Rebate Thieves
The O Pine

 Related Pages
 Reciprocal Links

We recommend Internet Explorer set to 1024x768.

© 2002 Brian F. Schreurs
Even we have a disclaimer.

Think how much Bazooka gum you can get with six bucks.
We like getting things for less money -- who doesn't? -- but we're not so sure about these mail-in rebates that remain popular in the retail office supply business. Oh, we understand why the manufacturers like them: they get a list of target consumers, and they only have to honor the discount prices for the people who manage to complete the paperwork correctly and on time. And we understand why the stores like them: they get to advertise sale prices without taking a hit at the register. But we're coming up a little short on reasons for the consumer to like them, other than eventually they get some money in the mail.

Mail-in rebates present several hazards for even the most diligent consumer:

  • They need to be certain to buy the exact right product, even when there are several very similar products to choose from, the in-store marking is inadequate, and the packaging has changed since the ad was photographed.
  • They need to be sure the store provides them with all the necessary paperwork.
  • They need to fill out the forms exactly right.
  • They need to hope the post office delivers the forms.
  • They need to hope the rebate center processes everything correctly.
  • They need to hope the post office delivers the rebate check.

It's no wonder many consumers don't even bother with mail-in rebates. They're a pain in the neck! But we like to believe that most corporations actually see it in their best interest to have happy consumers, and will do everything in their power to make sure the rebate process goes relatively smoothly -- if slowly. Therefore, we still take our chances with mail-in rebates when the deal is good enough.

Unfortunately, we've been burned a couple of times. Though the money is pocket change, it still irritates us to no end to find what was a great deal turned into a bum deal. But, one of the nice things about owning a website is that we are not entirely without recourse. Here, then, is a list of companies that have been less than perfectly on the level with their mail-in rebates:

Belkin, $3 from a CD case rebate (submitted on January 21,2002)
Belkin, $3 from a CD case rebate (submitted on February 18, 2002) (yeah, they got us twice, we're stupid that way)
Hi-Val (via Office Max), $10 (submitted September 1, 2002)
KHypermedia, $7 from a CD spindle rebate (submitted March 9, 2003) -- they sent us a letter stating that the receipt didn't meet the terms of the offer, and enclosed our entire submission, including the rebate receipt we sent in! Sheez!
Office Max, $5 from a CD spindle rebate (submitted March 9, 2003)
D-Link, $5 from an ethernet card (submitted December 8, 2003)
TurboTax, $29.92 from the TurboTax State software (submitted February 19, 2004)
TurboTax, $20 from the Premier Home & Business software (submitted February 19, 2004)

Now, we're not out for revenge, we're out for getting our money. These companies need only send us our rebates and we'll remove the names. Think of it as an overdue-book list at the local library. We don't care whether it's an official rebate check, a personal check from the CEO's checkbook, or a ball of cash in an unmarked envelope, as long as it equals the amount we're owed. Send us a note to get the address you can mail it to.

We don't see any reason to make a big fuss out of this, so let's keep this between the 100,000 of us, okay?