Rebates get a reboot

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 25, 2009 - 12:02 PM

A local expert who advises companies on their rebate programs tells consumers how to improve their money-back rate.

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RipAndersonMay. 25, 0912:17 PM

Best Buy may have dropped the mail-in rebates HASSLE but they didn't drop the rebate savings. Instead of the mail-in rebate they either drop the price, have an "instant rebate" or a combination of the two.

If you look closely at the fine print on some rebate coupons you'll read that the rebate does not apply if you bought the product at Best Buy [because they've already discounted the product by the amount of the rebate].

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dgb049May. 25, 0912:26 PM

Just plain dumb.

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newsnutMay. 25, 09 1:07 PM

I hate 'em. In fact, I will not buy a product that has them. They're just too much of a hassel.

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jaymn7May. 25, 09 1:36 PM

Just lower prices. I always look for the lowest price I can buy whatever for today. I don't buy anything with a rebate scheme.

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rascal00May. 25, 09 2:06 PM

I have rebated on everything for the last 15 yrs. Yes, it can be a hassle but my rule is to fill out the rebate the day of purchase, no exceptions. I can only remember being stiffed twice in that time period.

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Kathy_BrandtMay. 25, 09 4:26 PM

A few years ago we bought a router from Office Max that had been listed in their ad as having a rebate that would put it into our price range. We bought it and immediately filled out the forms and sent everything in. We got a rejection letter, stating that the rebate offer had ended the week before it appeared in the store ad. When we were able to prove that to the manufacturer, they agreed to honor the rebate, but it took several phone calls, e-mails and copies of store ads and letters to settle it. Thumbs down.

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digalvinMay. 25, 09 4:32 PM

compare prices as if the rebate doesn't exist. IF you get the rebate it's icing on the cake, otherwise forget about it. TOo much hassle, too many things to go wrong. Like coupons, usually not worth the effort -- most won't eve cover the sales tax for your purchase. In store rebates or instant/point-of-purchase is the only type of "rebate" worth the effort.

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ceedeeMay. 25, 09 7:04 PM

Applied for a $30.00 rebate in January. from Sears. Despite many phone calls and e-mails, I have yet to recieve the rebate. Use other stores for your purchases.

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harvardfroshMay. 25, 09 8:03 PM

I will not buy any product that has a mail in rebate. Half the time they are scams or you are forced to waste tons of time making sure you get the stupid thing. So, I don't buy any product that offers a mail in rebate. If a competitor offers a similar product for a similar price, I'll buy it instead. Do stores really need to hire consultants to get a clue about that? wow.

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twelveuhohonMay. 25, 09 9:26 PM

I hope manufacturers drop them. I'd much rather have a coupon in my hand at the time of purchase than a promise two or three months off. I got caught recently holding the bag with a Circuit City Rebate. Trouble with Sams Club; trouble with my crock pot rebate. Trouble far more often than success. Besides, it's a much costlier means of discounting a product than a coupon or straight discount. As far as I can tell, the only folks to benefit from rebates are the companies that process them.

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