Extreme Couponing: What's legal in Central Virginia?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Phones are ringing off the hook at the Richmond Times Dispatch. People want the unsold inserts.

"If you're just going to destroy them, then can't I just have them for free? And the answer is no, it's a clause in a contract with our partners...we have to, by that contract, destroy the extra copies of the coupons leftover," said Rick Thornton, Richmond Times Dispatch VP of Audience and Content Development.

Extreme couponers have no problem rummaging through recyclables, but in most of Central Virginia, it's illegal.

"We have citizens who call that see the vehicle driving down the street taking things out of your recycling bin," said Kim Hynes, Executive Director of Central Virginia Waste Management Authority.

Most jurisdictions have anti-scavenging laws that apply to curbside recycling and drop off sites. Central Virginia Waste Management Authority doesn't agree with Extreme Couponing's message.

"Telling folks that this is something that's legal or that you're allowed to do is wrong," said Hynes.

Selling coupons is illegal, but you can purchase them within the law. For a fee, clipping services like "couponthingsbydede" charge for the work, not the coupon itself. You can buy them on EBay-but hurry. The coupon information corporation is putting pressure on EBay to eliminate coupon sales.

You can buy multiple copies at local stores-but check carefully that the inserts are there. I've taken papers home only to discover some coupons were missing.

You can change your subscription. The Times Dispatch will deliver as many as 10 copies of the Sunday paper to your doorstep.

"If there are more than $100 of coupons in the newspaper and the face price of the newspaper is $2-$2.35, depending on how you get it delivered, it's still a big, big bargain," Thornton said.

Your best bet when amassing stacks of inserts, ask your friends and family...talk to your coworkers or church members, take note of who gets the paper on your street and simply ask them for their inserts. And don't forget about internet printables.

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