Change coming for Coupon “buying”?
If you are like me and buy some of your newspaper coupon inserts from a service, there is a major development. Today two sites that I know of (and probably more) posted that they are temporarily unable to process new orders but did not go into detail. One actually sent an email to customers explaining the situation.
As many of you know I am a newspaper manager. We received emails today from our corporate office regarding coupon distribution and disposal.
Apparently Red Plum, Smart Source and P&G are filing suit against eBay for allowing the buying and selling of coupons. They are also in talks regarding the same with TLC. According to them it`s all considered coupon fraud.
Before, we were allowed to give away the leftover q`s and those returned from papers that did not sell. We must now destroy all leftover inserts immediately. Newspaper employees are allowed to take home ONE insert per family member , per household.
They are going to do everything possible to make it almost impossible to get coupons without buying the actual newspapers. They are also going to shut down all online sites that sell whole coupon inserts.
So, it appears MAJOR change is coming.
Of course, I’ve had lots of crazy theories over the years: that the insert services had someone who worked at the printer and ran extra copies, someone worked for the newspaper and the bosses let them have all the extra inserts, someone worked for the newspapers and did unauthorized collection of inserts, that they worked at gas stations or places that sold a lot of newspapers, were newspaper delivery people, etc. Or that they simple buy a huge subscription amount that gives them a discount which then allows them to get many copies of inserts. But again, these are all just my theories, not facts.
I do know for a fact that the Green Bay Press-Gazette does not give away extra inserts because Circulation Manager Dave Sielski told me when I interviewed him a few weeks ago. He said they have strict agreements with the advertisers to destroy extra inserts.
Now, don’t panic. My favorite go-to site for whole inserts is appropriately called Whole Coupon Inserts. They posted the following statement on their Facebook page:
I was contacted by, a representative from, SVP News America Marketing, GM Smart Source iGroup. After looking into sources of our supply, I received an email back stating that “As long as you are buying the newspapers at retail rates or subscriber rates, I don’t believe there is an issue”.
So for those who get their inserts through legitimate sources don’t have anything to worry about. For those that buy them off eBay or some sites where their acquisition of inserts is unknown, the future is questionable.
And you can be sure that this is further backlash from the TV show Extreme Couponing.
But don’t get me started on that one…
UPDATE: Please read my follow-up story on this hot topic here!