Are you sick of playing rebate games OR are you a rebate master who has a great system for making sure you get your rebate? Consumer Reports TV is looking to talk to people in the NY, CT, PA area to interview on-camera for an upcoming segment. Interested? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, general location, phone number, 2 sentences about your story, and a good time to be reached. (Photo: Brandie!)
Next month, the government will start handing out credits of $3,500 or $4,500 to owners who trade in low-mpg cars for higher efficiency models under the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), popularly called the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Here are the basic things you need to know to determine whether it’s worth it to you—and how to protect yourself from scammers.
Jan bought a keyboard from Circuit City last year. Since then, the company filed Chapter 11, the stores liquidated and closed, and another company bought the name. But last week, Jan finally-FINALLY-received her rebate check. Now she wants to know: is cashing this thing a good idea?
Maximize your rebates If you haven’t completely given up on rebates as a boondoggle from retailers that know you probably won’t jump through all of the hoops to redeem them, Consumer Reports has some tips on how to actually get paid. One that we hadn’t thought of: If the rebate form is available online, print it immediately after buying the product. The form might be removed from the Web site after a promotional period. [Consumer Reports]
Creative Labs has found a great new way to minimize the risk that a customer will actually benefit from a rebate offer. In Rick’s case, they sent him the rebate in the form of a $10 debit card that was supposed to be good until July 2009, but when he went to a Best Buy to use it last month, it was denied. The reason? He’d been charged a $3 “maintenance fee” every month since January.
Sure, I use coupons, and I’m decent at it, but for me watching this video of the “Coupon Queen” is like a little kid enrolled in her first karate class watching an expert ninja.
Your rebate frustration has a name, and it is apparently Rebaterus. (Full comic below.)
Come on people, Dell agreed to dole out $1.5 million to customers who had problems with warranty repairs, credit financing, and rebates, but with only a week before the filing deadline, Washington’s Attorney General says that only 42 people in his state have submitted claim forms. We know there are eligible Dell victims out there. Our tipline alone has nearly 1,000 Dell-related complaints. Please, fill out your claim form now and get the money your state attorney generals earned for you!
Having trouble redeeming rebates for your Sprint phone? Keep getting denied for seemingly no good reason? Try calling the Sprint rebate line at 800-477-4127. Reader Emily wrote, “I have tried on several different occasions to get rebates on my phone. Seems as though you have to call the Sprint Rebate line and have them resubmit the rebate for you. I have had to do 4 separate rebates this way.” (Photo: hyku)
Mail in rebates (MIRs) are the among the worst “deals” you can fall for, because any number of issues—most of them beyond your control—can render your supposed savings moot. Now a reader wonders whether Worldwide Rebates is deliberately employing what has to be the world’s least durable check mailing system to throw yet another obstacle in the difficult path to a successful rebate.
The Federal Trade Commission has charged Wintergreen Systems, an Indiana-based electronics reseller owned by John Levy, with failing to honor mail-in-rebate offers for thousands of customers. The FTC’s conditions for settling the lawsuit require Levy and his company to “be barred from any involvement in the development, marketing, fulfillment, or funding of any rebate program.” There’s also a $330,000 judgment, which the company will not have to pay (more on that below). Both Wintergreen Systems and its parent company, Market Development Specialists (MDS), resold electronics through companies like Office Depot, PC Connection, Buy.com, PCMall, and Woot.com.
Allegedly, the largest rebate processor in North America, Continental Promotions Group (CPG), owes about $12 million in consumer rebates, but only has $3 million available. According to an insider tip received by [H]Enthusiast, CPG is telling its customers, among whom are some of the largest consumer electronics retailers, to regive it the money necessary to pay out all these rebates. Otherwise, all your little rebate checks might start bouncing. Assuming, of course, you were ever able to get them in the first place…
“People think when they come to court that they are going to get instant relief,” said Judge Rebecca Dallet of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. “We can give what the law allows, but we have no way of getting the money for them. I don’t think people realize that.”
Companies love rebates because they are difficult to redeem and easy to forget. But you clever shoppers are getting too good at their game, so instead of paying out your rebate in cash, you’ll get something different altogether. Take, for example, Buy.com’s supposed “$26 mail in rebate…”
Brett has now been the victim of two failed rebate attempts through Canon. They ignored the first one, and rejected the second one with a claim that he can clearly disprove. He’s trying again. Unfortunately, it looks like Brett’s experience with Canon isn’t unique.