terms spelled out clearly agreed and SIGNED by both parties making it binding. Violation of the contract will not cause either party to be arrested. It's a contract not a legislative law. The coupon itself says plainly 'redeem send to this address and we'll pay 8 cents' no if ands or buts. However in order for a large store to manage coupons they must redeem through a clearinghouse, and the clearinghouse requires them to sign the separate contract with them.

I am all for exposing coupon fraud, what I am not for is dishonestly. Coupon clipping services ARE NOT ILLEGAL...for pete's sake don't you think there would be government raids on them if they were??? If they were doing anything that violated the terms of the coupon, um those big companies have big lawyers they could take them to court and have them ordered to close down. (Again not arrested, but taken to court) No clipping service out there is big enough to take them on. It would be nothing for them to shut down clipping services if they were doing ANYTHING wrong!!!!

The only thing they were able to stop was newspapers giving their extras (or selling them) to people/clipping services because the newspaper and the insert companies ENTERED INTO A SPECIFIC, legally binding CONTRACT about how to handle the leftovers (dispose of them)and the newspapers violated the contract by selling them. And all the insert companies could do is warn them to stop or they will take their inserts out of those papers and sue for damages from the broken contract.

Jill, I love you site, I love that you expose fake coupons and TLC's irresponsibility. However, you have a PERSONAL vendetta against clipping services and you are lumping them together with fraudulent coupons sold on Ebay to further your agenda and you are being dishonest about and dramatizing clipping services. It's morally wrong.

A clipping service is a valid business. It is also a huge help to those who do not have time to collect, clip, sort and then find when a sale come out their coupons. They are wonderful for our elderly community who do to declining health can't or it's to difficult for them to do all this work. The single Mom working full time raising little ones does not have a lot of extra time. In the end since you are just getting the coupons you use it costs the same as getting multiple papers or less. (overall)

Now you expect everyone to respond to your stuff, please respond to mine. Please, have your crew go out and look at every clipping site and see if you can find ONE fraudulent coupon!!! I KNOW you can't. So please make clear the difference between Ebay and clipping services.

And for the record most people who sell coupons on Ebay are honest. OH and that's a good. On Ebay per their rules you are actually selling the coupon, not the service. None of these big companies have stopped them, with a lawsuit or anything because IT'S NOT breaking any contracts or ILLEGAL. There are no law statutes about coupons!!!

The trouble is...

There is NO way for the consumer to know who's selling supposedly-legitimate coupons, and who isn't. Today's enormous bust of a criminal counterfeit coupon ring is evidence of that:

>> An illegal business can not get a business license!!!!!!!

Any business can get a business license. Licensing my business costs me $10 per year for my local certificate and $250/year for my LLC corporate filing. Simply having a license is not an indicator of the validity of a business.

>> Please, have your crew go out and look at every clipping site and see if you can find ONE fraudulent coupon!!! I KNOW you can't. <<

As for having my "crew" go out and look at "every clipping site" -- all of these appear to be selling questionable coupons, in addition to SavvyShopperSite, as their for-sale lists look remarkably similar:

It will be interesting to see how many of them continue selling counterfeits now that SavvyShopperSite has been busted.

I continue to stand by my recommendation that no one should purchase coupons online.

coupons

yeah right
they buy thousands of papers.???
i would have to see that.

Response

I don't have a vendetta against clipping services, but I am greatly disturbed by fraud. And, while I would like to believe that the majority of the clipping services are only selling coupons from the inserts, some are not. I have seen well-known services offering peelies and tearpads too (so where do they get them? And where -do- their inserts come from? NewsAmerica and Valassis have severe penalties for newspapers supplying services with excess inserts.)

It's a difficult place to be put in asking me to link to clipping services offering fraudulent coupons, because I won't post links to clipping services here. But I am aware of one coupon site that appears legit from the front page, yet there's another page on their site selling free coupons. The page with the "good stuff" is not linked from the site's homepage. A reader shared the link with me asking if the free coupons on the hidden page are legitimate. Without buying them, I would not know, but they look like a lot of the same frees you find on Ebay.

The trouble is - if there is one site doing this, how many others are? It's possible to run a site that appears legit on the surface, but there's more going on behind the scenes. What if you've bought from a seemingly-legit site, and one day you're invited to a new page offering better things? You'd probably continue to trust the site.

