Rebate Hate

A long time ago, I read that many retailers switched over to rebates instead of giving coupons or outright discounts. It has worked out really well for them because a lot of people don't want to bother with the hassle of redeeming the discount. What the article didn't mention is that the rebate people create more obstacles--either things are "lost" in the mail, or they don't respond to repeated requests for updates, or they deny rebate redemptions over the smallest, nitpicky things.

The reason why I'm writing today is because I'm mad at my latest attempt to get a rebate. In the passed, things took a long time but I got my money back nearly all of the time. Sometimes things get lost in the system and I write it off as something that just "happens." This time, I'm not angry over the fact that things got lost in the system--in fact, it went through just fine. Rather, I'm disappointed at the outcome.

A few weeks ago I bought a battery charger from Walgreen's. Since my camera devours power, I decided that it's high time I go green and save some money. I asked the cashier about the procedures of the rebate. He said to fill out the form and he printed out a rebate receipt for me. I filled out the form, clipped the rebate receipt to it, and off it went--just as I've done in the past. Today, I got something back. Instead of getting a check, I got a notice stating that the rebate receipt was not accepted. WTF?!? Then why the heck are employees instructed to print them out? By now, I've lost the actual receipt and the deadline has past, so I have no opportunity to do the paperwork over again. Unlike my dad, who relentlessly hounds the rebate centers and tracks down his rebates, I just don't have the time and energy to fight over $5.

If things get lost in the system, that's one thing. If you're rejecting practices that you've represented as acceptable, that's quite another. I won't go as far as to say that it's fraud, but it's certainly bad customer service.


Stacie said...

I know it is a pain, but I always make a copy of what I am sending away...the recipt, the UPC, and the filled out form.

Sales Rack Raider said...

Good call, Stacie. I usually do that with big rebates. I just figured that $5 wasn't worth the "hassle" (I've gotten rather lazy nowadays), but maybe I should take action instead of whining about the consequences.

S. said...

Reading this infuritates me. It is a blatant consumer rip off. I may not bother with $5 either but, on the other hand, I may, on principle.

Besides, with your super shopping prowess you could get at least 5 items with your $5 rebate!

How to start clothing line from scratch said...

awh man I hate!!! rebates...it is true though most consumers dont go through with it and process the rebates....I think its either forgetfullness or just plain laziness!lol...my case would probably be forgetting and then trying at the last minute only to figure out it's outdated.

Anonymous said...

It's incredible, but less than 2% of rebates are ever successfully redeemed.