Weekend Open Forum: Your experience with mail-in rebates

By Matthew · 34 replies
Jul 1, 2011
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  1. Let me preface this by saying that I understand you've probably had some positive experiences with mail-in rebates -- I have too. However, I'm inclined to believe they're nothing short…

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  2. techfiend4

    techfiend4 TS Rookie

    i bought all my parts for my new build a few months ago from newegg. i was looking to get the rebate money back. out of the 7 rebates i had, i think ive received 4 or 5. asus, evga, raidmax, and corsair were the only ones to send me my rebate money. luckily out of the others im only missing 30 bucks so im not to disappointed. i do usually shop and look for rebates but try buy from company's that i know ill eventually get that money from.
  3. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Considering how long most rebates take, I've long consider them more of a bonus than anything else. The quickest rebate I've ever received was 3 weeks and the slowest 4 months. I've only been refused a rebate once due to 'incorrect paperwork'.
  4. No joke here. Sent off for a $20 mail-in rebate for McAfee Anti-Virus Windows 95 Version 3.1.1 in 1997, recieved the rebate in 1999. When I got it out of the mailbox I pretty much just started laughing.
  5. The rules I live by regarding rebates:
    *Don't give them an excuse. Follow the rules to the absolute T and make a copy of everything, including the postmarked envelope.
    *The hoops you have to jump through for rebates are pretty ridicuolous and time-consuming. Because of that, I don't consider any rebate less than $15 worth my time. If the rebate is less than that, the retail price of the product better be enough to make the purchase worthy, or it doesn't get my money.
    *Rebates are worthless if you aren't going to get them. If you're not organized enough to complete the rebate and send it in a timely fashion, negate the rebate in any purchasing decision.
    *Treat rebates as "bonus money." You never know when they will arrive, don't count on them to be back in time to pay your rent.
    *A good way to get rid of those prepaid cards is to top off your fuel tank. A $20 prepaid card used at the pump is done (don't have to manage the balance on it), and makes a small but positive dent in the budget.
    *Or, feel free to buy some technogadget you've been desiring with your rebate. It's "bonus money," after all. Treat yourself.
  6. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,069   +218

    I hate mail in rebates. They exist to fool the customer. They hope hope you don't send it in. They have to to pay people to apply these rebates which costs the consumer more money. Just ****ing sell your product at a good price you sneaky **** heads.
  7. howzz1854

    howzz1854 TS Evangelist Posts: 611   +94

    i've had to wait up to one year in the past for a cell phone rebate. eventually still didn't get it. it got so frustrating in the end i got into an argument with customer support at VoiceStream (later became T-Mobile).

    absolutely HATE It!

    having said the above, rebate doesn't count for anything for me now. when i shop, the number for the rebate just goes into my brain and comes out unprocessed. i don't even look at the rebate number anymore, let alone mailing it out.

    another recent experience with HP: when trying to shop for a replacement laptop to replace my old HP laptop, i finally waited long enough for a large sum online instant rebate (or a coupon code) to come out. low and behold, the instant rebate worked at check-out at the HP online store. But guess what.... after i submitted the order, the invoice came back without the instant rebate. i had to call HP customer service and of-course they gave me the run around. finally they told me the instant rebate coupon code i used was indeed "Good". no F$%^& kidding!!. they said somehow their server just failed to process it. they instead would offer me an after purchase rebate, that was lower value than the coupon code was suppose to give. WTF.. i canceled the whole order.
  8. penn919

    penn919 TS Addict Posts: 220   +71

    Generally, my experience with rebates hasn't been too bad, but I don't deal with them very often and I plan to keep it that way. I figure so long as your not entirely counting on a rebate for a good deal you'll be okay. Now granted that doesn't happen very often, but that's why I don't bother with them too much. It's such a hassle jumping through all the hoops only to have your rebate denied for pretty much any reason they make up and you can't do anything about it. It all seems so shady to me. On the other hand, aside from the non-stop phone calls they probably get from shafted customers, I can definitely see why rebates are a successful retail strategy for manufactures.
  9. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 781   +235

    All you have to do is counter-hassle (call them) and you'll get it.
  10. I bought an Acer laptop in 2008 and it came with a $200 mail in rebate. I then had the option of swapping the rebate for a 3yr warranty. I took the warranty and im glad i did as i had to send the laptop to acer recently to fix the video card.
  11. Darkshadoe

    Darkshadoe TS Guru Posts: 571   +113

    Rebates are nothing but scams. All they are doing is holding that money for a period of time to make interest off it. It doesn't take "3-5 weeks" to process the rebate.

