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Is It Illegal To Buy Coupons Online?

We’re often asked if it’s illegal to buy coupons online.  New couponers, especially, are afraid they’re going to be nabbed by the Coupon Police and hauled off to jail.  I assure you no harm will come your way but, to put your mind at ease, let’s take a closer look.

Is It Illegal To Buy Coupons Online?

The Krazy Coupon Lady says, “No, it’s not illegal.”

According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, a popular couponing website, you have nothing to worry about. “It is not illegal to purchase coupons from a legitimate coupon clipping service that charges for clipping the coupons, however. Selling coupons is a violation of the “nontransferability clause” which is printed on every coupon.”

So she’s saying it’s OK for you to buy coupons online but it’s not OK for us to sell them to you.  I don’t know about you, but that’s only a little reassuring, so let’s look a little further.

The Balance also says it’s not illegal

An article at The Balance, another popular couponing website, discusses the legalese printed on most coupons.

“Coupons are non-assignable and are void if transferred, bought, sold, traded, exchanged for cash, other coupons, or certificates, or auctioned, from their original recipient to any other person, firm, or group prior to store redemption, or if photocopied, reproduced, or altered in any way.”

To get around this legalese, coupon clipping services typically include a disclaimer somewhere on their site that states they are not charging for the actual coupons you order, they’re only charging for their time and shipping expenses.

According to The Balance, “There is no type of legislation that I know of that says this kind of service is illegal. However, what the Federal Trade Commission states is, “Selling or transferring coupons to a third party violates most manufacturers’ coupon redemption policies – and usually voids the coupon.”

“Therefore, selling the service or buying from the service does not appear to be illegal, but the coupons that are mailed out are void and have no value and should not be redeemed. Technically by using the coupons, some couponers are getting money for something that no longer has value.”

So, what The Balance is saying is, it’s not illegal to buy coupons or sell coupons online.  However, once those coupons change hands they become invalid.  That’s a little reassuring but they still make it sound like you could be spending some time behind bars if you buy coupons online.

However…

In the very next article on The Balance they completely negate everything they just said!  Take a look at this.

Is It Illegal To Trade Coupons?

In a separate article at The Balance the author states that it’s perfectly legal to trade coupons.  You can also leave coupons on the shelf at the store, or pass them to friends or family members.

“Many manufacturers promote the idea of consumers sharing their coupons with friends, but it is the way that the sharing is done that the manufacturers want to keep control on. Handing coupons to friends, leaving unused or unwanted coupons at the grocery store, giving coupons as presents, or having a coupon exchange club is legal and ethical.”

In fact, the article focuses strictly on the fact that it is illegal to trade copied or duplicated coupons,  Any couponer worth his or her salt already knows that.

So, Let’s Go One Step Further!

Back before coins and paper money were invented, people traded in goods.  If you had a cow and you needed a new coat, you traded milk from your cow for some animal pelts.  The milk acted as currency – money – that you traded for the pelts.  And trading goods for goods lasted until money was invented.

Essentially, even in this age of plastic money or online money, we’re still trading goods for goods.  Everyone on the planet has to either sell something or produce something and exchange it for money or more goods.  So trading actual money for legitimate coupons is simply that – trading – and according to The Balance it’s perfectly legal.

Sounds Like A Good Rationalization, Right?

Of courses it does, but here’s the thing…

Manufacturers put that disclaimer on every coupon because they want to control which coupons, and how many of those coupons, are used in a particular marketing area.  They think that by putting it in ‘legalese’ they will force you into submission.  But if it’s OK for you to trade or give coupons to friends and family members, what if those friends or family members live in different marketing areas?  What if they live in another state, or clear across the country?

The point is, everybody would like to be able to legally control a lot of things in life.  The simple fact is, there are no real laws against buying or selling coupons.  And if there are no laws against it, then it can’t be illegal to buy coupons online.

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Why The Coupon Clippers charges a shipping fee and we don’t

At The Coupon Clippers you don’t get what you pay for, you get what they pay for, that’s why you have to pay more for it. Thoroughly confused? Aren’t all coupon clipping services the same? Let’s take a look at those admin fees and shipping charges that show up when you check out at The Coupon Clippers, and see how The Happy Couponer Marketplace does it better.

