Following closely in the footsteps of online-auction giant, eBay, eCrater announced on July 24, 2013, that they, too, would restrict the sale of manufacturer’s coupons. In fact, they’re not going to allow them on the site at all. Extreme couponers who planned to use eCrater to buy and sell mountains of coupons will have to find some other way to subsidize their grocery bills.
Earlier this month eBay announced new, tighter restrictions for coupon sellers. Instead of selling thousands of coupons per month, each seller would be limited to selling only 25 coupons for a maximum of $100 per month.
Ebay’s previous policy had already severely restricted sellers. The maximum number of coupons allowed per listing was 20, and each batch had to have its own separate listing. Typical coupon sellers like Jessica Crowe often had to post 100 to 200 listings per week just to keep up with buyer-demand. With eBay taking a 10 percent cut from each sale, plus eBay listing fees, it would seem the site was making a nice profit.
Ebay claims the restrictions are to help prevent coupon fraud, but Crowe disagrees. She believes the edict is coming from the manufacturers.
“In today’s economy people have to shave pennies wherever they can. With TV shows like ‘Extreme Couponing’, coupons are becoming popular again, even men are starting to use grocery coupons. In the past, the average shopper would see a coupon in the paper, clip it, and then forget to use it when they went shopping. It was cheap advertising for the manufacturer because the customer would buy the product anyway. Now, people are really using those coupons and it’s cutting into the manufacturers’ profits.”
When eBay announced to sellers that they were further tightening the restrictions on coupon sales, sellers started looking for other options and many chose eCrater, another online-auction site similar to eBay. However, all that new traffic sent up some red flags.
Ecrater is a newer company, without the clout that eBay has. Fearing they may be breaking some trade rules if they allowed coupon sales, the company decided not to even bother with restrictions and guidelines, they’d just ban the sale of coupons completely.
Most sellers only made pennies per listing and they used that money to supplement their own grocery budgets. But coupon-buyers will suffer, too. The average extreme-couponer saves more than 50 percent on her weekly grocery bill by buying coupons in bulk at sites like eBay.
Crowe wants to tell coupon buyers not to panic. She, and others like her, had already anticipated problems with eCrater, especially since the site was so new. She says the reputable sellers who want to stay in business will find a way.
“I set up my own website and blog at The Happy Couponer so I don’t have to deal with some other site’s restrictions ever again. Now I can give my customers exactly what they want, whether it’s one coupon or one hundred. With three inserts coming out in the paper this weekend, I can’t afford not to have a selling platform. Too many of my customers are relying on me to help them save money on their groceries.”
Donna Anderson has many interests, so she writes about lots of things for lots of different websites. The best way to keep up with her? Follow her on Twitter @SheWritesaLot or send her an email at email@example.com . You’ll be glad you did!
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