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SAN JOSE, Calif. - Online auction site ebay has said it will ban the sale of recently expired coupons and electronic "scanned" coupons, according to the Wall Street Journal Online. The company will also set a limit on the sale of Internet home-printed coupons and coupons for "free" products with no purchase required to two per listing.
The changes follow opposition by manufacturers and retailers who are facing a growing amount of coupon fraud since computer users have figured out how to manipulate and reproduce both downloaded Internet coupons and traditional ones from newspaper inserts.
"We've seen a few isolated incidences over the last year, so it seemed to be a good practice to implement such limits that could reduce the potential for problems on eBay," Robert Chesnut, v.p. of rules, trust and safety at eBay, told the Wall Street Journal.
Counterfeit coupons sold on eBay began showing up in the South and Midwest back in August, and in reaction, the Grocery Manufacturers of America and Food Marketing Institute wrote eBay a letter expressing concern.
EBay discussed possible solutions with the trade groups over the past few months and implemented the new policies Wednesday, according to the report.
Online coupon companies, such as San Francisco-based Coupons Inc., expressed approval of eBay's policy change. "Not having eBay as a distribution vehicle for fraudulent coupons is a big aid to us," said Steven Boal, c.e.o. of Coupons Inc.