The Happy Couponer Marketplace vs The Coupon Clippers

Shipping Fees

At The Happy Couponer Marketplace, shipping is always free. Order 5 coupons, order 50 or order 5,000 and you’ll never see a shipping charge at checkout.

At The Coupon Clippers you’re automatically charged $.49 for shipping on every order. Small price to pay, you say?

What if you’re a savvy couponer who knows when you see a hot coupon you need to snap it up and pay for it NOW before it somebody else grabs it off the site? At THCM we have hundreds of customers who regularly place three or four or five orders – every day – because they’re looking for the hot sellers. Now, multiply that $.49 by 10 or 12 orders a week and those shipping charges really start to add up.

Surprise! Their shipping fee is even higher on large orders!

At THCM you’ll never be charged for shipping, no matter how large your order is. We frequently have customers order 200, 500 or more coupons on one single order and shipping is still always free.

Try placing an order for 500 coupons at The Coupon Clippers and you’ll see your shipping fee automatically jumps up to $5.60. That’s $5.60 in addition to the price you pay for the coupons.

Admin Fees

You can probably already guess what I’m going to say about Admin Fees. At The Happy Couponer Marketplace we don’t have any Admin Fees – ever. You pay only for the coupons you order.

At The Coupon Clippers there’s an automatic Admin Fee of $.50 added to every order, and we’ve already shown you how these multiple fees can add up over just one week.

Why The Coupon Clippers charges shipping and admin fees and we don’t

Like I said, with The Coupon Clippers you’re paying for what they get. The Coupon Clippers is just one coupon clipping service operating out of one location. To be able to offer a wider variety of coupons they order whole inserts from different marketing regions across the US. That means they have to pay shipping, handling and ‘admin fees’ to get those inserts delivered. They have to recover those costs somehow and guess how they choose to do it… That’s right. They pass those costs off to you, each time you place an order.

The Happy Couponer Marketplace is a collection of multiple coupon clipping services, each operating from their own location, in marketing areas across the United States. Each vendor has his or her own source for inserts. This enables us to offer you a wider selection of all the best coupons without having to pay those acquisition costs.

At The Happy Couponer Marketplace we’ve promised from the very beginning that we’ll never charge a shipping fee and never pass off any administration costs or hidden fees to our customers. After all, you’re couponing because you want to save money, and we want to help you save even more.

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Klip2Save Review: That $1 shipping fee adds up!

klip2save-shipping-fee-really-adds-upThe Klip2Save coupon clipping service charges a $1 shipping fee for every order.  That’s a relatively small charge in the online-shopping world. But “$1” can be pretty misleading, especially in the coupon world.  Before you know it those dollars start adding up.  This Klip2Save review will focus on their shipping and handling fees.

How Many Orders Do You Place Each Week?

If you’ve done any online shopping at all then a $1 shipping fee seems like relatively small change. Even most couponers, the most notorious penny-pinchers of all, don’t bat an eye when they see that $1 pop up at checkout. But here’s the thing…

Due to the huge demand for each week’s hottest coupons, most couponers place multiple orders. Multiple orders means multiple shipping fees.  Multiple shipping fees means it’s costing you more than you think to buy your coupons from Klip2Save.

Most coupon clipping services, Klip2Save included, have a limit on the amount of time you can hold coupons in your cart without paying for them. This time limit is in place for several reasons:

  • It’s only natural for customers to change their mind but most don’t empty their shopping cart before they leave the site. Without a time limit the coupons in that cart would never be available for sale to someone else.
  • The demand for hot coupons is generally much higher than the supply. Setting a time limit on shopping carts prevents customers from hoarding stock while they decide if they really want that coupon or shop around for better pricing.
  • Many coupons have a short expiration date. The time limit ensures that stock left in abandoned shopping carts is quickly returned to inventory so it can be sold before it expires.

Savvy couponers who regularly shop online clipping services are aware of this shopping cart time limit. When they’re looking for the week’s hot coupons they place multiple single-item orders to ensure they get that hot coupon before it drops out of their cart.

Klip2Save Review:  How Much Does $1 Shipping Really Cost?

At The Happy Couponer Marketplace our shipping is always free.  No matter how many orders you place, no matter how large or small the order. Place one order, place two orders or place ten – and many of our customers do – and your shipping charges will always be the same – FREE.

