Rebates: A Worthwhile Venture Versus An Exercise in Futility
For some people including you, it may appear that rebating, or pursuing rebates on purchases, is a worthwhile venture. It may also prove to be an exercise in futility, which can lead to frustration for you, or others.
A lot depends on how you handle your rebate submission.
Awareness is the key!
Rebating is a growing trend, both in our era and for the future generations to come.
Rebates are being offered more and more frequently, as a marketing strategy by retailers, to increase business and sales. Numerous items like computers, printers, cameras, cell phones, cd or video players and other electronic items, can be purchased at remarkable prices, if and when rebates are used. This is one way to obtain amazing discounts on the prices for these items.
What you as the potential consumer, need to be aware of, is the reality that rebating requires some serious effort on your part, in order to obtain the rebate money. To do this successfully and avoid an exercise in futility, which can lead to a lot of unnecessary frustration, you might do well to consider some simple suggestions.
Each time a purchase is made by you as a customer, it is important to ascertain exactly what is required, in order for you to obtain the rebate that is being offered. Be aware of what the basic requirements are.
Generally, there will be at least three criteria that must be met.
First of all, there is the rebate form. The offer should provide some sort of an application form, more commonly called a rebate form, that will probably have to be filled out by you, or by someone at your place of purchase.
Note that there are some kinds of store rebate forms that do not require this. These will often look like a long receipt and will state that they are rebate forms. These, you just send in.
The rebate form that you have to fill out may not be obtainable from the store, or from your place of purchase. Because of the wide use of computers in our era, this kind of rebate form may have to be obtained from an online web site. You will be directed to the address of the web site. Make certain that you know how to navigate the site, in order to find the appropriate form. Then simply print it and fill it out. Some rebate forms can be submitted online, but not all of them.
You may be told that you will be sent a rebate form by the store, a customer service department, or by the company that handles their rebates. The rebate form may not be included with the item that is purchased, when it is shipped, mailed or otherwise sent to you.
If there is no rebate form, or there is no available rebate form online, this can be an extremely frustrating situation for you. In this kind of a scenario, it may be possible for you to submit the necessary information another way, for example, by putting it on a piece of paper, or a postcard. check with the rebate processing company for their guidelines.
The store may offer to fill out, or to submit the rebate form for you. In this kind of a situation, you do not have to do anything. A problem can arise though, if the store promises to submit the rebate, but then the submission is not made, or is not received by the rebate processing company.
Find out before making the purchase, if there is a rebate form that must be submitted by you and how you are expected to obtain one. Ask the store sales person if they are doing the rebate form submission for you, or see if they can help you to fill out the rebate form if you find this too difficult, or complex to handle by yourself. Many stores will do this as a courtesy and then all you need to do is to mail it in.
Note that rebates can be declined, simply because there is no rebate form included in the submission, or the one that is sent is not an appropriate rebate form.
As a customer, you may be asked to re-submit your rebate form, if the one you sent in is not received by the rebate company, or if it is not the one that they are looking for.
The second requirement will be some kind of a receipt, or something that provides proof of purchase by you as the customer, for the item in question.
This may be an actual store receipt. What is a store receipt? If you were to go to a store and purchase something, like a jug of milk, you would obtain a receipt from the clerk at the cash register, to show that you are the one who made the purchase.
Do not throw your receipts away. They may prove to be your only proof of purchase.
Receipts can take other forms as well. If the item you have purchased has been obtained with a credit card, a statement which includes that purchase, may not be accepted by the company that is paying out the rebate money.
It may be frustrating for you to suddenly become aware, that unless you can provide an actual receipt as proof of purchase, you may not be able to obtain the rebate money. A debit card statement may not be deemed to be acceptable as a receipt.
Note that there are times when including a packing slip from a shipping company, may be appropriate. Using a service agreement of some kind, may be allowed as a receipt. An order confirmation of some kind may be used at times and not at other times.
One important thing to be aware of is what kind of a receipt is expected by the company paying out the rebates. Try to provide the kind of receipt that they want initially, in order to save a lot of frustration, at a later date.
Ask your store or other place of purchase, “What kind of proof of purchase do I need, in order to obtain my rebate?”
The third requirement will probably be the label from the packaging that the item was received in, by you as the customer.
This can confuse and confound many people including you, if you do not realize that the label from the packaging, particularly one that has a lot of bar codes, contains information that is essential for the processing of the rebate.
Pertinent information is encoded into bar codes, so do not discard package labels with barcodes.
If the box or packaging that the item was received in has been thrown out by you, or by the store, it may not be possible for you to obtain the rebate payment. This depends upon the requirements of the company doing the rebate processing.
Never throw away the box, or packaging that you receive your purchase in, as it may still have important information that is required in order to have your rebate processed.
The label on the package may be referred to as an activation sticker, or it might be called a upc. The rebate processing company may request the original label, so in that case, just cut it off the box and send it with the other rebate requirements. Sometimes a copy of the label or upc is acceptable, but not always.
Do not staple or tape your label to your rebate form and receipt, as it may have to be set aside in processing, in order to remove the staples or the tape. Most rebate submissions are scanned in, or photocopied when they are received.
It is really important to keep copies of all the information that you submit. Even with all of our modern day technology, there is no guarantee that when you put something in the mail, that it will reach its destination. Certified mail is advisable, particularly if you are aware that there is the possibility of a problem with the mail, in your area.
If you are in doubt about the basic requirements of your rebate, how to submit or mail in the rebate, or where to mail it to, contact your place of purchase. Find out who the company is that is handling the rebate and if necessary, contact them directly by telephone, or by e-mail.
These simple suggestions can make your rebating experience into one that proves to be a worthwhile venture, rather than an exercise in futility. Happy rebating!