Shophacks: Don’t Give Up on Rebates

Matt W. writes us with this handy admonishment for those tempted to the evil of rebates:

I purchased a new HP Pavilion m7250n Media Center PC at Circuit City on Nov. 26. One of the reasons I did so was that they had an incredible deal if you factored in the rebates: The PC was $1069.99, then there was a $50 HP MIR, plus a whopping $120 Circuit City MIR. Which made the PC $899.99 after rebates. Like I said, a fabulous deal. The rebate window was ending in 24 hours after I saw the price, and you hade to make the purchase on-line. With Circuit City, that’s no big deal, since I could specify in-store pickup as the delivery method, and the closest one is 1.5 miles from my house. There would be no delayed gratification for me.

My wife calls me the rebate whore. I don’t disagree with her. I’m methodical, and lightning quick about sending them in. I know the drill and can Xacto off UPC’s blindfolded. Plus I follow all the rebate requirements to the letter and, as a result, have a very low rejection or misfire rate on them. But today I got a letter from CC rejecting my rebate app, citing “invalid location” as the reason. Amazingly, their rebate call center was still open at 9PM Central time, so I gave them a jingle. I already had my e-mail receipt as well as a PDF copy of the web pages with the rebate instructions (I do that on larger $ rebates, or make paper copies). I was ready to mix it up. But once I got through to the rep, she immediately told me that she’d corrected the code and I would be receiving my rebate in additional 3-4 weeks. What? No fight?

So what’s the big deal? I’m getting my rebate. True enough. But how many of these particular rebates were bounced vs. how many people who correctly submitted them are diligent enough to call them on it? Makes you wonder if they are just rejecting some percentage of them to see if they can whittle down the ones they have to fulfill.

Anyhow, for all you rebate whores
don’t give up without a fight, or at least a call.