Here's a post where someone posted a link to another clipping site offering both regular insert coupons and free-product coupons. It's not something I want to promote or point people in the direction of. The fact remains, if you don't buy coupons online, you nearly eliminate the risk of encountering counterfeit coupons.

As far as clipping services being "legitimate businesses," there is at least one case I'm aware of where the operator was prosecuted under a mail fraud statute. She operated a clipping service and also sold rebate forms -- at the time of her arrest, she'd made over $500,000. There was a civil forfeiture proceeding in which the government also seized her house, her car, and her bank accounts, and she went to jail for almost two years for defrauding manufacturers. Google Ellen Biles if you want to learn more about that case.
.
Lastly, our federal government also considers clipping services to be scams. Not just the industry or the CIC, but the FTC. I wasn't even aware when I first started couponing that the FTC had addressed the issue of coupon clipping services, but the Federal Trade Commission has an entire page on their website labeling them scams. And, as someone who teaches beginners to coupon and embraces the ethics of what we do, as a best-practices objective, I have to advise people not put themselves at risk by buying coupons online -- from Ebay or anywhere else.

Eileen Biles....

Here is the link for the article on Eileen Biles http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=ellen%20biles%20mail%20fraud&sour...

...she ABSOLUTELY was NOT convicted of a coupon clipping type service. She defrauded rebates by setting up numerous PO boxes and fake receipts THEN she sold the 'package' to people for 50% of the rebate, including the fake receipts. Yes that is illegal, that is blatant ILLEGAL fraud and has NOTHING to do with coupon clipping services or even couponing to be honest.

The 'link' for the clipping site selling supposed fake coupons has been removed. There is no verifying that. However to answer your scenerio that could be any site selling anything on the internet. They can look legit but not be. Common sense would prevail. But to say because there are a few (and as far as coupon clipping services go VERY few IF ANY) you should not use them is really quite extreme!

The other 'case' you bring up about the FTC another reader has answered. It has to do with work at home 'get rich' schemes promising tons of money if you invest in them.

"Quote-A related scam centers on coupon clipping. Promoters make overblown promises about the income or profit potential for consumers working at home clipping coupons. These claims certainly sound appealing, but they are unsubstantiated at best and bold lies at worst. Making money—particularly "hundreds per week" and "thousands per month"—isn’t that easy. Success generally requires hard work."

The other part does have something to do with coupon clipping but it's about a get rich quick type scheme, not a licensed business operating in 1 location with 1 owner.

"quote-Sometimes, fraudulent promoters use coupons clipped by consumers to fill orders from other consumers who redeem the coupon certificates. Many manufacturers have policies that do not allow coupons to be transferred. That is, the coupons that are being sold may not be redeemed by the retailer or manufacturer."

Again, like I said in the earlier post...it is not ILLEGAL it's a POLICY. Big difference. Coupon clipping services are technically selling their time, however if they are straight up selling coupons the worse that could happen is the manufacturer could deny reimbursement and that would entail proving where the coupon was bought, a long process that isn't likely. But, coupon clipping services do protect the consumer by selling their time, not the coupon. A great comparison is people who clean homes for a living. They are not selling the cleaners, they are selling their time to use the cleaners in your home. If they buy their cleaners using a P&G coupon, are they guilty of reselling? NO...(P&G states 'coupon not authorized if purchasing items for resale)

And then the end of the article specifically tells what to do about coupon scams-notice it is all about a third party ripping someone off, not coupon clipping services started, owned and operated by individuals.

"Quote" Where to Complain

If you have been or are involved in a coupon certificate or coupon clipping business opportunity that isn’t making good on its promises, contact the company and ask for a refund. Let the company know you plan to notify officials about your experience. If you can’t resolve the dispute with the company, you may want to turn to one of these organizations for help:

The advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad. The manager should be interested in the problems you’ve had with the company.
Your local Postmaster. The US Postal Service investigates fraudulent mail practices.
The Attorney General’s Office in your state or the state where the company is located.