However, Klip2Save charges a $1 shipping fee on every single order you place. Place one order and your shipping fee is $1. Place 2 orders and your shipping fee is $1 PER ORDER, or $2. Place 4 orders to ensure you get those hot coupons and your shipping fee just jumped to $4.  

Klip2Save’s claim that their shipping fee is only $1 only works if you’re ordering coupons that nobody else wants. We all know when you’re after the hot coupons everyone wants that same coupon.  You need to place your order as soon as you find that coupon or you run the risk of losing it.  And since you’re probably after more than one coupon, you end up placing multiple orders.

So don’t let that $1 shipping fee at Klip2Save fool you. Remember, the Golden Rule of Couponing is:  It’s not how much you save, it’s how much you spend.  Their shipping fee might be just $1, but how many dollars are you actually spending?

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Why Klip2Save Charges A Shipping Fee And We Don’t

why-klip2save-charges-a-shipping-fee-and-we-dont-have-toWondering how The Happy Couponer Marketplace can get away with free shipping while Klip2Save has to charge you $1 for every order? Well, wonder no more. Here’s how we do it.

It’s All About Supply and Demand

Coupon values often vary from one marketing region to another. For example, couponers in California might see a Maruchan coupon valued at $1 off when you buy 2, while at the same time Ohio couponers might see that Maruchan coupon valued at $1 off when you buy 3.

Experienced coupon clipping services understand that couponers everywhere are going to be looking for that $1/2 coupon. They also understand that if they want to make their customers happy they better find it.

Why Klip2Save Has To Charge You For Shipping

In the coupon world profit margins are already understandably narrow. After all, no matter how hot a coupon is, if you had to spend more for the coupon than you save when you used it you’d put away your scissors forever. And, because coupon values are relatively low compared to other products you buy online, it stands to reason that profits are also relatively low.

Most coupon clipping services, Klip2Save included, are operated by one clipper who resides in one marketing area with access to only that one marketing region’s particular insert coupons. In order to offer their customers those higher-value coupons from other marketing regions they have to pay a supplier in that other region to find and ship them the inserts.

So it’s easy to see why Klip2Save adds that $1 shipping charge to all of their orders. They’re paying multiple suppliers in multiple marketing regions to find and ship them the different inserts. The only way to recoup that cost and make a profit is to add that extra $1 to every order you place.

Think that $1 shipping fee is cheap? Think about how many orders you place each week.  That $1 shipping fee really adds up!

Why We Don’t Have To

At The Happy Couponer Marketplace we have the same inventory concerns as Klip2Save. We know you’re looking for those high-value coupons. We also know if we don’t have them you’ll go somewhere else. The difference is this:

We have coupon clippers located in every major marketing region in the United States. We don’t have to buy their inserts and then pay them to ship them to us. At The Happy Couponer Marketplace we hook you up so you can order directly from the coupon clipping servce that has the coupon you’re looking for.

Not only do we eliminate our cost of acquiring the coupons, we eliminate those extra shipping charges to get that stock, too. And since our costs are lower we’re able to keep your costs lower and offer you free shipping on every order – No matter how many orders you place and no matter how large or small the order.

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The Happy Couponer vs Klip2Save: Let’s talk about shipping fees

The Happy Couponer Marketplace never charges a shipping fee. Compare us to Klip2Save and most other coupon clipping services and you’ll find that we’re unqiue. You’ll probably also find yourself asking, “How do they do it?” But we’re wondering, “Why are you still buying coupons from them?!”

Let’s Compare Shipping Fees

At The Happy Coupon all of our orders ship for free, via standard USPS First Class Mail. Of course, we also offer Priority shipping for an additional fee, but let’s compare apples to apples.

The Happy Couponer – USPS First Class Mail – Always FREE for every order

Klip2Save – USPS First Class Mail – Always $1 for every order

What Happens When You Place Multiple Orders?

The demand for hot coupons is generally greater than the supply, and experienced couponers know that most clipping services won’t let coupons linger in a shopping cart long before the coupons revert back to open stock.

Consequently, instead of spending time browsing the site for all the coupons they want, most experienced coupons place and pay for multiple single-item orders to ensure they get those hot coupons.

At The Happy Couponer Marketplace our shipping is always free, regardless of how many coupons you order or how many orders you place during your shopping trip.

