Confessions of a Mail-In Rebate Junkie

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FROM SCOTT:
 
Two more steps before the "nuclear option":
 
1. Contact customer service of the company offering the rebate.  The rebate processor has selfish reasons to not pay and make you discouraged.  The company offering the rebate has selfish reasons to make you a happy longterm customer.

2. If the company that offered the rebate is publicly traded, contact
their investor relations group
.  Start with "I'm a longtime customer and also a shareholder.  I have concerns about how customers are being treated when using rebates offered by <company name>.  For example...".

In my experience, dealing with the rebate processor works 90% of the time.  Dealing with customer service at the company offering the rebate works for 90% of the remaining cases.  Investor relations works in the few remaining (I've only needed to use it once).  I've never had to use the nuclear option (for rebates -- had to use it for a car warranty, but it didn't work).

FROM MARK:

It seems to me that you would "save thousands" if you did not
buy products with rebates. I have also lost/thrown away packaging
material (sometimes referred to as "trash") only to find out later an emblem off the box was required for the rebate request, which was due yesterday. I just finished a compaint letter about a $10 rebate I recently received after waiting for so long I had forgotten about, only to find that it was already expired.  Boycott Rebate Scams!

FROM MARTIN:
 
Have you (or any readers) any comments on the ultimate rebate scam, fomerly known as CYBERREBATE.COM?
 
I remember scanning their website, thinking that $50 was a little too much to pay for a flashlight even with a $50 rebate, and passing it by.  Anyone else?

FROM UNKNOWN:

Very organized. Good info.  You could teach an adult ed. course: "Rebate Know How".

Almost everything I know about rebates is on the web page.  It would be a very short course.  But thanks.

FROM LARRYMOEANDCURLY:

Great advice about rebates, but I'd like to add that proofs of purchase (UPC, etc.) should be stapled or glued to their rebate form because many are lost when the envelopes are emptied.

FROM PAUL:

Thanks, I can't wait to use these tips to try to collect my rebate on my Lexar Memory Stick.  I sent in the paper work a couple of months ago and haven't heard anything since.

I collected a Lexar rebate a few months ago.  They were reasonably prompt and paid off on the first go-around.  My guess is they'll pay if you politely follow up.  Good luck.

FROM UNKNOWN:

I recently learned that California (or maybe only some counties) have passed a law that holds retailers (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) ultimately responsible for any unpaid rebate claims.  Word is this will lead to more "no rebate required" deals.  Maybe not quite the savings of a MIR but definitely a lot safer for the consumer.  Enjoyed the article.  Thanks.

After being sued by the Ohio Attorney General and essentially held responsible for the payment of manufacturer rebates on products sold in their store, Best Buy announced that it is phasing out mail-in rebates in their store.  The link is here:

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050401/earns_best_buy.html?.v=9

I personally believe that this decision is going to hurt Best Buy more than it will hurt those of us who aggressively collect mail-in rebates.  Best Buy's decision to end mail-in rebates puts them in a tough competitive situation.  For example:  Many retailers offer software and other products that are "free after mail-in rebate."  How is Best Buy going to match that offer without mail-in rebates?  Hand the products out for free at the front door?  It'll be interesting to see how they remain competitive in their new rebateless environment.

FROM CHRIS:

I'm with you. I've saved hundreds to thousands on rebates and never lost a single one. I hear people complain all the time, but it's either because they didn't follow the instructions or they didn't call back and ask about the rebate.  As long as you follow up you'll get your money!  Rebates are great!



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