41% Of People Forget To Send In Rebate Coupons

from the exactly-what-they-want dept

This probably won’t surprise many people, but the reason why all of those “rebate” programs work is because lots of people never even bother to send in the rebate information to get their money back. So, they buy based on the lowered “rebate” price, but actually pay much more. Combined with rebate programs that do everything possible (delays, random reasons for denying rebates, etc) to make sure you don’t get your money, and the rebate business seems to be a fairly lucrative one.

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Comments on “41% Of People Forget To Send In Rebate Coupons”

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Beck says:


One good thing about Wal-Mart – they don’t screw around with rebates on hardware and software. When everyone else sells McAfee AntiVirus for $50 less a $20 rebate, Wal-Mart sells it for $30 out the door.

It’s the same for computers. The price on the shelf is the price you pay, period. It’s a shame they have such an awful selection of computers. I think they would make a killing if they seriously went into that segment. If you could buy a system at Best Buy for $1,000 less $300 in rebates from four different vendors, or buy it at Wal-Mart for $700 up front, where would you go? You would also save on sales tax, since tax is charged before rebates.

Beck says:


I have always hated the idea that Dell offers rebates when you buy a computer.

If I buy directly from Dell online, and give my money directly to Dell, why don’t they just discount their price? Why do I have to pay them and then go through the rebate process to get my money back from them?

This article explains why. It’s because they want to take advantage of their customers.

nonuser says:

Re: Dell

Funny you should mention Dell. After I bought one of their PCs I followed all the rebate instructions to a ‘T’, even made a backup copy of the packing slip when they (falsely) claimed I hadn’t sent it in… and they stiffed me anyway. Changed their story and said I ordered from a web page (since long gone, of course) to which the rebate didn’t apply.
So you can guess what I do with Dell’s catalogs when they come in the mail.

Itch says:

Rebate Bounties

I recently went round and round tring to get a 100 dollar rebate from a Tivo purchase. The bloody company made life a living hell getting it, though I made sure I got the check in the end.
It made me wonder though. With all the hassle and time involved, maybe that will allow for a new business to be formed. I was willing to give up to 10% of the rebate just for someone to harrass the people everyday, and to stay on top of it. I know there are companies that exists specifically to take over notes and loans. Maybe the same could be done with rebates.

Director Mitch (user link) says:

Re: Not Surprising

A few years ago I was working with one of the top inkjet printer companies. At Christmas, they had a mail-in discount on one of their printers that was so large, that it was cheaper to buy the printer (with discount) than it was to buy a stand-alone refill ink cartridge.

Their response – only 20% of the people sent in the rebates.

This number is a lot lower that what is quoted here, so my guess this number changes based on segment, time of the year, where the purchase happens, and other items (for example, I would bet that low-end rebates for day-to-day items are redeemed more than high-end items).

Bill Eccles says:

Re: Re: Not Surprising

Remember the iMac’s introduction? Apparently, Apple had a MAP policy in place and the net result was that the difference in prices between the major catalog companies (MacMall and ClubMac spring to mind) was $0. So they differentiated their product by offering free stuff by rebate, mostly scanners.

Remember what that did to UMAX and others?

All of a sudden, people started returning those rebates to the tune of >90% return rate. And you can’t build a zillion scanners for $10 each and stay afloat.

I guess it’s back down to the usual, huh?

james naas says:

ethics of mail-in rebates

If a company wants to give you a lower or sale price then it is simple to markdown the price at the front end. Given the fact that many people do not, for various reasons, fuss with the rebate process, how ethical is this practice? Just because it’s legal does not mean it is ethical. But I know all those companies really care about their customers.
All hail the God of Greed and Money.

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