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.
If you’re new to hunting for deals online, you’ll start seeing all these funky acronyms used as shorthand. Here’s some of the most common ones and what they mean:
The Federal Trade Commission has charged Wintergreen Systems, an Indiana-based electronics reseller owned by John Levy, with failing to honor mail-in-rebate offers for thousands of customers. The FTC’s conditions for settling the lawsuit require Levy and his company to “be barred from any involvement in the development, marketing, fulfillment, or funding of any rebate program.” There’s also a $330,000 judgment, which the company will not have to pay (more on that below). Both Wintergreen Systems and its parent company, Market Development Specialists (MDS), resold electronics through companies like Office Depot, PC Connection, Buy.com, PCMall, and Woot.com.