Are Rebates Worth it?

Has this ever happened to you? You go to the store to buy something — like a printer — and you find just the one you want. But right next to it is a printer that’s around the same price but has a rebate that knocks $50 off of it. You buy it, promising yourself that you’ll take care of the rebate in the tomorrow. But, of course, you don’t. Eventually the rebate expires and you’ve bought a printer that you didn’t really want in the first place.

Rebates are designed to be a hassle leading to most people never redeeming them. That’s why companies can afford to offer them and put strict and frustrating requirements on them. But, there are three things you can do to ensure that you get any rebate due to you:

  1. Don’t procrastinate. Fill out the forms and clip the bar codes as soon as you get home. Don’t get immersed in the new product you’ve just purchased before you take care of business.
  2. Read the offer’s fine print. If you make a mistake at this stage of the process, the company can deny your eligibility for a rebate.
  3. Make copies of everything. Whatever you’re required to send to the company—box tops, receipts, bar codes, coupons, letter—make a copy of each item in case you’re denied the rebate. With copies, you can appeal the company’s decision.
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