I say this with respect Jill, you don't like fraud or deceit but using these 2 cases to build your point is rather deceitful. They are worlds apart, they have nothing to do with coupon clipping COMPANIES and yet you put them in this article and someone without 'googling' the info is misled. And that is why I think you have a vendetta against coupon clipping services. You use anything, even if it in reality can not be linked to tear them down.

They are a legitimate business. Just like any other business on the internet, or heck even walk in shops you need to use common sense. If you can't find a 'free coupon' in the database, it's probably counterfeit.

As for tear pads and peelies, unless there is a sign limiting them there is no LAW against taking as many as you want. That is a STORE issue on whether or not they consider it theft. HOWEVER I do agree that it is unfair to other customers visiting the store to take those. There are maybe 3 clipping services that deal with those for that very reason.

Onto the question of where do they get their inserts. If they are a legitimate tax paying business I can GUARANTEE they are getting their inserts legitimately, by buying papers or by buying from authorized re sellers who live else where.

How can I guarantee that? TAXES. If they are purchasing the inserts in any way, they need the tax write off, they aren't going to use someone who steals them or a 'wink wink' payment arrangement with some newspaper manager. They need to show where they got their inserts on their tax returns.

ALSO coupon clipping services only stay in business if they have the good coupons. Any newspaper that would give away thousands, or even hundreds of inserts is going to be a small town paper. No large paper anywhere in the US is going to give away inserts. Especially since Red Plum and Smart Source have cracked down on that.

Whole coupon Inserts (a business that sells whole inserts) was contacted by NewsAmerica (Smart Source) and asked where she got her inserts. She told them and since she purchased them they said 'Ok you are fine then'. Look on her Facebook. You need to go back aways, it was close to a year ago.

Coupons by DeDe was indeed getting left overs from a newspaper and selling the whole inserts. NewsAmerica and Red Plum (Vlassis sp?) put a stop to it, by doing exactly what I said in previous post. Threatening to pull the inserts from the paper and sue for breach of contract. Her clipped coupons she continues to purchase the whole paper. (The business sense behind this is simple-you make a LOT more money on clipped then you do whole inserts-her whole inserts were leftovers and bought very cheap, but when they said she had to pay full price it made no financial sense to sell whole inserts, there was no profit)

The FACT is Coupon Clipping services/businesses are legitimate. To lump them in with Eileen Biles and the FTC situation you are talking about is like lumping a Ford Dealership with a car theft/reselling ring. They are not anywhere near similar. And both require the consumer to use common sense!!!!!

I wish you would take a more realistic (and honest) stand on coupon clipping services. Rather then going to histrionic extremes just tell people you don't in any way endorse using their services for PERSONAL reasons,without exaggerating their legality. They are not ILLEGAL and 99% of them are very legitimate, honest and don't sell counterfeit coupons.

You did an expose on Jaime Kirlew (sp?) Wouldn't it be a histrionic and deceitful if someone used her as an example on why you should not follow ANY coupon blogs. 'Oh they can be dishonest and lead you to believe fraudulent activity is perfectly OK. They don't teach you the truth about couponing rather they show you how to defraud the stores and the manufacturer's' What you say about coupon clipping services is exactly that type of scenario. It's to far, and dishonest.

FTC and coupon sales

The scams listed on the link are concerning pay to clip schemes. IE, the promoter tells folks to clip coupons, send em on over, and they will be paid. I dont think that is the type of this that many coupon clipping sales sites are offering.

People in rural areas often really have no other way to get a good supply of coupons other than to print or to purchase them. Their newspapers often dont carry the selection of inserts, and it can be difficult to get a sunday paper.

Im not a fan of coupon clipping services either, and I think it is all shaky legal ground. I think that anyone who operates a coupon clipping service should not be selling free item coupons, and should disclose their sources - ie "we buy however many copies of the (name the papers) and my aunts and uncles and cousins whom I reckon by the dozens send me their extras".

coupons

i agree if they are doing it legally they should have not problem stating their scources.
I am aware that papers in some areas are cheaper than others but just doesn't smell right to me.

TLC couponing show.

I use couponing to help support my family. I don't get HUGE savings but it helps. I am tired of the looks some people give me and I have even been asked if I was an extreme couponer like on TV, because I do have a coupon binder. I have the binder because not all sale items are advertised. This show gives anyone that uses coupons a bad name.

