Courtesy: Facebook post

Courtesy: Facebook post

UPDATED 3/6/2017 Shampoo, shaving cream, and diapers all for sale in a basement or front yard for a fraction of the retail price. It sounds like a deal, but some argue stockpile sales cost us all in the end. Plus, the stockpile sale violates coupon policies.

Extreme couponers create grocery store in basement

Couponers are passing their savings onto you with stockpile sales. They buy the diapers or shampoo at a discount with coupons. Then, they sell their surplus to you less than the retail store sells the product. The couponer then makes a profit, and you save money. It sounds like a win for you. However, some argue it’s gaming the system.

Cristina Neumann of Ohio made $300 a day at her stockpile sale when I first reported on this in 2011. She sold everything from soap to

Years later, these sales are just as popular. You see moms posting about their stockpile sale on Facebook Groups, Swap Shops, Craigslist, and the Facebook Marketplace.

Neumann sold everything from soap to sauce at a yard sale. The products are name brands, too. Neumann pays pennies on the dollar for the items and re-sells the products for cheaper than you’d find in the store.

I met some shoppers who return week after week to purchase items at Neumann’s sale, and some even negotiate to save even more.

“I wish I had the time to do the couponing myself, but they take the work out of it for me. So, I look for the sales,” Scott Sanderson said.

Instead of spending time clipping coupons or downloading digital ones, Sanderson scans the internet looking for the latest stockpile sale. These sales are still going strong five years later.

Courtesy: Facebook post

Courtesy: Facebook post

I constantly see the sales post in Facebook groups. Many people setup appointments to shop in a stranger’s basement turned grocery store. Most likely unaware of the consequences of their store owner’s extreme behavior.

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Are stockpile sales legal?

When researching stockpile sales originally, many couponers refused to speak on camera about their sale. They advertise it publicly, but won’t discuss it publicly. Why? They know there is controversy surrounding the stockpile’s against the rules.

A stockpile sale is not necessarily illegal, but it’s against couponing rules.

The Coupon Information Corporation (CIC) is a non-profit association that works to stop coupon misrepresentation and fraud. Product manufacturers are part of the group.

The CIC says reselling items bought with a coupon or stockpile sales violate the terms and conditions of the coupons. They add that the sales may also violate local health codes.

“Coupons are intended to give individual consumers a good deal, not provide a method for people to set up unauthorized grocery stores or flea markets in their garages, basements, or backyards,” the CIC writes on their website.

My original story generated many comments from shoppers who thought the stockpile sale is unethical. There’s concern it hurts the average person trying to use a coupon the right way.

Grocery stores change coupon policies

Since extreme couponing became high profile, grocers made policy changes. There are now limits on coupons at some grocers.

Some coupons now say “limit of 4 like coupons in same shopping trip.” Some also say, “Coupons not authorized if purchasing products for resale.”

The problem is policing this, and remembering which coupon can’t be used for resale.

Neumann said she held the sales to raise money for a relative’s field trip.

“We were sitting there trying to figure out how to fundraise. We did a car wash. We did a spaghetti dinner, and lost money. We finally said I wonder if we could sell these things,” Neumann said.

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Neumann says she follows coupon rules and limits.

“We are really particular about the coupon policies because if people play with them they disappear. No more coupons. That would be horrible,” Neumann said.

Sometimes it means making repeated shopping trips.

Other couponers, buy their surplus coupons from eBay or clipping services. Both are controversial as once again it’s against the terms and conditions of the coupon to sell coupons. Those selling coupons say you are paying for their time clipping the coupons rather than the deals themselves. However, the Coupon Information Corporation warns that doesn’t do enough to protect you.

It’s unlikely stockpile sales will stop. These extreme couponers publicly advertise their sales, but five years later we are still talking about this topic. Nobody is cracking down. Until someone does, it’s up to us to decide if we’ll support a couponer in their basement or a retailer.

What do you think of stockpile sales? Would you shop at one? Weigh in on the controversial topic.