Sensible Words About Rebates

Rebates are a huge point of controversy. We tend to be against them because they are designed to screw you, the consumer, out of money. However, some people have a lot of luck with rebates and we don’t want to completely leave them out, so we’re going to link to Wise Bread, where there is a well-reasoned and realistic guide to rebating. Just keep in mind that if you are forgetful like some of us, rebates are your enemy. Mortal enemy. Nemesis. The Darth to your Luke. The Wicked Witch to your Dorothy.

And no, we’re not just linking this because she said nice things about Consumerist. Well, maybe a little. —MEGHANN MARCO

The Key To Free [Wise Bread]


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  1. EvilTapioca says:

    I know Windstream does honor their rebates. I got $50 from them on a rebate from dsl service. I just hope dishnetwork honors theirs. :D

  2. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Send everything certified mail, so that a signature is required for the company to accept the package.

    I’m not sure that’s a good idea. The sending address to these rebates is usually a PO box. If no one is able to sign for your rebate submission, then what happens next? Does it get send back? Probably.

    I prefer rebates that allow you to pre-register on a website. You just enter your name, adddress, product serial number, and some other info. Then it generates a UPC bar code. You print that out, attach your receipt, attach your UPC from the box, and then send it away. This helps streamline and speed up the rebate process. And it cuts down on the possibility of your rebate being rejected for illegible handwriting.

  3. Morton Fox says:

    I noticed that CompUSA and Staples now allow you to file rebates online. That makes things a lot easier compared to the old way of filing rebates.

  4. Staples has lost two of my online submissions. That was NOT an easy process. Regarding the last one, HP honored a three month expired rebate and I got my 50 dollars the next week after contacting HP about Staples skrew up.

  5. fizzer fits says:

    Well, not to go against Angry Sicilian, but I have been *really* happy with Staples ‘easy rebates’ or whatever-the-hell they are called. You basically enter a 12 digit number from your receipt and *poof* a check shows up 6-8 weeks later. No mailings, no cuttings form boxes, no nothin’.

    I did this with 5 different items and didn’t have the slightest problem – it was almost too easy. Well, not too easy – easy is not having a fecking rebate at all.

  6. LAGirl says:

    STAPLES is trying to screw me out of a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ offer on a BIC WITE-OUT PEN (2-PACK). i did the online rebate. as instructed, entered my order number, item #, my info + hit ‘send’. aaaand all was right with the world. until a few days ago.

    i received a postcard telling me that my rebate was ‘invalid’ because the item # i entered was incorrect. this is total bull, because when you enter your order number, it automatically knows which rebates are available for that order. it will offer up item #s and you just choose the correct one. i had two rebates on this order, so there was no way to enter an incorrect one…the system picked it for me.

    when i tried to email them about it, i got a message that i’d already submitted a rebate request for that item. WTF??!! if i want them to come through on this, i’ll need to call CS. seems like a lot of work for a pack of lousy wite-out pens. but, it’s the principle, damn it. the man is not gonna deny me my free office supplies.

  7. kim says:

    Well, I’ve had nothng but good experiences with Staples and their online process. In fact, I just cashed a $20 check from them yesterday — and it took less than a month to arrive.

    Perhaps Staples Rewards members have preferential status — I also found out that as a Rewards member I don’t have to pay shipping for online orders (boo-ya!).

  8. He says:

    FYI, you can still get the 9 digit zipcode and sometimes more info too from those little lines above the address in the pic.

    On Topic:
    I follow spoofee even though it’s almost all rebates. But no matter how many rebates I’ve sent in (a few dozen), I’ve never gotten one back. My parents on the other hand, are very close to a 100% success rate. Probably because they have a printer to do the forms, and I’m stuck hand writing in smallcaps.

  9. MonkeyMonk says:

    Rebates can also be bad news for a company. Microcenter never processed a $75 rebate I submitted last year and were completely useless in trying to resolve the matter. As a result I’ll never do business with the company again. There are plenty of other companies out there that can get my money.

  10. zeebah says:

    My rebate from Cingular took 2 months & came in the form of a Visa gift card. What a pain in the *ss. Why can’t you just get a check?

  11. thrillhouse says:

    We tend to be against them because they are designed to screw you, the consumer, out of money.

    So true, Meghann.

    I went round and round with Amazon on one of those cell phone rebates for about 6 months. It was finally resolved via a refund from Amazon and not from the butt monkeys that they outsourced the rebate services to. Damn thing should have come with interest. I hate rebates.

    Kudos to Consumerist. It was contacting Amazon Executive customer Relations that finally brought an end to the mess.