Missing Coupon Inserts and What You Can Do

Joy S. writes, “I bought a Sunday newspaper from the newsstand machine last week. There was only one copy left and the inserts were missing. What can I do?”

Many KCLs have been in this situation and asked this exact question. Below are the possible reasons why and what actions you can take.

Possibility #1: Theft
The number one conclusion couponers jump to: missing inserts equals theft on another’s part. This may be the case in some areas.  To clarify, it is ILLEGAL to take coupon inserts from a newspaper you did not purchase. Krazy Coupon Ladies have high ethical standards and do not participate in theft of any kind, including taking inserts without paying for each.

Possibility #2: No insert Sunday
On many national holidays, newspapers carry fewer or no inserts (New Years, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas).

Possibility #3: Limited inserts
Several newspaper companies only have a certain number of inserts and ad circulars available for distribution on any given Sunday. The first priority is to the home delivery customers, and then the various newsstands/ stores. If your newsstand newspaper did not have inserts, this may very well be the reason why: there were simply not enough that week to make it to all the stores.

Possibility #4: Newspaper availability
Some smaller newspapers do not carry inserts at all, or only have certain ones available. The latter tends to occur when an area receives RedPlum, Procter & Gamble, or Smart Source in their weekly mail that comes with their store ad flyers. Thus, those newspapers are less likely to carry the mailed inserts.

Actions to take:

  1. Always check the Sunday Coupon Preview before purchasing a paper. If there are not going to be any inserts that week, feel free to skip the stands.
  2. Know your paper. Ask each company which inserts they regularly carry so you’ll know if one is missing or not.
  3. If you are missing inserts, contact the newspaper customer service and explain your situation. They are very likely to state Possibility #3 and claim that they do not guarantee inserts in newsstand papers. However, some newspapers may give you a refund or a new paper.
  4. If possible, opt for an open stand in the store over a machine. When you buy from an store’s open stand, you have the ability to quickly scan and insure that the inserts are there. If you buy from a machine and none of the newspapers have the inserts, it’s a sunk cost.
  5. Home delivered papers are the most likely to have their inserts intact. Call around to local papers and ask if they have deals for Sunday only subscriptions and/ or multiple copy plans. We recommend at least one newspaper per person in your household.
  6. If your local newspapers do not carry inserts or you do not have a newspaper available in your area, look into coupon swapping with friends, trading with other KCLs, or purchasing whole inserts online.  Make sure if you are buying whole inserts online that they are from a credible and reliable source. Research where they get their inserts from and verify that they are purchasing the inserts and obtaining them legally.