The Hidden Costs and Benefits of Free-After-Rebate Offers

RebatesBy Shannon Christman

Are free-after-rebate offers really free? Sometimes. In fact, sometimes you – the consumer – can actually make a little money on the deal.

“What Does That Free Item Really Cost Me?

Free-after-rebate refunds generally come in two forms: check or store credit in the amount of the purchase price. When the refund comes in form of a check, the costs to you are relatively small – you will generally have to pay the tax (if the item is taxable), travel expenses (gas), and sometimes postage. You also lose the use of your money for the time it takes for the rebate to process.

For larger rebates, you should also spend a few cents to make a copy of al


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4 Responses to The Hidden Costs and Benefits of Free-After-Rebate Offers

  1. poundwise says:

    I too have only experienced a few problems with rebates, however, those problems have been quite costly. A $50 rebate I never received, another for $20… it has soured me to using rebates, in general. I certainly would never make a purchase decision based on the price after rebate. If something I want to buy also has a rebate, then fine. But if two items are otherwise equal, and one is $79 and the other is $99 with a $30 rebate, I will buy the $79 item.

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  3. Amy F. says:

    Great post! Thanks for the tip about using coupons with rebates. I didn’t know about that.

    I think some people have success buying free (or very cheap) after rebate items from and then reselling them on Amazon, but I’ve found that supply and demand lowers the price of these items on Amazon and I can’t make a profit. You may have more luck with this method if you find less publicized free after rebate items ( sends out alert emails).

  4. jess says:

    Great article, I use rebates , why not??

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