If the show wants to be helpful they should teach people how to do it the right way. This show just discourages people because they can't match what they see.

There are enough programs on Tv that show people behaving badly, we don't need another one.

Cole bought his coupons online too!

Here is a news report from 2 days ago in his home state. It says "He said he watched the show and learned how to save with online clipping services."

Too bad they are not REAL COUPONS!!! When are people going to learn? When is TLC going to step up and acknowledge all the fraud!

[Note: Edited by Jill to fix video link. Thanks for finding this.]

Criminal activity

Our earlier complaints to the FCC were unheeded. Now with this new evidence that the production company is deliberately encouraging minors to use coupons that they know are counterfeit, I wonder if we can get some action.

I wish they would prosecute someone about this like in the days of the game show scandals and payola. It mattered then that the public airwaves were being used to promote fraudulent and illegal activity. I think this is far worse than fixing a game show.

I agree

I was very disappointed that the FCC took no action. Several of my readers received replies noting that this "didn't fall into their jurisdiction." Well, then whose does it fall into?

I mean, if these people were using counterfeit dollar bills, there would have been some consequence by now... you'd think?

And this is why...

... some of the responsibility for the fake coupons has got to fall back on the production company and TLC. This news report is stating that Cole got into couponing because he watched the show, then looked into where people were getting their coupons from online.

The show is teaching people how to beat and cheat the system. People see it, think it's real, and then find that in order to have those kinds of trips, you've also got to have those kinds of coupons.

This is why I refuse to even

This is why I refuse to even watch the show, ratings go down, show goes off the air :D

TLC IS responsible

Considering that the counterfeit Northern coupons are now VERY familiar after last season, and the fact that Joel's family had to pay back the California store, you would think that the producers of EC and TLC would have sufficient memory spans to notice that, duh, those are the same coupons that caused all the trouble last year....

They claim no responsibility and hang it on the couponers - but this has been going on for a while with them and they DO have responsibility. How do so many of us know those coupons are fake? Why, we checked it out after last season. So every couponer who reads blogs and news stories knows that those coupons were fake and the store needed to be reimbursed. However, the people in charge of EC, TLC, and Discovery Communications LLC obviously dont coupon because they clearly think it is a freak show. They're so busy doing important media savvy things, that they just cannot take time to PROOFREAD THEIR OWN WORK and notice that the very same counterfeit coupons that got them in trouble before are being used and shown again.

TLC is responsible for the content of the show. It can now be demonstrated that they DELIBERATELY are encouraging stealing. And they think their audience is that stupid.

Hmmm

Do you think copying and pasting your word for word communication with the woman is right? I don't. It sounds like you are directly attacking her, which I also don't think is right. Especially with the pictures.

So I guess I'm wondering, are you a person who instructs people how to save money with coupons, or do you just like trying to expose people? I'm not sure what your motives are, but you kind of sound like a 'tattle-tale'.

My advice to you is to reconsider how your portraying others and in exactly what light you are portraying them in. I have a hard time respecting people who take it upon themselves to be finger-pointers, when they are in no position to do so. There is fraud EVERYWHERE, which you could simply warn people in your coupon world without looking like you are directly attacking another person. I'm just sorry that Angelique felt like she had to explain herself to you. Because really, who are you?

Really, who are you?

Jill is the only blogger and newspaper columnist who is breaking this story and consistently covering it. And she has her facts straight and her sources disclosed.

That's who she is.

Who are you?

Not attacking at all...

Mandy, I copied and pasted what Angelique herself wrote in the Facebook comments below this article - they are her words.

As far as attacking, I'm not sure how posting screenshots of the episode, along with the information about the known history of these coupons, is an "attack." I am presenting the facts and showing exactly what was aired on TV. Everyone in the episode consented to be filmed and broadcast on television, and millions of people saw these identical scenes when the show aired on Monday.

