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Rebate scams or user stupidity? Probably the latter

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If you know me or have read some of the prior postings on this blog, you will know I do a lot of rebates. Simply put, the types of deals you can get with rebates are just impossible to find without them (when was the last time a retailer let you have anything of value for free, or better yet paid you to take it?). However, a lot of people complain about rebates and I will admit that sometimes undue difficulties are caused by the fulfillment companies, like the Ultra rebate center thinking that Texas is a Canadian province. However, for the number of rebates I do, I feel like I have very few problems (probably about 10% will require some type of follow-up) and have always wondered why it seems like so many people say that they never get their rebates.

I think this article from the WSJ provides an interesting theory (although they don’t have the cahones to say it outright): most people are too lazy, busy, or stupid to submit them correctly or timely. The article said that they did a test submitting five rebates, of which they only received one check. These were the causes of the ones not received:

  • Incorrectly assumed that the UPC and the packing slip were the same as a receipt. Seriously, when was the last time you received a receipt for a purchase with no price listed? If you have, that’s probably not a receipt but a packing slip.
  • Not realizing that a rebate was an upgrade rebate, requiring proof of ownership of a prior version of the software product. Did they not read the form that said in big bold letters “Upgrade rebate”?
  • Misplacing the submission materials until after the deadline had passed.
  • One company is running behind on processing their rebate claims.

So of the four rebates not received, three of them were the fault of the user, not the rebate fulfillment house. According to the article, the lone rebate that was received had all of the paperwork compiled by a T-Mobile sales rep and only required a signature and mailing. That goes to show you if you actually read the instructions you’ll probably get the rebate.

For my system to ensure you get your rebates, please see my previous posting here.

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May 11, 2007 - Posted by | Rebates

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