At Klip2Save you pay an additional $1 shipping fee for every single order.

How Much Are You Really Paying Klip2Save to Ship Your Coupons?

Let’s imagine you’re looking for 3 hot coupons this week – The $1/2 Maruchan coupon, the $.45 Angel Soft coupon and the coupon for $5/1 Hydroxycut product. You know every other couponer on the planet is also looking for these coupons so when you find them you’re going to have to grab them – fast!

At Klip2Save, worried that you’ll lose the coupons if you don’t act fast, you place a seperate order as you find each coupon. Then you go back and place a fourth order for all of your regular coupon needs. Your grand total at Klip2Save for shipping for all four orders is $4.

Now, repeat that same scenario at The Happy Couponer Marketplace. Go ahead and place those same 4 orders and your shipping will be zero dollars. In other words, no matter how many orders you place and no matter how large or small the order, your shipping from The Happy Couponer will always be free!

Every Penny Counts

You’re obiously a savvy shopper. You could be buying multiple Sunday papers every week to get those inserts. Instead, you buy your coupons online and spend less money acquiring only the coupons you want, in larger quantities than you could afford if you had to buy a paper for every insert.

So it only makes sense to also consider the shipping costs you’re paying to have those coupons delivered. In a world where every penny counts and you pride yourself on the money you save every week using coupons, why would you continue to pay the Klip2Save clipping fees when you can get your coupons shipped free every week from The Happy Couponer Marketplace?

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Coupon Clipping Services: Us vs The Other Guys

We placed orders with 3 other coupon clipping services.  Wait ’til you see our results!

We’ve got a pretty good system down, here at The Happy Couponer, and since we’re fast approaching our One Year Anniversary we thought it would be a good idea to check out some of the other clipping services out there and see how we rate. The results, to say the least, were surprising!

This morning we placed orders with three popular clipping services – Klip2Save, The Coupon Clippers, and Coupons Clipped Cheap.

Please note: We’re not afraid to give you the links to these other clipping services. Grandpa always said, “If you can’t run with the big dogs then stay on the porch.” We think we’re keeping pace with the pack, and maybe even gaining a little.

Today we’re going to talk about our ordering process vs their ordering process. We just placed all three orders this morning so we’ll have to wait a few days to talk about shipping times and such.

Site Navigation and Ease of Use

This is the one area where we know The Happy Couponer needs a lot of work. Our coupon clipping website has only been up since September, so we’ve come a long way from the days when we just had a big page of links with Paypal buttons that you had to scroll through.

Maybe it’s because we’re super self-critical, but we found that, with all three of the other sites, it was much easier to place an order than it is at The Happy Couponer. We’re working on making this better – all the time. Unfortunately, we’re not computer whizzes, so every baby-step for us is like a giant leap for the other guys.

On the plus side, we’re always around to answer questions when you have problems placing an order. One of us is online from about 5 am to 8 pm EST almost every day.

Update:  On April 1 we launched our New & Improved Happy Couponer Coupon Clipping Service and the results are amazing!  We’re runnin’ with the BIG dogs, now!

Update:  On April 1, 2015 we launched our NEW, New & Improved Happy Couponer Marketplace!

Coupon Selection

After scrolling through the other sites, The Happy Couponer seems to be holding its own as far as coupon selection is concerned. Sure, we saw a few different coupons on other sites, but they were mixed in, in the same order and with the same coupons we carry which leads us to believe those few oddballs are regional coupons included only in select marketing areas. We probably have a few of those on our site, too.  

Coupon Availability

We looked at two things here: When coupons are posted and ordering limits.

When coupons are posted: At least two of the other sites say they already have next week’s coupons clipped, sorted and ready to ship. Bully for them, but we don’t think it matters. In the past, we’ve listed new coupons as early as the Thursday before they come out in the paper and we’ve seen no difference in the number of coupons ordered or the number of orders placed.

The orders for the new coupons just come in earlier because the coupons are posted earlier. Let’s face it, you order coupons based on two things: the sales in your area and your own personal needs. Sale prices change every week and vary from marketing area to marketing area. It might be a hot coupon for you this week, then it’ll be a hot coupon for somebody else next week, so aiming for “hot” is like aiming at a moving target.