I have always invited the Extreme Couponing participants to speak and share their sides of the story -- Angelique did. She shared that she purchased these coupons online and did not know their origins. I would welcome Cole to tell his side of the story too, just as I have also reached out to Joel Aguilar and Chris Duff to ask if they would like to speak about the counterfeit coupons they used as well. Why do you feel I treated Angelique any differently than I treated Cole, or any of the other Extreme Couponing participants I've written about in articles dating back more than eighteen months? Many of those articles contain screenshots too - screenshots from a show they again consented to be filmed on and appear on television for. I am not exposing anything that didn't already air on television, or that anyone else couldn't uncover themselves with the same knowledge and diligence.

As far as who I am -- I'm a writer. I am a syndicated columnist writing about consumer issues related to couponing. For nearly four years, my column has run in over 150 newspapers around the country to a weekly audience of more than 20 million. I am a consumer reporter, an advocate of ethical coupon use, and yes, an educator. Counterfeit coupons usage affects everyone, and it's an issue I write about often -- I've written eight other posts this month alone related to counterfeit coupon use.

I have always tried to simply present the facts and allow the story to tell itself. The fact is, counterfeit coupons were used on the show again. It's an issue many people feel passionate about, as do I. Another reader below posted exactly the opposite sentiment to yours: "I want to thank you Jill, I find your blog informational in no way derrogiatory toward the individuals involved. You have a way of stating the problem without presenting each couponer as a horrible person, educate versus ostracize, thank you."

Being that you are only concerned with Angelique's inclusion in this story and not Cole's, I would gather that you have a personal relationship or friendship with her. It's a completely natural reaction to want to defend the people we care about. But counterfeit coupon usage is a crime. Stories like this help raise awareness to everyone that these counterfeit coupons are out there, they're ridiculously easy to find -- and they should not be used by anyone.

Sorry to disappoint, Jill. I

Sorry to disappoint, Jill. I do not know the woman or the man at all. Ahh, the presumption! My response was simply because you posted pictures with only HER full face in it, and email correspondence with only HER. I think that is what you referred to in your response as a 'completely natural reaction'.

I stand firmly behind what I said, regardless if you are a 'writer' or not. I also don't care if others posted 'exactly the opposite sentiment' to my post. I prefer not to conform and feel strongly that you should be careful the people you chose to write about and in what context. Your highlighting does not feel innocent. I would have respected your writing more had you not used names and simply referred to an episode of the show, or posted full face pictures or copied and pasted direct correspondence.

Without knowing you, without knowing her, I found it very offensive and questionable. Something to consider since I am a regular person who stumbled upon your website through a posted link to this article in Facebook.

You know, I get what you're saying and honestly,

do not completely disagree with you. Many are saying don't watch the show, ratings disappear, show goes away. Well, not as long as publicity is generated on coupon forums and social networks. Ever hear of 'no such thing as bad publicity'? I believe that. Look at Dom's ... they waited it out, blame and frustration at other stores mounted and now more and more people are returning to shop there. Boycott ... pffftttt. No such thing.

I find myself skipping over these types of posts -- they are getting too tabloid in style ... you know, BREAKING NEWS and all. Or evangelistic if you will, stern podium thumping and animated floor pacing while spouting FRAUD, THEFT, DISHONESTY. While it's disturbing that the couponing landscape is changing daily, I can't help but think it's not only this show that's affecting things negatively. These forums existed long before the tv show. It's because of these forums and the shoppers they created that the tv show came to be. If one chooses, these forums could be blamed for creating the monsters, the shelf-clearers, the hoarders, the garage-salers, flea marketers, etc. And what about the manufacturers themselves? Now they're crying BECAUSE people are redeeming coupons ... go figure. And, no, I'm not talking about the counterfeit ones. Heck, don't they COUNT on the vast majority not using coupons? Disgusting also.

I don't like much of what I see either. However, I'm not certain I'm all for the constant, never ending drama generation. I get that without it, newspapers, tv shows, radio stations, etc. might not be as interested in the speaker. This is what news is - a big ol' circus tent with the barker at the entrance.

It is, as I've said before, each site owner's right and obligation to stay true to his/her ownership. It is also within each of us to pursue what is right for us.

Having taken another look at why I'm feeling irritated and starting to experience disinterest, I find that, truthfully, it's not just the tv show that is getting to be too much, sad as I am to admit it. Constant harping tends to turn me off.

And, for the record, I'm not much of a fan of picture/name posting either. And, it really means nary one whit that the person responded or they were on national television or ... whatever. It reeks of sensationalism ... the same shock value perpetuated in every other form of media with an agenda.

