Why are rebates so popular with manufacturers?

Why are rebates so popular with computer parts manufacturers? Because the rebate houses, the companies that process the claims, guarantee that they won’t pay most of the claims!

So says Ed Foster in “The Gripe Line” column:

It’s happened to me. It was a hard drive rebate, and they said I didn’t enclose the original UPC (Which I did.) I told them I took a digital pic of it just in case, and they said nope, you need the original. I unfortunately didn’t pursue it further at the time.

I don’t think that’s anything new, or a secret. I know they’re depending on me to forget to send in my rebate. So I do it just to annoy them! And that get-my-money-back thing. If it’s a sizeable amount of money I make a copy of my stuff before I send it off.

So the terrorists have won.

Indeed. I was really busy at work at the time, and I just let it slide.

I’ve learned my lesson a little too late on this one. Memory, hard drives, even CD media. Not a single rebate I’ve sent in has paid back.
Often I have bought things on the rebated price only to lose the receipt or forget to send in the rebate form.

Once at BEST BUY they told me the rebate form would automatically print with my receipt when I paid for my computer memory. At the register, there was no rebate form. When I called them on it, (I held up a huge line until I got an answer) they were stunned that someone actually had the nerve to ask for the rebate form. Not only that, they claimed they had never seen a rebate form print out at the register, nor did they know how to produce one. I think they just wanted me to leave. The reaction was everything short of shutting up and turning their backs until I left. Had I not needed the memory so badly I would have demanded an immediate refund.

Fortunately I know how to make a manager appear out of thin air in a situation like this. I loudly proclaimed in front of many customers that BAIT AND SWITCH tactics are illegal. Poof, * “Sir, can I help you?” With that I went to the customer service desk and I got my rebate form. I filled out the paperwork on it and sent it in that night. The phone number on the rebate form was an invalid number, and I never got my rebate. fuckers.*

Maybe we need a law. A law against fraud.

Oh, wait. We already have those. Maybe what we need is some enforcement? A sting operation? Someone in the Attorney General’s office that does what they are supposed to do, like make sure customers aren’t ripped off?

Isn’t this the part of the program where a pro-business apologist comes along and reassures everyone that the Benevolent Invisible Hand of Capitalism will smite all evil corporations and reward the innocent consumers who have been reamed by rebate scams, and any attempt to resolve matters with legislation or regulations will upset the natural order and send the Earth plummeting into the sun?

In order for the Benevolent Invisible Hand of Capitalism to work, people have to give a shit. But most folks know that rebates are a load of shit, and are simply willing to buy the product for the non-rebate price.

:rolleyes: Well, I’m about as pro-business and libertarian as they come, and no libertarian wants business to operate in a criminal or fraudulent mode. One of the(very few) “proper” functions of government, according to Ayn Rand, is to protect citizens from criminals, in whatever disguise. To do otherwise would be anarchy.

If someone promises something and doesn’t deliver on that promise, that pretty much fits my definition of a criminal act. Not even a gray area.

I guess I’ve been lucky, I’ve got most if not all my rebates. But, I’ve only done maybe 3 or 4 them.

My rebate for a stick of memory was for $45. About a week before I expected to recieve the money, the company sent me an email with these “Fantastic” deals I could take instead of my money. Crappy old games or other software I could find elsewhere for around $10. I did get my money.

Don’t you know there are people who are voluntarily looking at pornography to prosecute before we go after those nice corporations?! Where are your priorities, man?!

I have purchased 3 items with rebates attached.

I received all 3 rebates.

Without complaining first? Some people have all the luck.

I have had really good luck with rebates. I’ve gotten them for desktops, laptops, cell phones, digital cameras, printers…and so on. There are only two off the top of my head I can remember not getting - one was for body wash, it was expired before I sent it in and didn’t notice, and one for the LotR DVDs. By buying both editions of TTT I wassupposed to get a $10 rebate. I couldn’t find the certificate from the thatrical edition, so I mailed away for it, to complete my rebate mail-in. It never came. I have received hundreds of dollars back, but I really don’t like doing rebates.

Oddly, your experience and that of others here is diametrically opposite to mine. In several years I’ve sent in scores of rebates, and the only one which was not paid was one where I mailed it one day past their deadline, and they were unwilling to give it to me. I was pissed, but they were following the letter of teh agreement so ultimately I had no valid argument.

Sometimes it takes a while. We just received back a $10 Baileys rebate sent in before Xmas. But we did get it.

I think I’ve posted about Cyberrebate before. That was an online store where everything had a rebate, sometimes a 100% rebate.

Their scheme, part 1: They expected a typical low “rebate fulfillment” rate, meaning that they expected few people to care enough to send in for the rebate.

And part 2: They overcharged for their goods.

The problem was that with an offer of “FREE! Just pay shipping!”, many people did send in for the rebate. Too many people, in fact. The store couldn’t handle all the rebates.

One week before I got my rebate, the store filed for bankrupcy. They expect to pay out 5 to 10% on the dollar, later this year, three years after they folded. (Fortunately, I’m only out $70. Some people were out several thousand dollars.)

Ed Foster is full of shit, drawing unwarranted conclusions out of thin air. It’s even worse because he actually gives one the reason why such a guarantee exists in the first place:

So: the acceptance of a rebate can be mathematically predicted, and on the basis of years and years of practice a company can say with near impunity (and a financial guarantee) that X rebate will only be sent in by Y% of people, and that’s somehow wrong? How do y’all handle your moral outrage at the life insurance industry and the CDC when they publish life expectancy tables? :rolleyes:

FYI, I’ve never had a problem getting my rebates, whether their from Best Buy, Circuit City, or some internet sales site.

Apologies for the grammar. “They’re from Best Buy…”

And my remarks above the quote should read “can exist…”