Consumer Law at Your Fingertips
Entertainment, Art & Leisure
“Coupon books” or “entertainment books” contain coupons redeemable at a variety of local businesses. Promoters sign up participating merchants, then sell coupon books to consumers. Legitimate coupon books can be good for consumers and merchants. Consumers may get bargains that far exceed the price of the book. Participating merchants may attract new business. Profits may go to worthy local causes.
But unscrupulous coupon book promoters can hurt consumers and merchants. For example, unscrupulous promoters may:
- Misrepresent the bargains that merchants have offered.
- Commit merchants to unexpected obligations, by selling more coupon books than expected or inflating the merchant’s intended offer. Innocent merchants may lose money if they honor the inflated or excess coupons, and may make consumers angry if they do not.
- Fail to disclose key restrictions or limitations on coupon redemption.
- Fail to disclose, to participating merchants, the number of coupon books sold.
- Misrepresent that a local civic group or charity is sponsoring the promotion (aggrieved consumers may blame innocent “sponsors”).
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) regulates unfair and deceptive business practices. DATCP has rules to protect consumers and legitimate merchants from unscrupulous coupon book promoters. The rules spell out good business practices to ensure that coupon book promotions work as intended. For more information, see Coupon Books details.