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3-On Your Side: Coupon Craze Warning

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The number of people using coupons has reached an all time high with some people even buying and selling coupons online.

But as 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan tells us, there’s now calls for big changes in what’s become an extreme coupon craze.

Melanie is a busy mom whose bottom line depends on using coupons. She cuts some from the paper, but actually buys most of them online.

She says paying for coupons helps stock her pantry and save one hundred dollars a week.

“There are a lot more variety of coupons online,” said Melanie.

Melanie also sells coupons online. She says it helps other families save, and makes money for her own.

“People are willing to pay up to 75% of the coupon value,” said Melanie.

But there’s a new push to shut down coupon sales on eBay.

The Coupon Information Corporation which represents businesses, has demanded that the online auction giant stop the sale of coupons.

“The best solution would be for eBay to simply prohibit the sale of manufactures coupons from their websites like they do many other items,” said Bud Miller with Coupon Information Corporation.

So what’s wrong with selling coupons online?

Manufacturers point to the fine print right on their coupons that says, Void if altered, copied, sold, purchased, or transferred.

The Coupon Information Corporation says the coupon craze is actually causing chaos in some stores.

“We’ve been seeing more and more complaints about people coming in with large numbers of coupons just stripping the shelves bare,” said Miller.

There’s no law against selling coupons, but if you do, you could get a demand letter from the Coupon Information Corporation asking you to stop or risk facing civil penalties.

“It violates the terms and conditions and you’re exposing yourself to a host of issues you really don’t want to,” said Miller.

For now eBay says it will continue to allow coupon sales and it has an active category for coupon listings.

Again, while there’s no law against buying coupons the Coupon Information Corporation warns you could be wasting your money. If you show up with too many or questionable coupons the store may say you can’t cash in.

Ebay’s website says it does limit the number of coupons people can sell and doesn’t allow the sale of expired or electronic coupons. But they don’t monitor the site for possible violations.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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