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Mail-In Rebates......


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24 replies to this topic

#1 of 25 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 22 2006 - 07:24 AM

I've been buying alot of junk this year...some necessary, and some not so necessary. Several purchases lured me in because of a nice rebate(s) involved. But in my experiences with the rebates so far, I get the feeling that some of the fulfillment houses don't really like to live up to their end of the bargain, and if they do, they employ seemingly sneaky tactics to swindle out of the payment. For example, some of my rebates have arrived disguised as junk mail. Do they do this hoping that seeing it will trigger our automatic response to throw away anything that looks like junk mail?...Another example is my Sandisk CF Card rebate check that arrived yesterday. I kid you not, it looks just like a postcard w/ the dollar amount payable to me printed on the outside for all to see. I am afraid that a teller will view it as being bogus, and call the cops on me. Not only that, but it says on the cover: "VOID AFTER OCT. XXTH 2006". What if it was lost in the mail?...Or I receive it late? Will I not be able to cash it?

Then there are some places that after submitting for the rebates, I haven't heard from in months. When I call to inquire, or do a search on their website, there is no record of my submission "call again in a couple of weeks" is what they keep telling me. And it seems that everyone now makes you jump through hoops to file your rebate. If you don't dot every "i", and cross every "t", they refuse the rebate and some won't even allow you to resubmit. Granted, I've got some of the rebates, but my experience this summer has soured me on mail-in rebates to the point where I feel "why bother?" The only positive exception w/ mail-in rebates I have found is Dell. Out of 6 purchases I've made w/ them, I've gotten every rebate within 3 weeks or less...NEVER more than that. Strangely, that seems to be the only thing they're doing right nowadays.

If the manufacturers are so reluctant to pay up on their own offers, why even offer the rebate in the first place?
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#2 of 25 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 22 2006 - 07:31 AM

Yeah, it's best to not even think about the rebate. Just buy the product with it's original price in mind. If you are counting on the rebate, you'll most likely be disappointed.
Quote:
it looks just like a postcard w/ the dollar amount payable to me printed on the outside
LOL - I've gotten those before. Posted Image It does make you feel weird, trying to cash it. I almost feel like I'm holding a crayon drawing that says "Please give Mark $10".

#3 of 25 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted August 22 2006 - 08:26 AM

Yeah, fulfillment houses try to reject as many rebates as possible. Note how complicated the rules are, or how often a "$30 rebate" is actually 3 $10 ones, to make more work for you and increase the chances of you missing one.


> I kid you not, it looks just like a postcard w/ the dollar amount payable to me printed on the outside for all to see. I am afraid that a teller will view it as being bogus, and call the cops on me. Not only that, but it says on the cover: "VOID AFTER OCT. XXTH 2006". What if it was lost in the mail?...Or I receive it late? Will I not be able to cash it?

I don't see the problem. The postcards cut their cost, & there's nothing wrong with them.

Call the cops on you? For cashing a check? I think the worst case would be if it were invalid & they refused to cash it.

Most rebate checks have expiration dates, so they can close out their accounting. They are usually at least 90 days in the future. If I got one after it expired, I'd still take it to the bank. Worst case is they say it's expired and no good.

#4 of 25 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted August 22 2006 - 09:27 AM

Keep all non-submitted materials.
Photocopy all submitted materials.
Then photocopy the addressed envelope before mailing it.
File everything in a "rebates" folder in your office to check against.

If you've not received the rebate within the time frame alotted, call the fulfillment office given on the rebate form. If the person you're speaking with can't help you, ask to speak with a supervisor. If the supervisor can't help you, ask to speak with someone who can explain why your properly claimed rebate hasn't been fulfiled. Then call and talk to that person. If you reach that point, you're likely speaking with someone who's time is worth more than the $20 you're trying to get and will have a check sent to you, whether or not you actually properly submitted the rebate.

I've never failed to get a rebate I've sent in.

Which reminds me, it's time to call Verizon and see if they will expedite my rebate for my recent phone upgrade. (stupid Verizon, using rebates in lieu of "new every two" discounting)

#5 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted August 22 2006 - 05:41 PM

I've rarely had problems with rebates. I can only think of three that didnt work out:

- Microsoft. Kept sending me my submission back saying I was missing... something without actually telling me what it was I didn't supply. Twice I rechecked that I had everything and they just kept sending it back (I even asked them to be more specific). By then the rebate expired so I gave up.

- Pepsi. $5 back. Said I didnt purchase qualifying products. It's possible since I buy Pepsi One and they may have been looking for Diet Pepsi or something.

