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Product Rebates

In TINY letters it says price is AFTER rebate. Doh!
In TINY letters it says price is AFTER rebate. Doh!

Rebates are those deals where they promise you a super-low price, sometimes FREE!… buuuut you have to jump through a few hoops first.

Why Stores Like Rebates

You may have wondered why rebates instead of just a discount? Either should be a tax write-off for the company offering them, but there are specific advantages for companies in offering rebates:

Even if you manage to get your rebate, the company that issued it gets to have your money and keep it interest free for 4 to 6 weeks or longer. Better yet (for them), they get chance after chance after chance to keep your money forever:

Best of all, the companies require a decent amount of personal information and seldom provide a privacy policy or indication of which data is optional. If they provide a form asking for information that you don't feel is relevant, you could skip it, but then run the risk of having the rebate refused. Once they have your information, without any law to the contrary, they can store it, profile you or sell it to other profilers at their convenience. It's basically the same as a forced registration.

Rebates should instant in-store discounts only. All other types should be illegal.

So let's sum up, they get your valuable personal information and in many cases get to keep your money too. So they win big and you lose big which doesn't sound like a very good deal to me.

As far as I'm concerned, unless it's an instant in-store discount, all rebates should be illegal.

Rebate Tips

Until and unless that ever happens, here's what you should know about rebates to increase your chances of getting the money the promised you:

In Conclusion

If that seems like a lot of work to get your money, it is. The point that you must remember is this: if you aren't the kind of person to carefully work through all your rebates and follow up if there's a problem, you're probably better off not bothering with rebates at all. Just stick to the lowest price in the store and be done with it.

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