legality of clipping coupons

I am not looking for estimations on this one, so please leave it to those in the field of law, thanks :slight_smile:

I know it must be against the law to go to the paper machine on Sunday, and buy say 20 newspapers, take all the coupouns from the inserts, and then re-sell those coupons to others, but I am after a different approach. Or more or less, I was told of a plan someone else has, and want to discover the legalities of it.

If I legitimately buy papers from a newspaper machine, meaning, I do not put in money for 1 paper and take all of them, but actually pay for each one, then, trash the paper and just clip out all the coupons. I sort, organize and catalog all the coupons.

Then, I get all my friends to do the same, Sunday evening, we have a boatload of coupons all nicely organized. Am I then free to redistribute those coupons to anyone I desire so long as I do not do so in excange for money.


why do you specify a paper machine rather than a news stand? - does it make a difference?

oh well, we dont really have news stands where I grew up, but no matter, get em however you want :slight_smile:

Of course it is legal. The manufacturers and retailers want them to be used, that is why the put them in there. There are many local clubs that exist solely to do what you describe. Now, some are even set up on the web as well. Here is one example:

Do a Google search for “Coupon Trading” and you can find out more examples of it.

Maybe someone was watching an old Sienfeld episode (where Jerry’s Uncle got arrested for using too many coupons)?
Stores and manufacturers set the rules for using them, not the police.
Just don’t steal the newspapers…

Manufacturers aren’t concerned about consumers buying loads of newspapers and using large quantities of coupons. Bear in mind, even if you use a coupon and get a discount, the manufacturer has STILL made a profit- just a slightly smaller profit.

Think about it- if you have a dozen 50-cents-off coupons for Wheaties, and you share those coupons with others. If each of those dozen coiupons is used to buy a box of Wheaties, General Mills is delighted! They’ve sold more Wheaties, which is the whole reason they put out coupons to begin with.

Now, many (perhaps most) coupons will have some restrictions in the fine print, perhaps limiting the number of coupons used during one trip to the market. But all in all, manufacturers really aren’t worried about consumers using too many coupons.

What manufacturers DO worry about is fraud on the part of retailers. Periodically, owners of small food markets and bodegas are prosecuted for cashing in on massive quantities of coupons for products that weren’t really sold

Apparently there is a way of doing it illegally, for profit. This week’s News of the Weird (not yet online) reports that al-Qaeda operatives raised an ungodly sum of money by clipping coupons.

Sorry, don’t have the article handy, and it was only a one-liner anyway.

The trading of coupons from papers you purchase is not only legal, it’s done on a regular basis in volumes you aren’t even aware of. The only thing that might be illegal about it is if someone would attempt to redeem them without purchasing the items specified (fraud).

I have been using and trading coupons for over 30 years, in addition to sending in for rebates and refunds in accordance with the rules of the manufacturers.

Go to Yahoogroups and do a search for coupons - you’ll find lots of email lists for coupon trading. There are services which sell coupons for a handling fee. (They locate, cut out, and sort all the coupons they list, and send you only the ones you want for a handling fee to do just that.) There are 3 auction sites that I know of that are ONLY for coupons, some do have a sideline of allowing people to auction couponing/refunding aids as well as craft items and other things. (Aids might be trading slips, auction slips, add in cards to make people smile, bible verses, address labels etc).

Look on Topica - another list service… they have them too. There are megasites like Kachina Web is probably the biggest trading forum out there. My Coupons is another huge trading forum.

There are 3 or 4 print magazines for refunding and couponing. I subscribe to Refunding Makes Cents and Refund Express. which are the two largest ones.

Incidently, I recently went to ACME for a triple coupon sale (one day) and purchased $180 worth of groceries for $83. This is not the best I’ve done with coupons.

Don’t forget that some products will have offers out there like buy two packs of hotdogs and get the rolls free by mail. In that case, you might receive either a refund on the price of the rolls, or a coupon for free rolls to a certain amount.

You can also get coupons by going to websites (Safeway has U-Pons, Cool Savings has coupons, Valupage has web bucks, and Smart Source has coupons they send by mail and can be printed out.) Go to the product’s website and look for offers. It might get you a coupon or a premium (merchandise you can get for sending in proofs of purchase - most notably the Marlboro Gear merchandise). Write the company or call them when there is a problem with your product or if you really like their product. Often a call or letter will produce coupons.

I wrote a letter to Kirby & Holloway to tell them that I really liked their sausage products and to tell them how I cooked them in the microwave with spaghetti sauce instead of water… a week later, a representitive from Kirby & Holloway showed up at the front door with several pounds of sausage, scrapple, and all of their products. I’ve received 5 coupons for any size Tuna because I complained to StarKist about a can of tuna I bought having bones and scraps in it. If my Kraft Cheese goes moldy before the date, I call Kraft and always get a replacement coupon. Same with Pillsbury and Duncan Hines.

Some terminology - a play is having a coupon for the product or a sale on the product. A double play is having a coupon AND a sale. A triple play is having a coupon, sale, and a refund offer on the product. In some cases, you can get an item on sale, with a coupon free or for pennies and then send in for a refund offer. However, those plays are few and far between. Usually, when there’s a triple play, you end up getting it for free between the sale, coupon and offer.

If you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of couponing and coupon trading, send me an email and I’ll be glad to help you out.

Sofa King - you can’t make money with coupons unless you get the food cheap or free and resell it. Most stores won’t allow resellers to buy the large quantities they need to make any money.


Instead of buying dozens of papers to get the coupons, you might ask the store to save the coupon inserts from all the unsold papers for you on Sunday nights before the newsguy picks them up.

Sofa King

There is a way of doing it illegally,for profit. It involves fraud on the part of the retailer.

I looked on the kachinaweb forum. Why do some people want expired coupons? Aren’t they umm… expired?