- Samsung. Rebate on a monitor. This was a total f*** up. Took MONTHS for the website to note my submission, then I got a notice the check was sent and months later I still hadnt received anything. I searched for complaints about their rebates and came across one of those gripe sites. Someone claiming to be from Samsung responded to someone saying if they had any complaints they should email him. I did, not expecting much. First thing in the morning I got a reply, then about two hours later an email from someone else at Samsung. We exchanged a couple emails and about a week later I had my rebate check!

I was told they were very dissatisfied with the rebate house used for that rebate and they were using a new service now.

-paul

#6 of 25 OFFLINE   Lynda-Marie

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Posted August 22 2006 - 08:34 PM

I think Mark may be onto something. Buy the item for the original price and forget the rebate. It is just a hassle some asshole revels in using to screw with you.

I had the same runaround with Maxell for a promised $10 rebate on some CD ROMs I bought. Fry's electronics is actually pretty good about having their stock computerized, and the register printed out not only a duplicate receipt, but also the necessary form to send in, including the address.

I sent it in with all of the necessary proofs of purchase, the receipts and all the other rigamarole and they sent back a VERY rude letter saying that I obviously was in need of much more education before I attempted something as "difficult" as sending in simple paperwork for a rebate... WTF?? Posted Image

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#7 of 25 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 23 2006 - 01:50 AM

Quote:
I think Mark may be onto something. Buy the item for the original price and forget the rebate.
Yeah, that way, if the rebate doesn't work out, you're not as pissed because you weren't expecting it in the first place...and the rebates you DO get back, well they're like 'Bonus' money that I never expected. It makes the whole reabte situation much less of a hassle.

It similar to gambling...You're better off kissing that money goodbye before you even enter the casino.

Although, perhaps this is the thinking that a lot of the rebate companies are hoping for (i.e. not caring about the rebates help them to make more money), but I see it differently...

If I am deciding on a product, I never take rebates into account. If Store A is selling something for $30 and Store B is selling it for $35 (with a $10 rebate), I buy from Store A.

Store B is only cheaper with the rebate. Once you fall into this 'trap', you have to make sure you follow up with the rebate offer in order to come out ahead.

Although, I've never really had much trouble with the rebates that I do fill out.

#8 of 25 OFFLINE   Mary M S

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Posted August 23 2006 - 02:26 AM

I’ve lost several because I didn’t follow up after sending documentation. I assume this is what makes rebate systems so attractive to stores/manuf. I've never seen the figures on percent collected on total offers. Fairly low number of distributed rebates I would think.
Last cell phone deal I did (couple of years back) had a 300 rebate due from an independent authorized dealer. Took me 3 follow-up’s, phonecalls, and heavy documentation to finally get it.

Rhode Island put a hurt on the local Pepsi production line with their new law, that any ad, which advertises the net price, which includes a rebate, must be available at the cash register. (no mail-ins)

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#9 of 25 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted August 23 2006 - 03:30 AM

When I see those computer packages advertised in Best Buy and Circuit City with like $420 worth of rebates, it just makes my skin crawl. There are 4 or 5 different rebates involved. Tracking all those rebates just sucks. I recall that only 40% of people even submit their rebates. Companies like Symantec have cracked down. Used to be that you had months after purchase to submit the rebate. Now you have 30 days. Sometimes I have come across deals where by the time I find out about the deal there is 48 hours to get the rebate in. Supposedly, Best Buy was getting away from rebates, well, it hasn't happened yet.

#10 of 25 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted August 23 2006 - 04:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHastings
Yeah, it's best to not even think about the rebate. Just buy the product with it's original price in mind. If you are counting on the rebate, you'll most likely be disappointed.LOL - I've gotten those before. Posted Image It does make you feel weird, trying to cash it. I almost feel like I'm holding a crayon drawing that says "Please give Mark $10".
That's funny. Posted Image

I got one of those postcards as well. I almost threw it away. Warner Brother's rebates look that way. I've heard that most companies that do rebates will make some people contact them at least once about why the rebate hasn't arrived in your mailbox. One time activision never sent one to me. I forgot about it since the stretch of time was so damn long. I'll never pay full price for one of their games ever again. That's how to get back at them.
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#11 of 25 OFFLINE   Eric_L

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Posted August 23 2006 - 11:46 AM

I actually will spend MORE to avoid a rebate.

#12 of 25 OFFLINE   EugeneR

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Posted August 24 2006 - 05:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHastings

If I am deciding on a product, I never take rebates into account. If Store A is selling something for $30 and Store B is selling it for $35 (with a $10 rebate), I buy from Store A.


