UPDATED 2/16/2017 There are two trends that couponers are exploring to make money off couponing. Some extreme couponers sell their excess coupons online. Others sell their excess products or stockpile. Each one is against the terms and conditions of coupons, but only one practice generated an extreme response.
Selling coupons to make money
People are passionate about money-saving offers whether they’re for $20 or $2. Say the word “coupon” and people react strongly. With this topic, I’ve come to expect the unexpected.
On most coupons, it says the discount is void if sold or transferred. However, online sites like eBay are a platform many couponers use to sell their stockpile of offers.
A couponer told me in 2011, she makes $300-400 a month selling coupons on eBay. To get around the policy issue, couponers tell bidders they are paying for their time and service and not the coupon itself.
In 2013, eBay changed its policy. They still allow sales, but limit the number. Sellers are restricted to a monthly maximum of coupons valued up to $100 or 25 valid, unexpired, original coupons. The limit you reach first will be the one that is enforced. Previously, couponers sold multiple coupons under one listing. You’ll still be limited to 25 coupons even if they are all sold in bulk under one listing.
Coupon sales criticized by coupon group
The disclaimers are criticized by the Coupon Information Corporation which is made up of product manufacturers who fight fraud and issues within the coupon industry. The disclaimers are even against eBay’s policy, but there are hundreds on the site. eBay admits it does not police the posts.
We heard from many viewers who said they have sold and bought coupons on eBay even though it’s a violation of a coupon. A woman who teaches couponing classes told me it’s a secret weapon for many couponers. It’s really the best way to get multiples of a coupon since we only get one insert in the Sunday paper. Surprisingly, nobody was outraged by this practice perhaps because most people are engaged in it.
On the other hand, another practice by some couponers generated tons of controversy. Some extreme couponers end up with surplus items. They buy 20 bottles of shampoo and simply can’t use them all. The couponer sells the stockpile to the public cheaper than you can buy the item in the store. You get the item cheaper without having to coupon.
The stockpile story drew extreme outrage. Couponers were shocked we shared the story with others. While the upset couponers voiced their opinion the loudest, I did hear from viewers who thanked me for airing the story because they needed to find new ways to save and make ends meet in this sour economy.
The Coupon Information Corporation says it’s against the terms of the coupon to resell the items you bought at discount. Stockpile verbage is also beginning to appear on coupons.
Some viewers were furious I explored the topic of stockpile sales and showed it publicly. Many people hold these sales in the shadows.
After the strong reaction on stockpile sales, I worried about sharing the eBay couponing story given that it’s clearly against most coupon policies. However, it’s my job as a journalist to report on the trends and ask questions about them. It’s not my job to decide which trend is right or wrong, and only air selective trends.
The bottom line – until someone begins policing these trends they will continue to exist. Plus, we are all paying the price. Stores are changing their coupon policies due to abuse. I’ll continue to report on them as it’s my job to report all the trends rather than only selective ones.
What do you think about selling and buying coupons on eBay? Click comment below.