Re: Speak Your Voice! Rebate Programs - Legitimate or Deceptive?
by Alan Maier - Posted Thu December 29, 2005 @ 2:54 PM
My opinion on rebates is that they are used in hopes that consumers will forget to file for them. I've talked with employees at store where they agree with me on that opinion. Are the legitimate? Yes I feel they are. Are they deceptive? Quite often, very much so. Are they playing on the consumers chances of forgetting - definitely.
Personally I file rebates totalling in the thousands of dollars each year. Why? Simple really.. I don't mind doing the work, and then reselling the item/items on eBay to those who'd rather not deal with all the paperwork. Clearly many consumers would rather pay a bit more (my profit) just to avoid rebates. It's nothing for me to have $2-3,000 in rebates due to me at a given time.
My payback rate has been very good. I file them, I copy them, and I follow up on them. But I have seen a common trick on rebates where even a seasoned rebate veteran can't predict - long term promotions. This is nearly a scam in my opinion. Here is what happens... A product has a rebate (normally limit one). Months later, the item goes on sale again with a rebate promotion. Turns out it's the SAME rebate promotion months later. Mind you, it might ven be from a different store.
If consumers refused to deal with rebate promotions, that might send a message back to the retailers. One of the big players in this past years's "Black Friday" had a very poor day as their items were based around HUGE rebates where their rivals had none or lower amounts on the same items. It takes time for this to ring home to the corporate level, but they do eventually get it. One clear example was the office supply company Staples. They have turned their system around to easy on-line submissions with excellent turnaround time. They have also removed rebates from items where their competition still uses rebates. They have gained my business back, after loosing it due to rebate issues.
Lastly, the manufacturer's rebates seem to be the worst. Plan on waiting months. I avoid them.