File this one under “Why didn’t I think of that?”: A student attending Auburn University to get his PhD figured out a way to cut way down on his tuition expenses by amassing thousands of dollars in rebate checks and prepaid debit cards. After punching in the numbers on anywhere from 200 to 250 debit cards he received as rebate payments along with $1,000 in rebate checks, he’ll only have to pay $450 out of pocket for this semester’s $4,500 tuition.
Mail in rebates are a sneaky way to make things look cheaper than they actually are at the point of sale, since many consumers never actually get any cash back. Now New Jersey’s state Assembly is considering legislation that would require retailers to charge shoppers the after-rebate price on goods, instead of forcing them to mail in or submit online requests. If the retailer still wants to take advantage of the rebate, that’s no problem; he’ll just have to mail it in himself.
Your rebate frustration has a name, and it is apparently Rebaterus. (Full comic below.)
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…
Best Buy said consumers can expect to see prices remain low because the consumer electronics industry is so highly competitive. Instead of seeing fewer discounts, it could mean both retailers and suppliers take a hit on their bottom line. “I think you’re going to see us eat a little bit of it and the vendors eat a little bit of it,” Lotman said.