All You April 2015

Well, apparently All You magazine’s explanation/not-quite-apology wasn’t good enough for the coupon industry. Weeks after the April issue hit the stands, in which an article controversially suggested that readers buy coupons on eBay, two coupon professional associations are chiding the magazine and calling for a more meaningful apology.

The statement was released this morning at the Association of Coupon Professionals’ Industry Coupon Conference, an annual gathering of coupon industry insiders. This year, as in years past, All You representatives were in attendance and presented a “consumer panel” so industry members could “learn the latest thoughts and insights from your consumers.”

In their joint statement, the ACP and Coupon Information Corporation said they “have jointly communicated our deep disappointment and concern to All You magazine, as the magazine recently published an article advocating that its readers purchase manufacturers’ cents-off coupons from eBay auctioneers.” The statement continued as follows:

“The situation was particularly discomforting in that All You magazine has been known as having been active in the industry and knowledgeable about coupon issues.

As is widely recognized in the industry, the sale of manufacturers’ cents-off coupons violates the terms and conditions printed on virtually every coupon issued in the United States. We have worked closely with eBay over the past 18 months in order to reduce these improper auctions. This cooperation has resulted in a substantial reduction of manufacturers’ cents-off coupon auctions on eBay. Additionally, most other well-known auction sites have either prohibited or severely restricted coupon sales.

We believe this article was a disservice to readers and the coupon issuing advertisers in the publication who prohibit the sale of their coupons. It is now our sincere hope that All You magazine will 1) remove the article from any of its online versions/website; 2) retract the article in its next print edition; and 3) make a reasonable effort to educate its editors and staff about coupons to prevent a repetition of this unfortunate situation.

In addition, we also recommend that the appropriate All You editors and staff stay connected and involved in the coupon industry by attending informative seminars and conferences offered by our longtime industry associations.”


How’s that for a very public smackdown?

It took All You several days to respond to a request for comment about its initial article; representatives have not yet responded to a followup request for comment on the ACP/CIC statement.

The April edition of the magazine came out, coincidentally enough, during the Coupon Information Corporation’s own annual conference last month. At that gathering, the CIC presented an award to eBay for its “outstanding efforts to eliminate the scourge of counterfeit and stolen coupons” on its site. Many of the coupons available for sale on eBay and other online sites are believed to have been obtained illegally, provided to sellers by insiders at newspaper warehouses and elsewhere, who are not authorized to remove and redistribute them.

So All You’s article suggesting that readers buy coupons on eBay came at a particularly inopportune time, just as the industry was celebrating some success. “Just a year ago, there were more than 100,000 coupon auctions a day on eBay,” CIC executive director Bud Miller said in announcing the eBay award. “Through enhanced policies and enforcement efforts, eBay has reduced this number by more than 96% on an average day.”

Some coupon users may – and do – debate whether coupon sales are really so wrong. The “void if sold” wording on coupons does not carry the force of law, and it’s difficult to enforce. But the industry’s efforts are about more than just discouraging a practice they don’t particularly like. By eliminating as many avenues for coupon sales as possible, they’re aiming to stop the widespread theft and redistribution of coupon inserts, as well as lessening the demand for counterfeit coupons.

In a statement several days after the April edition and its controversial piece of advice came out, All You backtracked a bit, admitting that “most manufacturers’ coupons are void if transferred or sold. So it’s critical to check the terms and conditions of the coupon, as well as of any site that offers them.” The article’s author told Coupons in the News that she wasn’t aware you could even buy coupons on eBay until she “came across the tip in another magazine article,” and had no idea there was anything controversial about it.

Presumably her editors did, though. Or maybe they didn’t. Hence the ACP and CIC’s suggestion that All You “educate its editors and staff about coupons.”

Especially for a magazine that presumes to educate its readers about coupons, it seems they could use some schooling of their own. And they certainly appear to have gotten schooled today.


  1. I’ve been getting that magazine for 2 years now, there USED to be alot of coupons in the mag. Last month there were 2. I’m not renewing the subscription.

  2. The subscription I had was $12 for 1 year and I supposed that if there was 1 usable coupon pr month it would pay for itself. Not so. A couple of days ago I received an email saying they would like me back and had a special offer for one year for only $50. ???

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