Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is reminding consumers to read the fine print on rebate offers before giddily pouncing on a seemingly hot deal. We are rebate skeptics; they are nice when they work, but should never be a deciding factor when weighing a purchase. The Attorney General has a few tips to help improve your chances of successfully redeeming a rebate:
- Read the offer carefully before you buy.
- Fill out paperwork promptly.
- Enclose all required documentation.
- Make copies of all paperwork to be mailed, including forms, receipts, and UPC codes. You will need this should anything go wrong.
- Consider certified mail and request a return receipt as proof the company received your request.
- Watch out for so-called “delayed” rebates offered in connection with a variety of purchases and services including cars. These jumbo cash-back offers are too good to be true for the majority of people.
- Lastly, remember that mail-in rebates typically take up to 12 weeks to arrive, so budget accordingly. If a timely refund is a concern to keep your account in balance, it may be wiser to comparison shop for a lower-priced item.
Also consider notarizing your receipts, and don’t forget to closely check your mailbox for a rebate check disguised as junk mail after eight to twelve weeks – the rebate’s spin on the Russian winter. If your check fails to arrive, you are in good company: the rebate companies use a patented system for scuttling rebate requests that even baffles the Wall Street Journal.