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Couponing 101: Is Selling Coupons Illegal?

Posted: 05/12/10 12:09 PM (Modified: 05/12/10 12:09 PM)


I posted last week about buying coupons online and that post seemed to create a stir both on this site and on our Facebook fan page.

Here are a few of the comments:

“I thought it was illegal or at least against the rules to buy and sell coupons. I checked some of mine and they say “void if transferred, sold or auctioned to another person, firm…”

“I am just wondering how the site mentioned is able to have over 1,000 of some of the coupons? Sounds to me like they work for a printing company and are taking/stealing the coupons home and selling them for profit.”

“I will not purchase coupons from them because then they send them through the mail which, if it is illegal, would make it a Federal Offense. I will just continue to get my coupons from the paper, the sales circulars, and online. I get plenty that way.”

My Two Cents:

It is NOT illegal to sell coupons. That is wording set by companies and, from what I understand, it is meant to help combat coupon fraud. Although, I like many of you, did think it was illegal for awhile as it turns out (according to other coupon experts) there is no law against it.

Once you have bought the newspaper, which is what most of these sites do, what they do with the coupons after that (as long as it’s legal) is up to them. There are tons of coupon selling sites all over the country and none have been prosecuted for ’selling coupons’ legitimately.

Many have added the wording ‘you are paying for the time it took to cut and find these coupons not the coupons themselves.’ However, that was added for the manufacturers benefit not for the law.

The bottom line here is if the coupons are being redeemed in the way they were intended then that is what matters. You are buying the products and that is what the company wants.

All of this wording really means that the manufacturer retains the right to void the coupon if it is being circulated in a fraudulent way. The biggest thing to remember when buying coupons online is to make sure you are buying from a legitimate website and also that they are cents off coupons and not FREE product coupons as those tend to be the most fraudulent.

Coupon swapping, trading or simply passing it to your sister or mom is not illegal nor is mailing the coupons. However, photocopying or scanning multiple copies of coupons is considered is prohibited transferring of coupons.

I am not claiming to be an expert on the topic but I feel like I’ve read a ton about it in the last few weeks just to double check everything and I’ve found nothing that says it is illegal. Manufacturers do frown on the practice but I think that has to do with fraudulent coupons that have become so popular.

I would not be promoting illegal coupon use nor do I care for being accused of that. What I am promoting is another great way to save money.

Check out all my favorite online coupon stores in our Money Saving Queen Forums.

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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
May 12, 2010 02:00 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Good job, Sarah! Thanks for running an upstanding website!

May 12, 2010 04:41 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I asked someone who sells coupons on the internet this same question. She said that she a person buying coupons is not paying for the coupons, but for their time in clipping, sorting and mailing the coupons.

May 13, 2010 03:30 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Ok i am new to this and I was at walmart and they wouldnt except any coupons from the address of 1 fawcett drive, del rio tx 78840....these were printed from smart source....BUT the ones that came from the circular in the newspaper have the same address and they will take those... can you tell me why please...Thank you

Sep 15, 2011 01:35 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I work for a manufacturer coupon processing office. For starters, it is 100% illegal to sell coupons online. FYI, it is ALSO 100% illegal to buy coupons online. Including services in which they mention you are not buying the coupons themselves, just the time involved in clipping, sorting and shipping. It is false, buying coupons from any website, is illegal.

Feb 23, 2014 02:17 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

...But what about "selling" the items you get from couponing? That has become quite the business in Knoxville TN... These girls are dumpster diving for discarded sunday papers, getting and using the coupons and then selling the items. So...the papers are NOT bought and it is not the coupons being sold..but the items being bought from the coupons???

Feb 23, 2014 02:30 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Example...this all posted on one of those online yard sale sites in Knoxville

$3 per box for 480 SNACK size Ziplock brand bags. Halls Kmart meet.
$3 per box for 480 SNACK size Ziplock brand bags. Halls Kmart meet.
Like · · February 20 at 3:49pm

3 people like this.
50 of 60
View previous comments
Amanda Joy Steedley could we do 645 if that is ok for everyone?
February 20 at 4:01pm · Like
Donna Ball Next
February 20 at 4:04pm · Like
Zola Glosson Nunamaker I'm ready just pm me Audrey like I said I'll come to u
February 20 at 4:04pm · Like
Shetaria Neal Will u post ur meeting place if im available I certainly will cone grab a few
February 20 at 4:20pm · Like
Audrey Miller 645 Friday halls Kmart???
February 20 at 4:22pm · Like · 1
Shetaria Neal Stacee N Russell
February 20 at 4:25pm · Like
Shetaria Neal Do you have other stuff?
February 20 at 4:26pm · Like
Kelsey Moore I work three jobs. I won't be able to make the 645 meet. I'll pass because I don't want you to have to make multiple trips.
February 20 at 4:45pm · Like
Audrey Miller Kelsey Moore we can connect at some point I'm sure. Don't worry.
February 20 at 4:47pm · Like
Audrey Miller Shetaria what are u looking for??? I'm an extreme couponer.
February 20 at 4:48pm · Like · 2
Kelsey Moore If you have extra after tomorrow let me know. Don't set aside any or anything try and get your money as quick as you can.
February 20 at 4:49pm · Like
Brittany Allen Ownby I will take a box depending on meeting place.
February 20 at 4:58pm · Like
Shetaria Neal Well I'm not sure I guess just depending on what you have. Can you post pictures of your stock
February 20 at 5:05pm · Like
Mathew Phillips I would like a box if u have any left.
February 20 at 5:11pm · Like
Tina Franks Copeland Sold... if you have any left!
February 20 at 5:41pm · Like
Zola Glosson Nunamaker I just saw Audrey Miller her p

Jun 14, 2014 11:04 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Selling coupons online is not illegal period.. If it is then copy and the post the link that shows the law. No state in the USA has a law against it.

Jun 16, 2014 04:38 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Well the coupons state that it is void If sold. Which means if you buy a coupon, it is void, and if you use it, you are committing coupon fraud. So TECHNICALLY, it is illegal to sell or buy coupons. And why would you pay for something that they give out or free anyway?

Oct 13, 2014 11:38 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Ok so if someone has a stack of inserts and sells them out of there house but dosent have a license to sell can still sell the inserts and pocket the money?

Jan 11, 2015 01:46 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

i f coupon selling or buying is illegal,will the manufactures please post the exact law that says it is illegal to sell coupons that are legitimate. I will bet $10,000 that no one post here. Is just A BS scare tactic. The Uniform Commercial Law back the ability to buy a newspaper and resell for anything you want in part or in whole.

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