Canon's Rebate Program Is Blurry And Poorly Lit

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.

Brett writes:

I’ve just failed to have my second rebate attempt honored.

The first, was a lens rebate for $100, last winter. That rebate hinged on making two expensive ($400 & $1,200) Canon lens purchases within a several month window. They never even acknowledged that the rebate had been submitted.

My second try, I’ve now learned the $50 rebate I qualified for has been turned down. This later rebate required that as the original owner of a Canon Rebel SLR and and purchaser of a new Canon 5D [I] hack up my product box for the original UPC, [include] copies of receipts, etc…

Annoyed by my imaginary lens rebate, I made sure that all the hoops were jumped though in the rebate fine print, only to have my legitimate claim denied. I was encouraged as they at least let me know that I had filed for this rebate. However, they now cite that my original Digital Rebel has an unknown serial number. Unknown, but promptly registered when I’d first purchased it several years ago.

I have the mailing from Canon, informing me of this, telling me to resubmit my missing rebate information by the end of October. I’ve now re-registered my 4 year-old camera and will be mailing their card back with a note of my own, certified mail.

Based on a quick web search, it appears that I am not the first the hit roadblocks with Canon rebates, and think it would be helpful for other Consumerist readers to know about.

A Google search for “Canon rebates” turns up warnings and complaints from people who have been screwed over by Canon. Bryan at The-Digital-Picture cautions that you’d better follow the instructions precisely, and prepare to settle in for a long wait and potential fight:

As of the original authoring of this page, the last Canon lens rebate I participated in required me to send the complete information 3 times and took about four months until fulfillment. I followed the procedures to the letter – it could not have been more clear to the rebate fulfillment center. Still, I had to play the frustrating and time-consuming game.

Meanwhile, the “Canon Rebates” page at consumeraffaiirs.com is filled with complaints—at least one for every month so far this year—from angry consumers. By their accounts, it sounds like Canon is deliberately playing the stall-and-reject game with their rebates, in an attempt to keep the number of payouts as low as possible. You might want to keep that in mind the next time you weigh the value of a promised Canon rebate against the purchase price—even if you receive it, you may end up sinking many hours into the ordeal.

(Photo: Getty)