Please do NOT buy Coupons!
Yesterday, I got my Feb 22, 2013 issue of All You Magazine in the mail. I didn’t have a chance to read it, but first thing this morning, a friend called me with a question about something she read in the magazine. On Page 9, there are some tips from the All You Savings Stars on the left side of the page. The third tip relates to Couponing, and is a tip from Shellie over at Savingwithshellie. It says,
“When purchasing coupons from Ebay, proceed with caution. Sometimes people make photocopies and try to sell them as legitimate coupons. Check the sellers’ ratings and make sure they don’t have complaints filed against them.”
When I teach family and friends how to coupon, I make a point to emphasize to them that they should not EVER buy coupons – so my friend was confused. I must stand behind my opinion, and encourage everyone: Please do NOT buy Coupons.
Here’s the thing. If you have a coupon handy, pick it up and read the fine print. The closest one to me reads, “Consumer: LIMIT ONE COUPON PER PURCHASE of products and quantities stated. LIMIT 4 OF LIKE COUPONS PER HOUSEHOLD PER DAY. Any other use constitutes fraud. Coupons not authorized if purchasing products for resale. VOID if transferred, sold, auctioned, reproduced, or altered from original.”
So, the coupon states clearly that it is VOID if Sold or Auctioned. How do sellers get away with it on Ebay? They state they are selling their time – the time it took them to clip the coupon, and the coupon is free, they call it a “clipping fee” or a ‘processing fee”. However, it is my understanding that Ebay TOS do not allow sellers to sell labor, therefore, they consider the Coupon the item being sold. I am not a legal expert, I am not giving legal advice. Does this make it illegal? Probably not, but it does make the coupon VOID. Here is a direct quote from the Ebay TOS page:
“Make sure you review the terms printed on the coupon before you sell it. The terms on some coupons state that selling them is restricted or not allowed. While we don’t monitor the site for possible violations, and we usually don’t remove listings based on third-party contracts, we ask that you carefully review the coupon’s terms and conditions when you’re deciding if you want to list it.
Also, sellers can’t claim that the price of the coupon is based on the value of the labor involved in clipping the coupons instead of the coupons themselves. Under eBay rules, the coupons themselves are the items being sold.
Coupon buyers should also note that retailers might refuse to accept coupons that have been obtained in a way that violates the terms on the coupon.”
How do manufacturers or the store know if you’re using a voided coupon or not? They really have no way of knowing, but that doesn’t make it right. I always encourage people to be aware of coupon usage policies – from the manufacturer AND each store you shop at. You will encounter employees unfamiliar with the policy and you should ask for a manager if you have issues with transactions within the guidelines. You should NOT be manipulating the rules and guidelines just to save a few cents.
So, for my friend who had the original question, No, the rules haven’t changed, buying coupons is NOT allowed. I am not sure why this was printed in this magazine. It is a reputable publication that offers great tips and advice (and coupons), but the editor of this section should have done better research on this tip before printing.
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