Mail-In Rebates: Express Your Opinion

mail-in rebateIn theory, a cash rebate on a product is a great idea, but the reality in most cases is that getting it can be a huge hassle. At the beginning, it seems simple enough. Make a purchase online or in a store, fill out a rebate form, then send it with the original receipt and the UPC code from the packaging and you should get money back on your purchase. It may even be possible to register for your rebate online.

It is at this point that the cash rebate scenario often derails from the simple concept. You usually have to wait a minimum of a month (and sometimes much longer) before you receive a weird postcard you almost throw away until you realize it’s a check. This process can be so time consuming because it’s often not the company that you purchased the product from that is processing the rebate, but a third party company they have hired.

Things can get worse if your request for a rebate is denied. Maybe you missed some small detail in the fine print or missed a deadline for which you were not aware. Some consumers even speculate that manufacturers and retailers intentionally deny perfectly valid rebate requests since they know that many people won’t bother following up to claim their cash.

This can make the entire cash rebate process a much more time consuming and frustrating experience than many think it should be. If you have an opinion on cash rebates, you will have an opportunity to share it. The Federal Trade Commission is hosting a free public workshop on this topic in San Francisco on April 27, 2007. Consumer advocates, government officials, business people and members of the general public are welcome to participate. According to the FTC, the workshop “will provide an opportunity to discuss consumers’ perspectives on rebates and challenges businesses face when they offer rebates, and will explore best practices’ in the offering and fulfillment of rebates.”

The FTC would like you to submit your written comments, opinions and suggestions for workshop topics, speakers, and participants. You can send these suggestions to the FTC at

For more information and details about The Rebate Debate workshop, you can visit the FTC’s website.

By pfadvice contributing writer Valerie S. Johnson

This entry was posted in Saving Money, Shopping. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Mail-In Rebates: Express Your Opinion

  1. Dave says:

    I fail to get paid back on about 40% of the rebates I send in. Its gotten so bad that I actively avoid products with rebates.

  2. Lee says:

    I’ve had a 100% rate of success with mail-in rebates. I haven’t used them all that often, and I am very careful to make sure the place that is offering them is a trustworthy source. As of late most of my rebates have come as a result of purchasing items off of for computer and electronic items. It is a pain to have to wait 2 months to get the rebate, and I would much rather receive the instant savings.

  3. I’ve also had a 100% success rate with mail-in rebates, whether it was with a reputable retailer like Amazon or a company I’d never heard of. I would also much rather receive instand savings than deal with a rebate, but I believe that the reason rebate offers are so high is that manufacturers know that many will not be redeemed. This means that people who are well-organized and detail-oriented benefit. Sometimes I will buy the higher priced item rather than deal with the hassle of a rebate, though, and despite my 100% success rate, I’m still skeptical since people complain all the time about not receiving their rebate checks.

  4. cheapo says:

    I have gotten all of my rebates as well. As 2 Pennies Earned mentions one must be organized. Before sending any rebate, I make copies of everything that is to be sent. Then I also notate when I sent out the rebate. At home I file the copies based on the date I have submitted the rebate. To this day, this system has worked well for me. If I notice I rebate is taking longer than normal, then I contact the rebate center. I have had to do this a few times, but it is worth it for me. I am considering to digitizing this process, by scanning everything into a pdf file instead of keeping an actual file. The problem is that sometimes you need an orginal copy when the rebate center happens to loose one of the items you sent in.

  5. Jim says:

    I never buy anything that has a mail in rebate. The hassle factor is to much. If the company wants to give me a rebate, I do not understand why they can’t do it at the register

  6. william says:

    i never buy nothing with mail in rebate, if im gonna get a rebate it better be at the register, i set the rules as a consumer, so mail in rebate up your asses…..

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