The Periodical Publishers Association, the trade body for the magazine publishing industry, is looking into the use of money-off coupons and vouchers by its members and by advertisers in the magazines they publish.
The news comes as industry insiders suggest magazine and newspaper publishers are increasingly worried about the abuse of coupons and vouchers by consumers and retailers. One expert says: "I have heard claims that a substantial number of retailers are ordering staff to strip coupons and vouchers out of unsold magazines and newspapers before they return them to the publishers, and then claiming the money. Publishers can tell that the coupons come from issues that were never sold, because coupons are now bar-coded." He suggests the system is costing publishers millions of pounds.
Nicola Rowe, director of circulation at the PPA, confirms that the body is researching all aspects of vouchers and coupons. "Vouchers are an important promotional tool which publishers can use and which can benefit all parties," she says.
She refuses to discuss the issue of misredemption, but adds that the PPA has always been "looking to improve processes where we can."
Magazine and newspaper publishers are understood to have increased the use of money-off coupons and vouchers, although no figures are available.
Misredemption has been highlighted by promotional marketing trade body the Institute of Sales Promotion as a major problem. Edwin Mutton, director-general of the ISP, says: "Misredemption is killing the coupon industry in the UK. It is almost at the point of no return."