MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

July 16, 2013

Coupon apps may bring ethical issues

There are many coupon apps for smartphone users to enjoy, but are all coupon apps safe and reliable? Not exactly. Anyone can create an app. Just because an app exists doesn’t mean the app is authorized by stores or manufacturers.

Several coupon apps are questionable from an ethical standpoint. I’m not going to name them, but I’ll describe their functionality. Consider whether or not these apps toe the line of couponing ethics — or worse, venture into potentially fraudulent territory.

App #1: This app uses a smartphone’s camera to photograph a manufacturer coupon, then decode the barcode, telling the user if the coupon is coded specifically for the size and type of product listed on the coupon, or if there’s some “wiggle room.” Example: A coupon states it is valid on a 16 ounce box of cereal, but decoding the barcode reveals it will also work on a 12-ounce box.

My thoughts:

I have to question the purpose behind this app. While it may not be illegal to decode a barcode, it’s toeing the line of ethics.

App #2: This app allows users to photograph a paper coupon, and the app stores the barcode. Then, you can share the coupon with other people using the app. Search for coupons issued by your favorite companies, and when you find one you’d like to use, show the barcode image on your phone to your cashier.

My thoughts:

Taking a photograph of a coupon and presenting it to the cashier is akin to making a photocopy of a coupon and trying to get the cashier to accept it — that’s a form of counterfeiting and coupon fraud. Allowing users to then share these images of coupons with each other is problematic.

So which coupon apps would I recommend? Here are a few:

Grocery IQ: Created by Coupons.com, Grocery IQ is a shopping list planning app. You can create shopping lists by using your phone to scan the barcodes of product packaging that you’ve already got, and that item will be added to your list.

Shopper: Shopper is another popular grocery list planning app. It allows you to scan product barcodes and add them to the list. You also can group your lists by store, and I like its auto-fill functionality.

1
Text Only
Features
AP Video
UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism Native American Teens Get Taste of College Legendary Actor James Garner Dies Ukraine Rebels: Black Boxes Will Be Returned Recording May Show Attempt at Crash Cover-up
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks