Couponing 101: Is Selling Coupons Illegal?



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.

“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.

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