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The Rebate Master From Heck

This title was bestowed upon me by a friend for going out of my way to get those darn rebate checks. Rebates turn a good deal into a great deal, if you get the rebate.

Here’s what companies offering rebates expect:

  1. Most folks will forget to send or don’t want to bother with sending in the rebate coupon.
  2. Most folks will forget that they’ve sent in a rebate coupon.
  3. Most folks won’t bother calling up to ask why they haven’t received their rebate. Some companies will wait for this call before cutting and sending the check out.

Then there are nerds like me who xerox all the paperwork sent in as evidence, who keep track of outstanding rebate checks (a PalmPilot is good for this), and who will call up the company when the rebate check due date expires.

So far, most namebrand companies (like Maxell, TDK, Memorex) honor the rebate coupon when they receive it. Other namebrand companies (like Diamond Multimedia) will wait for the phone call before sending out the check.

Don’t send rebate coupons to no-namebrand companies if you can help it. You have a low chance of getting the rebate check back. Avoid buying a no-namebrand product just because the rebate makes it a good deal. Buy it only if it’s already a good deal and the rebate makes it a great deal.

If you’re sending a rebate coupon to CompUSA (“The Rebate Store From Heck”), you can kiss it good-bye.

If you need to send in more than one rebate for the same product, check that there isn’t a one per household restriction. If so, just use a friend’s name and address. (Make sure you enter which friend into the PalmPilot. Hey, that’s what friends are for! Abuse, Neglect….)

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