How to Save with Rebates

Rebates offers generally offer greater values than up-front discounts, because they’re predicated on the the assumption that a good percentage of customers won’t bother to actually complete the paperwork to get them. Still more customers will ignore the instructions and send an invalid claim form.  And still others will forget to keep copies of everything they sent, so that when a claim goes mysteriously missing in the mail, or gets erroneously invalidated, they have no recourse.  Not only do the fulfillment houses that process rebates market their success at low fulfillment rates, some have even been accused of fraudulently ensuring it.  How can you make sure you get the savings you’re entitled to?
    1. Read the terms carefully. If they only appear on-line, print them out.
    2. Double check your submission to make sure you’ve included the requested items, and complete the paperwork properly – pay careful attention to what constitutes a "proof of purchase" and whether original or copies of sales receipts are required.
    3. Keep a copy of your paperwork, a copy of the terms, the phone number or email address for fulfillment inquiries
    4. Mark your calendar for the date that your rebate is due, and follow up immediately if you haven’t received it.
I recently wrote about the rebates offered by MacMall; some of these, like the "free printer" offers can be onerous, with three separate rebate submissions necessary before you get back the full price of the printer.  For rebates of just a few dollars, your time is probably worth more than the effort, with one exception. I’ll tell you about that one next week.

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