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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    Promoting "Expired" Coupons That Still Work
    fine people of ABW, what are your thoughts on this...

    a merchant has a very good coupon that was supposed to end last week. several days later you find out it's still working. do you keep promoting it until it stops working? the TOS doesn't say anything about this.

    is this common? why do you think the merchant would let the coupon continue to work? or why say it will stop but let it roll?

    thanks for your input

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    Merchants standpoint,
    1) adding a day covers when you have people and servers in different time zones, and at what time of the day does it expire? what time zone.... it gets complicated with nationwide or worldwide customers.
    2) the affiliate sites that leave up the expired coupons get to be a pain for the merchant because the customers call days or months later telling the merchant the coupon does not work... and demanding the discount.... just like the people that tear off the expiration date on retail coupons..
    3) sometimes those coupons take a long time to set up, with complicated rules and they may be doing a test to see which avenues work best and an affiliate leaving it up past the exp date just makes the test invalid. That coupon that took and hour or two to set up may be for affiliates this month and two months later they may plan to use it in a mailing...
    4) the merchant may have just messed up, some carts automatically put a date that is 6 months to a year out as the exp date.. when the right person sees it is being used it gets killed off in the merchants system, then they look back at the source.. see the affiliate site with no exp date and think 'you bastard.. you killed Kenny".
    5) coupon misuse could be a reason that coupons don't get offered at the same level the next time... back in the retail days I had a coupon out in a mailing for a free chocolate covered strawberry, a family of 6 showed up, each with a coupon (and not a forgery or copy) and one at a time got a free strawberry.... every time that coupon was published there was a lot of mis-use... so eventually it stopped getting published. That same family would show up every month the coupon was mailed out, but never any other time....
    6) the error could be in the setup for the coupon feed...
    7) ask the merchant, things could have changed since it came out or they could be grateful that you caught their problem...

  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    SC, I had a long conversation one night with a tech I worked with at my last day job. He had started as an affiliate by pushing PPC to a woman's clothing merchant. He realized after the fact that he was in violation of their terms after making a nice profit. Another affiliate in the company told him to keep going as they were too stupid to notice. I told him that ethically he could email the AM and say he realized his error and should he quit. Chances were they were absentee and he could continue as told not to. I told him morally he should quit and let them know, his honesty might impress them and he may be able to continue. He chose to stop and soon quit working as an affiliate since he wasn't making money honestly, just when he trademark poached.

    My advise is to not only contact the merchant but call them to advise that the coupon was still working. They can sort it out.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    fine people of ABW, what are your thoughts on this...

    a merchant has a very good coupon that was supposed to end last week. several days later you find out it's still working. do you keep promoting it until it stops working? the TOS doesn't say anything about this.

    is this common? why do you think the merchant would let the coupon continue to work? or why say it will stop but let it roll?

    thanks for your input
    I'd say it is pretty common that a coupon works past it's posted expiration date. I would also check with the merchant and ask if they extended it and how long it will be valid. Sometimes it works longer due to time zones etc to avoid customer service issues and sometimes they just decide to extend it and don't remember to update it in the network interface.

    CCBerries, the instances you posted appear to be valid uses of coupons that the merchant didn't consider in advance, and one of your examples is an instore live use that wouldn't apply to an affiliate displaying a coupon. If a merchant intends to use the same coupon again in a different channel that doesn't seem like a smart move to me.

    Asking should clear things up.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    Loxly,
    No one ever knows everything that happens with a merchant or how all the carts work with coupons, or the product procedures needed to interface from the cart to the back end systems (which for example, may not allow components) , if the merchant spent several hours setting up the coupon and then the print piece or other media of a wide-ranging campaign misses a deadline but goes to press with that code you'd have a very legitimate reason to have the code valid past when it was available to the affiliates. In another example: all it would take is for a hard coded coupon to be left in place is one person getting sick.

    As for the family of 6: that was a mailed coupon, to residences in a a group of three zip codes and was printed out of state. For them to have 6 copies of the exact same thing: something funny was going on, since they were all valid copies: one of the possibilities was mail theft (gathering from empty mailboxes), it's just an example of one type of coupon misuse that annoys merchants. In that case it's a matter of ethics and the heads of household in that family showed they didn't have any. The logical equivalent would be posting a coupon code from a merchants thank-you page or coupon scraping, it's a matter of ethics.

    It does not matter if you think the merchant is not making a smart move, you do not have all the facts.

    the safest thing (as i said) would be to contact the merchant.

  6. #6
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCBerries View Post
    Loxly,
    For them to have 6 copies of the exact same thing: something funny was going on, since they were all valid copies: one of the possibilities was mail theft (gathering from empty mailboxes)
    Reminds me of when I was a kid and my friend use to deliver newspapers. He would take out all the McDonald's inserts that gave you pieces to their Monopoly game. Free small fries and burgers for the next 2 months.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    thank you for the replies


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