    Just remember:

    When you own money to a company, its a delinquency.
    When a company owes money to you, Its a rebate.
  12. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    I've gotten most of my rebates but because it can take so long to get them, I've probably forgotten about some that I might not have gotten. I no longer bother with all of the potential rebates. The problem is if you cut out the UPC for the rebate, that conflicts with warranty requirements (if you have to return or RMA an item) that the UPC code on the original packaging be intact.
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    I hate the idea behind rebates so much, I've actually stopped looking at products with rebates in the past.

    I know any product that is sold with a rebate, could be sold at a discounted price avoiding the rebate completely.
  14. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,713   +855

    LOL...terrific comic as a representative.

    In general, I've had reasonable success with rebates. One trick I've discovered is after about 5 weeks, call the telephone number listed as a follow-up and you'll almost always get a "OH...your rebate was mailed yesterday!" from the representative. And sure enough, a week later I'll get it. Otherwise, no phone call follow-up and it'll end up in the Twilight Zone.

    And what mailpup said - mailing in the original UPC code makes returns impossible, so you're taking a chance in that regard.
  15. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,667   +987

    Like howzz1854 said, these days I just don't pay attention to whatever rebate there's available, I count it out and proceed to compare net prices I pay upfront.
  16. jtennison

    jtennison TS Rookie

    My worst rebate experience was with an ANTEC power supply. I purchased the power supply, filled out the rebate form following the instructions carefully, and sent if off. I dutifully kept a copy of everything in case the paperwork went astray. Weeks later, having received the rebate check, I deposited the check and threw away the paperwork. A week later. I got a letter from the bank, telling me the rebate check had bounced, and they were charging me a $25 fee for a bounced deposit.

    Since I no longer had any paperwork, and the filfillment company went out of business, I had no choice but to eat the rebate cost and the $25 fee.

    But I will never again buy an ANTEC product that involves a rebate!
  17. To me a rebate seems like an interest free loan to the manufacturer. If the manufacturer actually pays the rebate then that product has been sold for less than it's retail price creating a loss that is then written off at tax time. So the manufacturer wins twice. Make sense?
  18. blimp01

    blimp01 TS Enthusiast Posts: 144

    i wanted to send in my mail in rebate for some PNY ram, but it wants the original receipt which i thought i should keep incase the ram breaks and i need to RMA it right?
  19. I get at the minimum 30 MiR a year for the past 15 years. In all that time there has only ever been one that I did not receive and it was because the company went bankrupt and decided not to honor any of their outstanding rebates. I think it was for a spindle of CDs back when they still cost $50 for 100. I typically use the prepaid cards immediately to buy a newegg gift certificate that I can later use, since they do not expire and I get a lot of components through them.
  20. Personally I avoid buying any product with a mail in rebate unless I have no choice.
  21. TeamworkGuy2

    TeamworkGuy2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 191

    Corsair is ok about rebates, got on a power supply after about 2 months.
    But most rebate experiences both tech related and unrelated are never what they should be (very late, to many forms, non existent, etc).
  22. I bought a Speaker set from Creative Labs. Inside the box I found I had to send the box in for the rebate. The shipping of the box cost almost as much as the rebate. I never received my rebate, and I have never used a Creative Labs product since. This is not the only Top name company I have had trouble with...Sears with a $40.00 delivery rebate..filled in and mailed in by the store Manager....Never got. Snapper Mower with a $300.00 rebate. Never got. No amount of screaming helped!
    I no longer will consider a rebate as part of the cost. Most of the time if an item has a rebate, I will not even look at it!
  23. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,957   +214

    Thankfully in Europe the "rebate system" you have in the US is pretty much never used.
    And it's a good thing because I just hate systems which are designed to waste my time, how you guys put up with it is beyond me...

    I have only once used a mail in rebate, it was when I bought my Canon EOS 40D DSLR.
    The rebate was quite big so it was worth the hassle, but just to reiterate this is actually the only thing I have bought in Europe where even the possibility existed for a mail in rebate...
  24. I used to work for a major rebate center so I know all the tricks to get your rebate the first time around.

    Make copies of everything you have to send in.
    Print legibly and also if you have a self inking stamp with your name and address put that on all items your sending in.

    Read everything carefully and double check before you seal up the envelope.

    Response times do vary between rebates, so give it the max stated, usually it takes less time depending on the response from that offer.

    If you can check the status of the rebate on a website do that every week or 2 to see how its going.

    Hope this helps and be patient!!!
  25. Kraemepoo

    Kraemepoo TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +20

    I work in an industry that offers rebates quite often. And when we're doing so we estimate that about 55% of them will be collected. So we can offer a $500 product for $400 (after MIR) but we calculate we'll make 445.

    As a consumer, I ignore them. I know I'll forget, or put delay sending until I'm way past the deadline. On the other hand, sometimes my wife is with me at the time, and she always follows through and gets them, so its more like an unexpected bonus.

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