RedPlum issues new warning to coupon buyers and resellers



When you were browsing through your new coupon inserts this weekend, did you happen to notice the fine print at the top of the RedPlum inserts? Both inserts have identical warnings at the top:

“AVOID COUPON FRAUD: The coupons in this booklet are void under the manufacturer’s rules if they are bought or sold. These booklets are intended for individual home or newspaper distribution. If you are buying or selling these booklets in bulk, you are likely trafficking in stolen property, which is illegal under state and federal law.”

Publishers have been exploring ways to cut down on fraudulent insert distribution and curb coupon insert resellers. Coupon insert theft was in the news off and on last year, including one notable bust where a police officer was stealing coupon inserts from a newspaper distribution center for resale. 

Recent efforts to curtail both insert theft and resale have focused on a southern California newspaper distribution center. In December, Procter & Gamble stopped offering its Brandsaver coupon insert to this distribution center, which resulted in many coupon resellers announcing to their audiences that P&G simply didn’t issue a December insert, or was going “digital” that month. Not true — it seems that P&G simply got tired of their inserts falling into the wrong hands. 

Of course, when a publisher pulls out of a certain market, it meant that many southern Californians went without their Brandsaver last month, not just those looking to commit coupon fraud. I’m sure it was frustrating for the households that were suddenly cut off from their expected P&G coupons, and this is a sad after-effect of coupon resale. In the long run, the resellers’ efforts hurt everyone

This month, Valassis has followed suit by pulling its RedPlum inserts, and once again, Southern California is affected. From Coupons In The News

Valassis, the publisher of the RedPlum inserts, is doubling down on its recent efforts to thwart coupon insert sellers. A month after yanking Procter & Gamble’s brandSAVER from a suspected insert-theft problem area, it’s now done the same with its own inserts. And other coupon inserts, in other parts of the country, could be next.

It’s all happening right now in Southern California, an area where coupon inserts are in high demand among buyers, sellers – and thieves. Large-scale sellers who peddle thousands of inserts online each week have discovered that RedPlum inserts from that region are now particularly hard to find. Their realization comes a month after the December edition of the P&G insert also became scarce.

That’s because Valassis distributes P&G’s inserts in Southern California. And last month, it declined to deliver them to a particular distribution center whose security was determined to be suspect. The reaction from many insert sellers, who suddenly found that they could no longer get their regular supply of brandSAVERs from the Los Angeles area, seemed to confirm P&G’s and Valassis’ suspicions – enough so, that Valassis now appears to be withholding its RedPlum inserts from the same facility.

(Read the entire article at Coupons In The News.)

Two years ago, I heard from quite a few of my Florida readers complaining that RedPlum coupon inserts were no longer available in the Tampa area, and this too was due to coupon reseller fraud

With the apparent extent of the fraud going on at this particular southern California newspaper distribution center, it does make me wonder what else is going on behind the scenes. Many coupon users have long been calling for the end to coupon insert resale, and each person arrested for coupon insert theft elicits collective cheers from the ethical couponing community.

However, pulling the inserts out of an entire region punishes the honest couponers who simply want to receive their coupons in the paper. (Arguably, these readers are already being punished if the inserts they’re supposed to receive each week are being stolen from the warehouse and aren’t reaching all of the paper’s subscribers.)

One would think that the newspaper would have more incentive to stop the source that is removing inserts from the distribution center in the first place — tens of thousands of inserts are finding their ways into multiple resellers’ hands every week. If you or I stole tens of thousands of products from a business, week after week, we’d face some sort of prosecution! The fact that this level of theft has continued unchecked is disturbing. 

If thieves kept robbing the same bank, week after week, wouldn’t that bank investigate, arrest and prosecute the people involved? Instead, it’s as if they’ve concluded that a better solution is to stop keeping money in the bank so there’s nothing to steal. 


  1. Ann Taylor says

    It is a shame that the work of the bad people punish the good people who need the coupons the most ! There needs to be stricter punishment of this crime and heavy fines ! Maybe that would cure the problem ! So the good people do not have to suffer because of the bad and their crimes!

  2. Michael says

    I have never understood why someone doesn’t just arrest the SELLERS. Don’t they now know for a fact they were dealing in stolen property when they are all announcing they suddenly don’t have any more Brandsavers and RedPlums for sale from this newspaper? That is proof they have been dealing in stolen merchandise!

    Isn’t the newspaper losing money now too because they get paid to put the inserts in the paper & don’t have them anymore? Don’t they have a financial stake in this that would cause them to freaking wake up and say hey, we’ve got a huge problem here? Something really stinks about this situation.

    • Agate says

      Some people buy the newspaper just for the coupons. There will be lots of subscribers cancellation therefore loss of revenue for newspaper.

    • I Buy Coupons So What says

      I Buy Coupons. They are never going to stop this! The sellers I buy from are honest. They are getting these from the newspaper. They work so hard to get them for us. I ordered those December PG and then it is true they only release print at home coupons for LA that month. You can’t prove the inserts my sellers are selling came from here and are stolen. I got my order December cancelled but it’s just because they didn’t know about printable versions PG only in LA.

      • says

        Actually, it’s very easy for investigators to figure out that they are stolen. Many resellers brag that they have tens of thousands of uncirculated inserts, and they’re selling them one to two weeks before those inserts are even due to be issued in the newspaper. The inserts have the name of the newspaper/publication PRINTED along the spine. It’s easy to tell which paper they’re being stolen from.

        You honestly think that RedPlum and P&G are simultaneously giving/selling inserts to your seller (weeks BEFORE they are due to drop) while at the same time pulling them out of this particular southern California newspaper distribution center entirely to prevent these same inserts from unauthorized distribution by others? You cannot have it both ways.

        Read again: There is NO LEGAL WAY to obtain tens of thousands of pristine inserts weeks ahead of their issue UNLESS they are being stolen.

        By buying them, you are BUYING stolen merchandise. You are an accessory to a crime. You’re taking inserts that were supposed to go in someone else’s paper, and you are ENCOURAGING criminals to continue stealing to further your appetite.

        Oh, and you’re making them rich. Doing the math on the volume of inserts being stolen and sold (many sellers, stupidly, publish their inventories for the world to see) it’s easy to calculate that they are raking in six figures a year for their efforts.

        These are not “little moms'” side jobs you’re supporting. They are large scale operations.

        P&G releases printable coupons all the time. They did not “only issue printables in LA” last month. The rest of the country got their P&G inserts for December.

        • C.D. says

          Git’em Coupon Maven! I had no idea that people were stealing coupons just to turn around and sell them. Thanks to your site I never purchased any coupons online! People need their feet held to the fire………

  3. soapboxtray says

    If these people (thieves) could spend this much effort in something good and productive instead of bad… they could do something GREAT I am sure… makes me sad. There are so many deals out there to worry about massive supplies of items. I don’t understand it, why people feel they have to buy huge supplies of coupons. Amazing to me.

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