For a small fee, usually 10% of the coupons face value you can have someone else clip your coupons for you.
These services offer benefits for those that:
- Need extra coupons from the paper coupon inserts, but don’t want to buy multiple copies of them.
- Need specific coupons that aren’t distributed in their area.
- Lack the time or the energy to go over all those inserts.
Using coupon clipping services is very straight forward: while assembling your grocery list for next week, you log into one of these sites and search for relevant coupons according to product type or brand. A few days later an envelop arrives with all of the coupons you ordered. This is it!
Which is better – eBay or these services?
Coupon broker services have three major benefits over eBay:
- You have a much larger selection of grocery coupons, and the search for a certain coupon is certainly easier.
- You can buy a single coupon or just a few, unlike eBay where they come in multitudes of 10, 15 or 20.
- You deal with a known and trusted site, and don’t run the risk of buying a photocopied coupon.
- If you only need a few coupons, the cost of these services may work out to be cheaper than it would cost you to buy a Sunday newspaper for the inserts.
- It is basically more “Legit” to purchase grocery coupons through these services than on eBay
Purchasing coupons through eBay has the following benefits:
- You can get certain coupon in large quantities, unlike clipping services which tend to put a limit on the maximum number of individual coupons.
- You can fine all kinds of coupons (e.g. blinkies) that aren’t offered by these clipping services.
Purchasing coupons is actually illegal, and most coupons will clearly state that buying or selling them voids the value of the coupon. However, coupon clipping services get around this law by stating that the coupons are free and you are paying for their time to clip, sort and mail the coupons.
There is no type of legislation that I know of that says this kind of service is illegal, and anyway, there is no telling if a coupon was clipped at home or bought through an online service. But if you are concerned with what is technically right, there is the answer.
Bottom line is that weather the companies that print and distribute the coupons like it or not, there is nothing they can do about it, and the proof for that is that these services are advertised openly all over the internet.
And what about eBay?
eBay rules state clearly that the coupons themselves are the items being sold, and coupon sellers aren’t allowed to sell the “service” of clipping, sorting and handling.
eBay also posts a warning to buyers, stating that retailers may refuse to accept coupons that have been obtained, “in a way that violates the terms of the coupon.”
Similar to coupons bought at a coupon clipping service, there is no telling if a coupon was clipped at home or bought through an eBay auction. I’ve never heard of a retailer refusing these coupons, but if you’re concerned with what is technically right, there is the answer.
Things that you should know
- Coupon clipping services require you to register with them.
- They charge an administration fee (usually around $.50) for their services.
- There may be a minimum and/or a maximum order of coupons you need to purchase per transaction.
- There may be a minimum dollar amount you need to spend per transaction.
- Regular shipping fees apply. Shipping usually takes anywhere from 3 to 10 days, but may be expedited.
- Payment methods may differ (PayPal, cash, check, money order, credit card, debit card).
Here is a list of the top coupon clipping services:
Large selection of grocery coupons. The coupons are listed by brand, product type, expiration date etc. Coupons usually cost 10% of their face value. The search function is really good, so you spend very little time finding the right coupon.
There is however a minimum order requirement and a handling fee.
A great source for individual coupons from the Sunday paper inserts, as well as whole coupon inserts. They update with the latest coupons and inserts promptly. Shipping is fast.
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