And your own personal needs, well, they’re YOURS and they vary from person to person. We have people who order from us 4 or 5 times a week – on a regular basis – so we’re not worried about how early we post ’em, we just worry about getting them on the site fast enough so you have time to use ’em.

Order Limits:  We’ve frequently seen those other sites set limits on how many coupons you can purchase. Right now, even as we speak, Coupons Clipped Cheap is limiting their customers to only 10 Wet ‘n Wild coupons per day. In one way, this is a good thing. Setting limits helps make sure everybody gets some.

But we think it’s also a bad thing – in many ways: 

You rack up more shipping fees because you have to place multiple orders. (Yes, those other sites charge shipping fees. We’ll get to that in a minute.)

It forces YOU to come back and place another order tomorrow if you want more. And let’s face it – if you want 100 Wet ‘n Wild coupons NOW you’re gonna go where you can find ’em – NOW.

Limiting how many coupons you can order would mean we’d lose your business, you wouldn’t get the coupons you need when you need ’em, and ultimately, we’d be stuck with a lot of expired Wet ‘n Wild coupons!

At The Happy Couponer we never set limits on the number of coupons you can order.

Clipping Fees

While we have to give points to all three of the other sites for their websites, The Happy Couponer definitely rises above the competition when it comes to clipping fees.

Our clipping fee is only $.08 per coupon. Period. Regardless of the value or popularity of the coupon.

Clipping fees on the other three sites start at $.08 (we did see one $.05 coupon in there somewhere) but they rise right along with the coupon’s value or popularity.

Here’s a few examples:

$5/1 any Nature Made CoQ10 product (3/2/2014) Klip2Save – $.40 The Coupon Clippers – $.35 Coupons Clipped Cheap – $.20 The Happy Couponer – $.08

Here’s an even better example, using the popular Wet ‘n Wild $1-Off coupon: Klip2Save – $.12 The Coupon Clippers – $.15 Coupons Clipped Cheap – $.10 The Happy Couponer – $.08

Now, that 7-cent difference between their price and ours might not seem like much, BUT… We had several customers order 150 of the Wet ‘n Wild coupon. That 7-cent difference means their coupons would have cost $10.50 more if they’d ordered them from another site. That’s 10 Free bottles of nail polish they lost!

It takes the same amount of time to clip a $10-off coupon as it does to clip a $.50 coupon. Why charge a higher clipping fee? Because some people will pay it!

Shipping and Administration fees 

We’ve always offered free First Class Mail delivery – even if you only order one coupon. (And trust us – we do have people order only one, just to test us out!)

So imagine our surprise when we saw this:

Klip2Save – $1 added to our order to cover shipping (We ordered 20 coupons. The most this would cost is $.49.) Coupons Clipped Cheap – $.99 added to our order to cover shipping. (Again, we only ordered 20 coupons.) The Coupon Clippers – This was the most surprising of all! We tried to order just 10 coupons but we got this message: Total must be at least $3.96 including shipping and administration fees! So we bumped up our order to hit that mark and our receipt showed $.49 for shipping and $.50 for “administration fees.”

So, let’s say you wanted to order 100 of those Wet ‘n Wild $1-Off coupons that are always so popular. How would The Happy Couponer shake out in the mix?

Us vs Klip2SaveOrder total from Klip2Save: $12 + $1 shipping = $13. Order total from The Happy Couponer: $8.

Us vs The Coupon ClippersOrder total from The Coupon Clippers: $15 + $.99 = $15.99. Order total from The Happy Couponer: $8.

Us vs Coupons Clipped CheapOrder total from Coupons Clipped Cheap: $10 + ($.99 x 10) for shipping = $19.90! (You would have to place 1 order per day for 10 days to get your 100 coupons from Coupons Clipped Cheap.) Order total from The Happy Couponer: $8 (And you could order them all at the same time!)

In all three cases you would pay a lot more for your Wet ‘n Wild coupons from one of those other clipping services.

Even if you ordered an 8-cent coupon from one of those other services it would still end up costing you more than it would if you ordered from The Happy Couponer because they all charge shipping and/or administration fees on every order.

Obviously, since your main reason for couponing is to save money, we think that pretty much says it all. But we’re not going to call a winner here until we see how what happens with our 3 deliveries. Stay tuned and we’ll post our results in a few days!