Oh, the promise of being rewarded for making a purchase from a manufacturer and the hassles we must sometimes go through in order to collect. Over the years I have read many articles concerning the horror stories of those trying to collect their reward, only to find out that they failed to comply properly with the rebate process. So why are there rebates in the first place? The gimmick of rebates is a benefit to manufacturers. It is estimated that over 50% of people don’t apply for the rebate. So not only does the manufacturer get to sell the product at full price, the consumer seems to feel that they got a deal on their purchase.

There are a few tips and tricks we can use to make sure we get our rebates. None are 100% perfect, but may just help some.

  • Before making the purchase, read the rebate form and rules carefully. If you don’t understand what is required, ask one of the sales clerks to explain the procedure to you. If they don’t know, shop elsewhere.
  • Read the super fine print very carefully. I once bought three identical items and submitted rebate forms for all three. I learned later that the rebate was for ONE purchase of the item per household. 🙁
  • Make copies of what you submit. Eight weeks after the purchase none of us can remember when or where we submitted the rebate form. In the case of UPS labels you may have to take a digital photo of it and print it out. UPC codes may not print out properly on some copy machines.
  • Some companies like Staples have made the rebate process somewhat easier. They actually track your rebate process for you online and send email alerts as the process progresses.
  • If you haven’t received your rebate in a specified amount of time, contact the manufacturer and yell and scream. 🙂

The importance of making copies of the items you send in cannot be overstated. I find that it helps jog my memory as to when I submitted the forms and to whom I submitted them. I recall an incident several years ago in which I made a purchase of an item directly from the manufacturer which included a $20 rebate. I followed the instructions perfectly and knew I had followed the procedure carefully. Three months later and I had still not received my rebate. A call to the manufacturer got fast action and I faxed the forums I had originally had submitted. Two weeks later, my check arrived. The wheel that squeaks… you know the rest.

What have been your experience with rebates? Are they a blessing or scam?

Comments welcome as always.

[tags]rebates, procedures, copy, manufacturer[/tags]