Seven Rules for Playing the Rebate Game

Aug 17 22:08 2006 Pamela Bruce Print This Article

Rebates seem to offer something for very little money, or even free. However, you have to know a few things berfore you can play the rebate game.

I am sure you have all seen these ads in print or online. A store offers a computer system,Guest Posting a digital camera or a printer for a very low price. And then you see the little footnote "After rebates". Is it worth playing the rebate game? Here are a few rules:

1. Decide whether you really want the product. Just because something is cheap after rebate does not mean that it is a quality product or will satisfy your requirements. If possible, look up a review (go to, or start a google search with the product name and the word "review").

2. Make sure you know what you are getting. Don't be fooled by the picture - there is often a disclaimer somewhere in the ad stating that these pictures are for illustration purposes only and may not reflect the actual product. Find out the exact manufacturer and product name - note that there might be a huge difference between model X100 and model X100-B.

3. Compare prices. You might be able to find the product elswhere for the same (or even a lower) price, and without a rebate. Websites such as and will give you detailed pricing information.

4. Read store reviews. Sites such as and also include reviews about the online store, so that you can avoid a store that might be cheap but has lots of customer complaints.

5. Find out the rebate details. Luckily, many stores now make the actual rebate form available online (usually in PDF format). Take a look at the conditions. When does the rebate expire? How soon after purchase does it have to be sent in? What exactly do you have to send in - copies or originals of store receipts, bar codes, etc? This is particularly important if there are two or more rebates (for instance, one for the computer and one for its monitor).

6. Find out the "rebate reputation". Search for the brand or store name and the word rebate on the internet. Do you find several discussions complaining about rebates that were never paid or took months and months?7. Fill out the rebates carefully and make copies of everything. Also note the 1-800 number or e-mail address where you can check on the progress of your rebate.

Now before you go out and spend lots of money on "almost free (after rebate") products, sit back and think for a moment. Manufacturers and stores don't give rebates out of the goodness of their hearts, but to increase profits. They know that a certain percentage of customers will forget to send in the rebate form, or send it in too late. Other forms will be rejected for missing certain parts. Finally, even if your rebate is honored, you might have to wait for a long time, plus your data might end up on a mass mailing list. Consider all this before buying a product that offers a rebate.

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Pamela Bruce
Pamela Bruce

Pamela Bruce lives in Austin, TX. She is the owner of Love Beads Unlimited and sells the sterling silver and Swarovski crystal bead jewelry she designs and creates on her website at, where you can also download the free e-book "A Consumer's Guide to Buying Bead Jewelry Online".

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