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New Policies Implemented for Coupon Resale on eBay

Washington - Online auction site eBay has implemented a number of new policies for the resale of coupons on its site, which are designed to reduce the possibility of abuse while improving the efficiency of the secondary market, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have announced.

The two organizations worked closely with eBay to develop the new policies, which include:

- Creating three subcategories on its site for coupons (in the Food and Wine section, the Health and Beauty section, and the Gift Certificates section) to make it easier to find items, including potentially improper listings.

- Banning the sale of all expired coupons on its site, while reserving the right to permit the sale of old, unredeemable coupons that have become collectibles.

- Banning the sale of "electronic" coupons, including coupons that are scanned and delivered by e-mail, and requiring physical delivery of all coupons sold through the site.

- Banning bulk coupon sales (defined as lots of more than 20 coupons for the same product, or more than 100 mixed coupons). Bulk sales have a higher potential for abuse than do individual sales.

- Limiting the sale of "free product, no purchase required" coupons to no more than two per listing, and limiting home-printed Internet coupons to no more than two per listing.

"eBay recognizes that some coupon sales have a higher potential for abuse than others. We commend them for their commitment to working with the industry," said GMA president and c.e.o. Manly Molpus.

"Coupon fraud costs retailers and manufacturers untold millions of dollars each year," said FMI president and c.e.o. Timothy Hammonds. "We believe the actions will help curb fraud and abuse, and we appreciate the cooperation that we've received from eBay."

The site has added details on these new policies to its list of "Prohibited and Restricted Items" under the heading of "Manufacturers' Coupons," to give users general information about coupon abuse and transferability issues.

In addition, eBay is providing a contact person within its fraud investigations department, to assist the CPG industry in reviewing suspicious listings or sellers.
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