Agreed, and I tend to avoid rebates. Frankly, I believe the whole thing is a scam and should be better regulated. However, to a wise consumer, it can be quite an opportunity.

Stores and manufacturers do count on a large percentage of buyers not returning their rebate documents, which means that sometimes they will offer after rebate prices which they could not offer to all consumers because it would end up as a loss. If you are the consumer who returns your paperwork, sometimes you will get great deals at the expense of others who will not return the rebate paperwork.

#13 of 25 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 24 2006 - 05:51 AM

Quote:
If you are the consumer who returns your paperwork, sometimes you will get great deals at the expense of others who will not return the rebate paperwork.
That's true. I should clarify that I do participate in some reabtes, but I only go with the ones from 'reliable' manufacturers. I figure if someone like Staples doesn't fulfill their rebate, I can at least get hold of someone and put up a stink. And if I still get nowhere, I can at least go to the physical store and tell the manager that I won't be shopping there anymore because they are participating in a rebate offer that doesn't work.

The larger companies would rather give you the money back (no questions asked) rather than piss off a customer.

#14 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted August 26 2006 - 09:06 PM

Here's a rebate story to warm your heart: I decided I needed a paint sprayer so headed out to Home Depot. Went for the one I decided on then noticed they had a rebate program. The next model up was $20 but there was a $20 rebate. So I went for it.

A couple days later as I was filling out the rebate stuff I realized I made a foolish error. I paid for the sprayer with one of my many $100 gift cards I got from cashing in some Amex Membership Rewards points. What are the chances of getting a rebate on something the receipt says was paid for with a gift card? I debated taking it back and buying it again with my credit card but I decided to screw it and sent in the rebate anyway.

Got my rebate yesterday. So, considering tax, I actually made a $12 profit on the deal!

-paul

#15 of 25 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 27 2006 - 02:55 AM

Quote:
What are the chances of getting a rebate on something the receipt says was paid for with a gift card?
I wouldn't think that would matter. The gift card was paid out at some point, so it's not like you got it for free...well, maybe you got it for "free", but the paint sprayer comapny got their money from that sale (i.e. AMEX technically paid them).

Although, I see what you're getting at...technically AMEX deserves the rebate because they were the ones to pay for the sprayer. Posted Image

#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted August 27 2006 - 05:43 AM

Dave's strategy works for me. I always get my rebates back.

#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted August 27 2006 - 03:50 PM

> What are the chances of getting a rebate on something the receipt says was paid for with a gift card?

Shouldn't matter whether you used cash, check, credit card, gift card, etc. You still paid for the item and are entitled to the rebate. Why would the manufacturer care what payment method you used?

#18 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted August 28 2006 - 05:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood
Why would the manufacturer care what payment method you used?

Because it wasn't the manufacturer offering the rebate. It was Home Depot. And, after all, this thread is about who hard it can be to get a rebate back (for some people). It's perfectly reasonable to expect HD to refuse to honor the rebate since it amounts to cashing in a gift card for cash. Similarly, if you had a $10 coupon for any purchase and you bought a $5 item you wouldn't expect them to give you the change.

Then again it might be one of those things where, to a third person, the answer is perfectly logical, but when it happens to you you're not quite sure. Posted Image

-paul

#19 of 25 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 29 2006 - 01:24 AM

Quote:
It's perfectly reasonable to expect HD to refuse to honor the rebate since it amounts to cashing in a gift card for cash. Similarly, if you had a $10 coupon for any purchase and you bought a $5 item you wouldn't expect them to give you the change.
No, that's not it at all.

The gift card example would be if your friend gave you $10 and you bought a $10 item at Home Depot, then Home Depot says (to you) "You can't have the rebate because that $10 isn't yours. (i.e. it's your friends)"

See? The gift card was already paid for, so your transaction is the same as if you gave them money of your own. The only thing with the gift card is, the money was given to Home Depot in advance of your purchase. The gift card may be free to the 'user', but it doesn't mean the items aren't being paid for.

#20 of 25 OFFLINE   LewB

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Posted September 22 2006 - 02:52 AM

I sent in a rebate for some synthetic motor oil I bought. The rebate was $2.50 per quart and I had purchased 6 quarts ($15.00 total rebate).
Weeks later the check arrives, it's for $2.50 (rebate for 1 quart). I start fuming and swearing about how stupid these people are, etc., etc. Keep in mind that the missing $12.50 isn't a life and death thing, just another one of life's little aggravations, that was about 2 weeks ago.
Last night, my mailbox contained a second rebate check for the missing $12.50 with some blurb to the effect that 'we realized our mistake' and here's what we owe you Posted Image

Like I said, not life or death but a pleasant surprise.


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