Three women arrested after police find $25million worth of fake coupons in counterfeit operation

on Jul 15, 2012 @ 06:06 pm

Wow !! I know people who have ordered coupons from This is crazy, I was shocked.I didn't even realize it was illegal to buy coupons.

6 Replies

Yikes! on Jul 15, 2012 @ 07:42 pm


I knew it was illegal to sell coupons, but I didn't know it was illegal to "buy" coupons!


Ali de Bold
Wow on Jul 16, 2012 @ 11:49 am

Thanks for posting this. I'm sure a lot of couponers out there would be interested to know that.

On another note, I've never understood the concept of getting money back from a coupon. The whole purpose is to get you to try something new at a discounted price - not make money from it.

very fine line on Jul 16, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

There are many coupon clipping services out there that provide coupons for a service fee - this is the time and effort involved in hunting down, clipping, sorting, and mailing coupons to people who request them.

In the US (not too sure about Canada - perhaps another commenter can provide insight), as long as you conspicuously declare that the fee charged is associated with your time/effort rather than selling the coupon (which is illegal), you are permitted to perform such transactions. Ebay also has a lot of coupon clippers who provide batches of coupons for a service fee. This fee is usually a few cents compared to the value of the coupon. As far as I know, it is NOT permitted to do this with printables since they are specifically designed to be limited (2 per user, for example) and your IP address is tracked through printables. Printing for someone else and giving them the coupon in exchange for any fee is not allowed, though I know lots of people who play "coupon fairy" at the grocery store by leaving their unused printable on the shelf next to the item if they know they won't be using the coupon prior to expiry.

Being a coupon user myself, I can certainly attest to the effort required in finding and clipping the coupons you want. It makes sense to me that someone would charge 5 cents for a $1 coupon to cover their labour cost. This is NOT illegal.

Coupon trains (which is a swapping program) are generally free, but typically you only can get a small number of duplicate coupons. If you want to guarantee you get x number of the same coupon (e.g. same brand of dog food), a clipping service will allow you to order as many or few as you like (limits may apply). A lot of people choose clipping services also because they don't want to subscribe to a full newspaper program and waste all of that paper (who really reads it cover to cover, right?), nor do they want to have coupons on hand for products they have no use for.

From a user perspective, it makes a lot of sense to allow trading with or without a small service fee. From a brand's perspective, the coupon redemption rate is something like 2% anyway, which means that the vast majority of coupons expire unused. That means that while people might buy that brand with or without a coupon, the advertising value of that unused coupon is basically wasted.

It's definitely a practice that is abused, so if you are a couponer, make sure you play by the rules both legally and ethically.

clarifying on Jul 16, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

Oh, and the women were not arrested for participating in "selling" coupons on that site. They were arrested for passing fake coupons. That is illegal even if you give them away for free.

Why even bother on Aug 08, 2012 @ 01:09 pm

There are so many available coupons online and instore. What ever happened to ladies poker night playing for coupons?

It's just wrong. on Aug 09, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

The three women are charged with counterfeiting, forgery, money laundering, operating an illegal enterprise and other crimes. These ladies were doing far more than just passing fake coupons, they made big money selling fake coupons for profit.What ever way you spin it, it's wrong no matter what. As a couponer myself, it worries me for the rest of us who are following couponing etiquette, I rely heavily on coupons to balance my budget and I don't want to see it ruined by this type of activity. This one company alone, Phoenix-based Bar-S Foods Co. has lost around $250,000 in three months to fraudulent coupons, that's very troublesome.


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