It IS Illegal To Buy And Sell Coupons

June 14, 2011

If you want to immediately get an extreme coupon fanatic in a huff, ask the question: Is it Illegal to buy or sell coupons? 

You will hear a resounding NO from just about everyone who does either. The truth is, it IS illegal, if you read the fine print. 

Coupons and Bargains Guide, Donna Montaldo, writes:


Most all manufacturers' coupons clearly state that buying and selling coupons voids the value of the coupons, so essentially there is no legitimate way to sell coupons.


As for selling clipped coupons as a way to circumvent this rule, Donna points out that the FTC says: 


Selling or transferring coupons to a third party violates most manufacturers’ coupon redemption policies – and usually voids the coupon.


For more on the legitimacy of buying and selling coupons in any way, see Donna's Coupons/Bargins site at



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Beth @ In Good Cents's picture

The Coupon Information Center said in a statement that it's not illegal to buy coupons. However, the majority of people selling coupons are committing other criminal offenses, such as making counterfeit coupons. A coupon is a contract and using it against it's terms voids that contract, therefore making that coupon now void (or without value). However, there's no actual law that states that you can't sell or buy coupons. Even the FTC is saying it's "void" not illegal. It also states that they can't be transferred in the same sentence in the fine print. It if was illegal, than anyone who gave a friend a coupon committed a criminal offense. This technicality is why they can't shut down all the sites selling coupon inserts. They've tried. However, since it's not illegal, they always fail. The only thing they can do is prove that someone used one of these coupons they bought and refuse to reimburse the store.