I understand.

Truly, I wish that the new season had focused on legitimate trips with correct coupon usage -- heck, throw in some instructional info to teach people something that can help them out. I could have written "Finally, they're headed in a better direction," and that would be that.

But it's very, very hard for me to ignore the fraud, especially with the Northern coupon, which is so well-known. I was getting email from readers as soon as the show ended with lists of the coupons they saw, lists of the advertisers who sponsored Monday's show asking if I would call for a public boycott (which I have not called for, but several people emailed detailed lists of the sponsors from various parts of the country) - and on, and on. I'm sure they write to me because I've always championed the ethics of what we do, my blog and column are well-read, and I do react when I see things like counterfeiting glorified on TV.

In essence, I'm a coupon reporter. If I were a sports reporter, and the Super Bowl took place, and I didn't cover it... what kind of a reporter would I be? The production company has called this the "Super Bowl of Couponing," making it difficult to ignore.

By midnight Monday, I had more than thirty emails and Facebook messages saying "when are you going to write about tonight's episode? Someone needs to do something!" So I stayed up, grabbed screenshots from the midnight replay, and I wrote.

I suppose the best advice I can give is to skip the EC posts if they don't interest you and focus on the other industry news here, educational content, couponing stories in the media, and of course... Monday's Deals. :) I have tried to be as factual and concise as I can be in presenting what was depicted on the show without sensationalizing. As far as including images -- it's a cliche, but a photo is still worth a thousand words.

regular person

You may be a regular person but Angelique has been on the show at least once before too. The fraud is so known about, anyone going on the show again after all the counterfeitting news should know what they do will be watched close. It's funny you are upset about pictures from an episode running all week on TV. Jill does the right thing letting the people on the show respond. I think it's funny you're mad that Jill offered to post replies from the people on the show but you're not mad about people using more counterfeit coupons now, going over 3 different seasons. That is what most of us are upset about!

Again...

The screenshots were chosen to show the products and coupons that were being purchased. There are twice as many screenshots of Cole's trip posted, yet Angelique's concern you more. The story originally went up early Tuesday morning with no comments from either Cole, Angelique, or Kmart's PR department. Throughout the day, as I heard back from them, I updated the post with Angelique's and Kmart's comments.

Cole has yet to respond, but Angelique was the first to. When she did, I added comments to the story - text that she herself wrote on this blog and chose to write herself.

It would be impossible to refer to activity taking place on the show without showing screenshots -- the images are the evidence supporting the story. If someone read a story saying "More products were bought with counterfeit coupons" with no proof, the first reaction would be "Where's the proof?"

In past seasons, I've posted stories with similar formats, showing counterfeit coupons used and the shoppers' trips that they were used in:

- Confirmed: 34 counterfeit coupons used on Extreme Couponing
- Confirmed: 200 more counterfeit coupons used on Extreme Couponing
- Coupon fraud on Extreme Couponing

Again -- all of these people chose to go on television to a much larger audience than this blog likely reaches. The episode is viewable right now on Amazon Instant Video. Anything they've done on camera is arguably open to scrutiny. I would be remiss as a writer if I did not allow the people involved to tell their side of the story, or failed to update this story as new information came in.

I've been waiting on this post

Jill I was wondering when they started Angelique's segment did you catch the stack of Publix store coupons that she was sorting. It struck me as odd if she lives in Washington state why she would need Publix coupons and where did she get them from and where she could use them. Publix is located in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee

I did see the Publix coupons.

I have no idea why they would be shown though, unless it was the show using b-roll footage of her flipping through coupons in general. I don't think Kmart takes competitor coupons. (If they do, we weren't shown that.)

Publix

Its possible that the Publix coupons were manufacturer coupons with the brand name. However, publix has so many store coupons, its pretty unlikely.

It was the yellow advantage

It was the yellow advantage flyer. Which are store coupons not manufacturer coupons

Couponing - the new shoplifting

I'm amazed that this is allowed. As stated previously, this is FRAUD, and it's punishable fraud! It also has turned the couponing world on its side, with the few bad apples tainting the bunch. For the legitimate couponers out there, it makes it very challenging when you go into a store that is leary already and they are making your life a miserable H#LL because you have coupons...we have become "Those People".

