Rebates make me nervous

Before yesterday, my only experience with rebates was for electronics through TigerDirect, Staples, and CompUSA. You know what? Every single one of them found an excuse to reject my rebate request (and I was diligent about dates, bar codes, receipts, etc). So for years, I’ve never let the offer of a rebate affect my buying decisions.

With that in mind, I bought three qualifying board games on sale at Toys ‘R’ Us for those families I played not-so-Secret Santa to a few months ago. They were on sale for a decent price, like $13 marked down to $8, and each one was worth a $2 rebate. Lo and behold, I got a check for $6 from Hasbro yesterday – woohoo!

Between then and now, I looked into the rebate programs at Rite Aid and Walgreens. I never bothered with those because I didn’t think it would even be worth the stamp and envelope and the hassle of keeping track of all the paperwork. Well, now it’s all done online by registering your receipt number – pretty darn hassle-free. And since there are soooo many rabid couponers out there who’ve been doing it for ages, I figure it must be for real. My first rebates from those two pharmacies are due any day, and I’m expecting a $5 gift card from CVS this month too. I think of it as “recycling money” – most of the items were donated to charity, so I paid for them with the money I raised through my special ThaiForGood massage offer, and now the money can go back in the pot to be sent to a charity of my choice. Normally, I wouldn’t mind being temporarily out-of-pocket like this, but we’re talking $57 here, with $54  in refunds and $54 in gift cards coming back…gotta love when manufacturers pay you to buy their stuff!

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7 Responses

  1. I’m with you on rebates, MMK. I think they’re more hassle than they’re worth and never bother. My dad, on the other hand, hounds these rebates like nobody’s business. I hate it when he buys me gifts that have rebates because then I get pressured into doing the rebate stuff and he sends me emails everyday to make sure I do it. Aaarrrgh! It’s enough to rip my hair out!

    Over Christmas he purchased some computers from Circuit City with $150 rebates on them and with them going out of business and all, he hounded me sometimes twice a day to send the stuff off for that. I did, but never received anything and he wanted me to follow up because I had all the stuff. I finally had to put my foot down and tell him I just didn’t have the time to chase rebates. I did what was requested and he needed to contact them. I haven’t heard another word about it, so I have no idea what happened.

    But, then again, companies bank on the fact that most people won’t bother with rebates so they get to keep their money. I hope you have better luck with your rebates than I ever do!

  2. I call it “Sending Future Anny a Check”

    I ❤ any and all rebates! Its the perfect way to turn all those CVS ecbs back into real money.

  3. I only go for the medium to big rebates. The last 3 I’ve submitted have all been after the final date (1-3 weeks) and I’ve gotten all of the money. It’s always a fun suprise to get the check I’ve long since forgotten about.

  4. I have had little to no success with rebates as well and like you am careful about reciepts, bar codes, dates. I’ve given up on most of them. I can’t buy an item just based on the rebate.

  5. I’ve never had a mail-in rebated rejected, *knock on wood* but I usually anxiously await them, worried that they didn’t go through. I always hear so many horror stories!

    The Rite Aid rebate program is pretty awesome. I just got my first check last month. Since it’s all online, you can go on and check the status. If it’s been rejected you can look it up within a few days. Worse comes to worse, just return the product. I probably wouldn’t bother if I had to mail in.

  6. kate, did you get your rite-aid rebate in the mail today? I did!

  7. I hate rebates too, though I must say I have had good luck with them. A few years ago I bought an office chair at Office Max, and then didn’t get it sent in in time. I talked with someone at the store, and they told me that the rebate would actually be going live again in a week or two, so for me to come back then. They could return the chair and resell it to me so that I had a new window of opportunity in which to fill out the rebate paperwork. That was nice of them!

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