There are four words that, when I’m looking for bargains, are the death sentence of almost any deal I find.
“After mail in rebate”
I can’t stand rebates. I always have. There have only been a few instances where I have actually used rebates, but most of the time it’s a deal-killer.
- I’m impatient – If I’m going to get a deal, I want it now and the rebate means that I have to delay the ‘deal’ part of it.
- I want to spend what I’m going to spend, and not a penny more – The rebate always makes you spend more up front and (in theory) get some of that back later. That’s a free loan to the manufacturer.
- I’m lazy / forgetful - I don’t have a system and don’t want a system to track rebates, and yes I’ve forgotten to send them in. It’s what the companies count on when they offer the rebates and I’d rather deal with a company that gives you the deal straight-up.
- The terms / companies are a pain in the kiester – Cutting off the barcodes. Sending the receipt. Making sure to make a copy of the receipt. Highlighting the items. Putting everything together. They’re all little steps that involve little effort, but they’re all so little that they’re a) a pain to do and b) easy to forget a step.
- Things get ‘lost’ in the mail- I’ve had / heard of rebates that get sent in and nothing ever comes back. Unless you were diligent enough to make a copy, the company can just claim that they never received the paperwork.
I know that rebates work for some people, and they have in the past for us. When we moved into our house, we happened to move in during a big rebate on paint, that got us back $60 or so.
I also know that the complaints I have listed are all manageable, it’s just that I have made the personal decision that they’re not worth the aggravation. It’s a judgment call that I made, but it’s one that means that when I am deal-hunting, by the time I see the words ‘after mail in rebate’, it’s pretty much assured that I’m already looking at the next deal.
What do you think about rebates?Copyright 2014 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.