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When is it okay to buy coupons on eBay?

Coupons on Ebay

When new couponers ask me where to find coupons in Canada, I always mention my top 4 sources:

They’re a bunch of other ways to get coupons, but those are the top 4.

Sometimes, a new couponer will ask me if it’s okay to buy coupons off of eBay, and this is when I hear the most confusion. Some people believe buying coupons off of eBay is illegal (it’s not), and some people feel that buying coupons off of eBay is the best way to get them (it’s not).

So first of all – here are the rules when selling coupons on eBay (these rules were set by eBay themselves):

Bulk coupon sales: In a single listing, sellers cannot list more than 100 total coupons, 20 identical coupons, or 5 coupon inserts (like those that come with a newspaper). Make sure you clearly state in your description how many coupons you’re selling. If we can’t tell how many coupons are offered, the listing violates our policy.

Coupons for “free” products: You can only list 2 coupons for free products, with no purchase required, per listing.

Coupons printed off the Internet: You can’t list more than 2 printed Internet coupons per listing.

Expired or used coupons: You can’t list recently expired coupons or used coupons on eBay because they could be used to commit fraud. Collectible coupons that clearly can’t be redeemed may be allowed.

Electronic “scanned” coupons: All coupons sold through eBay must be physical coupons printed on paper, not coupons that can be sent electronically to the buyer to be printed. Also, to reduce the potential for coupon fraud, we ask sellers not to include unaltered scans of coupons in their listings that could be copied, printed, and redeemed in stores.

Coupons for recalled items: Coupons for items that have been recalled by the manufacturer can’t be listed on eBay.

Recalled coupons: Coupons that have been recalled by the manufacturer can’t be listed on eBay.

So, when is it okay to buy coupons off of eBay?

Buying coupons from sellers on eBay is a personal choice. I choose not to do it, simply because it is helping to support those that steal coupon inserts an entire tear pads full of coupons, just to sell on eBay to make a profit. I don’t want to support that kind of behavior, so I avoid shopping for coupons on eBay.

However, I know that not everyone selling coupons on eBay has stolen them, and are just looking to get rid of coupons that they already have on hand and don’t plan on using. This is when, in my opinion, it would be “okay” to buy coupons off of eBay.

How do you know if coupons are stolen?

If a seller is trying to get rid of a large amount of the same coupon (for example, 10 or more of the exact same coupon), these coupons have likely been taken from tear pads for the sole purpose of selling them.

If you find a seller that has a “lot” of coupons ($50 worth of various coupons, for example), these are likely just extra coupons from the seller and have probably not been stolen.

It’s up to you whether or not you buy coupons from eBay, but with how many sources for coupons we have available to us, you may not even need eBay at all!

Note: This post reflects my personal opinion. I am not stating that all coupon posters on eBay are thieves just trying to make a buck.

Do you buy coupons from eBay? Why or why not?


  1. Mary

    I think its up to each person to decide if they buy or sell. For some people who don’t have access to inserts or tearpads, its the only way they can get some. I’ve purchased coupons on ebay actually from Cassie a few years ago.

    • Cassie Howard

      I sold coupons way before I knew the ethics of couponing.

  2. Erin

    Buying coupons?! That seems INSANE to me. Unless, I suppose, it was a high-value coupon – but honestly, how many of those are even around?! Especially in Canada!

  3. Dana

    I sell a lot of coupons on ebay. By the way, they are not stolen. There are other ways to get lots of coupons. Just look to your paper office. I work hard to get these coupons, cut and sort them. Sure I make a little etra money, which helps with the bills, but again I also work hard and spend time getting them and at the same time I am helping others save money who can not get coupons easliy

    • CMB

      Or if you really want to help people save money, you could just give them the coupons for free, since they didn’t cost you anything anyway.

    • Faith

      HOGWASH! Not everyone steals them, I know this for a fact as my cousin was a newspaper distributor and just had a bunch of left over room what didn’t sell, he handed them off. Anyways if a person has taken the time to clip and organize them don’t you think they should get something? I just think its funny that some people think that they should have everything handed to them, yet turn around and whine when a someone actually works and tries to make a little money.

  4. Anon

    I admit that I used to sell coupons on eBay. I’d get leftover inserts from delivery people on recycle day and collect tear pads. I used to make $1000 a month and I did it long enough to pay for a massive family purchase that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. Then I stopped. I stopped because it felt wrong. I paid for what I needed to and I felt that continuing on would just be pure greed. Now that Canada post is raising the stamp to $1, there won’t be much profit in it and I bet others will stop whether they want to or not.

  5. Susanna

    It is annoying when ebay sellers take entire tear pads to make a profit. But buying coupons is convenient in that it is very difficult at times to make a special trip to buy the paper or go to a particular store with the coupon you want. I think of it as paying for a service. Someone is willing to use their gas, time, and effort to get the coupons you want to your mailbox. This eliminates much stress and time spent running around town to get a $1 coupon. I commend those to provide the service to help others save time and money! My kids thank you for your work so that they can be with a happy mommy!

  6. Linda

    I personally can’t see buying coupons. Even when First Taste sold coupons for free products, it felt wrong. I bought them, but it irked me. To me, coupons are free and if I can’t use some, I leave them on the shelf or give away to someone who can use it.

  7. Susan

    Stamps are only going to be $1 if you buy one at time.

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