What do you do when your newspapers are missing coupon inserts?

Dale sent in this great question:

What do you normally do when you purchase newspapers from the store and they are missing inserts? I got 4 papers and all of them only had a RedPlum. No Smartsource inserts.

Ack, I hate it when that happens!  I mean, seriously, doesn’t everyone buy the newspaper for the coupons? ;)

Well, here’s the deal: if you bought extra newspapers at the gas station or grocery store and they don’t have coupon inserts, there’s not a lot you can do about it.  Here’s what happens, based on my research:

The coupon insert companies pay the newspapers in insertion fee for a certain number of coupon inserts.  The newspaper then puts that pre-determined amount of coupon inserts in their newspapers, starting with the papers for subscribers, then the papers that go to gas stations and grocery stores, and then the ones that they put in the newspaper vending boxes.

So, the newspaper company doesn’t necessarily get a coupon insert for every single newspaper they print.  If you’re a subscriber, you should get all the inserts since subscribers are first priority.  However, sometimes the papers at gas stations and grocery stores don’t have all the inserts because there weren’t enough to go around; and the vending boxes are the worst about not having the inserts.

What can you do if the paper you bought at the gas station doesn’t have a coupon insert?  Once you’ve purchased it, there’s not much you can do.  It’s going to be hard to explain to the cashier that you want to exchange the newspaper you got because it didn’t have all the ads you were expecting.

However, it’s very easy it check the newspaper for the coupon inserts before you purchase them.  I strongly advise always checking for the inserts before you buy the paper, just to be sure they’re there.  Most of the time there’s not an issue, but sometimes the inserts do get stolen, the newspapers aren’t stuffed properly, or they ran out of inserts.

If you’re a newspaper subscriber and didn’t get all the inserts in your paper (remember, it varies from week to week, so you can check our site on Fridays for a preview of how many inserts we will probably be getting that Sunday), I would call the newspaper and maybe try to have them redeliver or get a credit issued to your account.


  1. I have had papers delivered in the past missing inserts. As long as you call before 11 am on Sunday, they will send a driver with either the missing inserts or sometimes a complete paper. They are always pretty nice about it!!!