Truly wish this is one show that would be round filed!!!

disgusting

Why cant anyone do anything about this train wreck!! there were alot of other frees that seem suspect to me, $3.50 off valasic pickles $5 off clorox Wipes free bags of doritos and you should look more & find more fakes, you know they didn't stop at just 2 kinds! Nothiing ever happens to these people so keep looking Jill

How sad

TLC could have a chance to teach people the right way to use coupons. We're supposed to believe after last year and all the fake Quilted Northen nobody at all on the show's staff thought hey these people are buying a whole lot of the same brand of toilet paper someone on our show got busted for counterfeits. And this guys coupons look the same as that guys, and the company says they have no free coupons out at all for this year so if anyone has any of them, they are fake. And on and on, and everybody turned a blind eye & said who cares just let them go for it? Anything in the name of ratings.

Kmart should be ashamed to be a part of this too. The rest of us have Shop Your Way doubles, have to buy $25 worth of things to double only 5 coupons per person per day. Find me a Kmart that would let me do 23 transactions and while you're at it let's just wave that pesky $25 minimum and 5 per day thing too. Kmart should treat all its customers equal!

Comments

From Facebook, this one is good too

If it truly is a crime, why is TLC allowed to continue with the show? How can the people on the show openly state they know they are using their coupons the wrong way and still be allowed to get away with it? It's sad and disappointing that the show and the people on it aren't being prosecuted, instead they are rewarded with thousands of dollars in free groceries. The honest people get the shaft and TLC is promoting it every week.

WE AGREE!!!

Agree

I have heard straight from one of the ladies on the first season of Extreme Couponing. That TLC did provide her with ALOT of coupons just for the show. They more than doubled what coupons she had. Maybe TLC producers are supplying these coupons just for shock factor. I also noticed last night that the beeps you hear are a sound effect I knew some had to be but, it was bad last night.

Info

Goldsmith82, if you have more specific information regarding the show providing coupons (contact info for the participant, etc and whether she'd be willing to speak about this) she can contact me at media@supercouponing.com...

TLC supplying coupons

That would be great if people on the show could directly tell where they got the counterfeits, even if it is from the network. I mean seriously, use the media power to do the right thing and bust the illegal activity.

Oh but wait. That wouldnt make anyone any mega money.

Oh, well this sounds like a trip I'd want to make .... !!!

Come into my web said the spider to the fly. I don't think I'd want to be someone else's news or source for news. Ummm, no comment but, uh, thanks for askin' {sigh}.

It's not that...

... but I've received messages for the past two days saying "Watch out for so-and-so in episode 2. We've been friends for five years and she's not an honest person."

To which I replied, "If she's not an honest person, why have you been friends with her for five years?" ;)

I get loads of email in the "I heard this about this person" vein. Unless that person has a name and wants to talk or write their own words, I can't do a hearsay story on "someone told me they gave them coupons for the show." Hence - contact me directly, but don't expect a story about one anonymous person saying another thing about another anonymous person with no evidence.

I'm sorry but pregnancy IS

I'm sorry but pregnancy IS NOT AN EXCUSE to use fake coupons. Pregnancy is not an excuse to get out of a speeding ticket, a free meal or anything else. Yes, I'm a woman. I'm a mom and I've been through 3 pregnancy's.

The woman who bought the coupons/clipping service "because of her pregnancy" Whatever lady.

She's got a husband-why can't he, or a friend be trusted with a $20 bill to run out and buy a package of toilet paper when they are running low? Or milk or diapers or bread for that matter?

I totally get and understand wanting to stock up as much as she could before having to go on bed rest and before the baby was born.

So....

I wonder what her excuse was for her misusing the Norelco razor coupon in the Black Friday EC Special?

I know.

I thought of that when I saw the new Norelco coupons in today's inserts.

Pregnancy and couponing

... dh or trusted friend could bought the newspapers and other necessities for her.
I'm mom of 2 boys.

exactly. I've got 3 kids of

exactly. I've got 3 kids of my own plus adopted 5 siblings out of foster care. I know how hard it is. I've done small errands for friends. In turn, they have done so for me.