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BAMBERG, Germany — 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 can’t 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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