Does swapping coupons to make up for lost ones constitute fraud?

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Does swapping coupons to make up for lost ones constitute fraud?

I work as a manager in a retail store. At the end of the night, one of my tasks is to count the total value of the coupons to make sure that it matches what the cash registers say. Sometimes, we will be missing a coupon or two, and thus be $2 short. I have been instructed by my boss to simply find another coupon somewhere in the store of equal value and we will send it into the manufacturer for credit. Is this fraud? Considering the coupon was never used on a purchase it seems to me like the whatever company redeeming the coupon is getting screwed for a mistake of one of our cashiers.

Asked on August 13, 2011 Tennessee

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are pretty astute. Technically, the swapping of coupons as requested by your boss at the store you work in to make up for those missing could be considered fraudulent (both in a civil and criminal) since the coupons that are swapped in for the missing ones were not actually used in the transaction by the customer of your store.

If there ever happens to be a detailed audit of your store's practices and this comes to light to the company whose coupons have been debited in a transaction that never happended, you and your boss could have some consequences to face.

You might consider discussing this issue with your boss in greater detail and see what can be done to prevent the loss of the coupons that result in the swap.

Good luck.

 


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