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Commissaries Ok Internet Coupons Again
By Rick Emert
Stars and Stripes
European Edition

August 26, 2004

BAMBERG, Germany ó Commissary shoppers can again put their Internet surfing skills to good use.

This week, the Defense Commissary Agency began accepting coupons printed from the Internet, after refusing the printouts for nearly a year.

According to a DECA press release, the commissaries stopped accepting the coupons last September because fraudulent use of them was costing the grocery industry as a whole millions of dollars.

"The fraudulent use of the coupons involved [photocopying] them and trying to redeem them," said Kay Blakley, a spokeswoman for DeCA in Europe.

Although the Web coupons are accepted now, there are limitations.

They must have bar codes, and no Internet coupons for free items can be redeemed.

"Generally, the coupons must be name-brand coupons that can be accepted at any store," Blakley said.

According to Blakley, the coupons can be found at sites that cater to military life, such as www.military.com or at Web sites for product manufacturers. There are many Internet coupon sites as well, but many offer store-specific coupons that canít be used at the commissary, Blakley said.

The commissary also will have links to Internet coupon sites in the future at www.commissaries.com, Blakley said.

The Internet coupons are used like other coupons, with no limits on the number used unless specified on the coupon.

"It is just like any other coupon," Blakley said. "As long as it has a bar code that the cashier can scan, it is not fraudulent and is redeemable.

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2004 Stars and Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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