All About Mail in Rebates Part 2: The Do’s and Don’ts of Submitting for a Rebate
Last Update: 4/13/2016
So, after reading All About Mail in Rebates Part 1, you know the “why” of the rebate, let’s discuss the “how.”
Filling out the Mail in Form
Here are some things to keep in mind when filling out your rebate form:
1. Try out the item and make sure it works first. Rebates require the actual UPC barcode from the box or package and merchants will not accept a return without the code, so make sure you do not need to return the item before you cut into the packaging.
2. Fill out every field. Do not leave anything empty, otherwise your rebate could get rejected. Print legibly in ink – no cursive or pencils. Don’t run the risk of your rebate getting sent to the wrong address because an “S” looks like a “5.” Remember that the person typing in your rebate, might not speak English.
4. Include a phone number. Most people worry they will receive telemarketing calls as a result, and even though numbers are generally not used, consider creating a Google Voice or Skype account and using that number instead.
5. Include an email address. Again, you do not have to use your everyday email address and can create one specifically for rebate purposes, but you don’t want the processors to use this as an excuse to reject your rebate.
6. Make sure you have everything specified on the form. This includes the original UPC barcode, receipt, and any additional requested information. Keep in mind that packing lists are not acceptable as “receipts.” Circle the item on your receipt and the date of purchase. Make sure the UPC barcode number matches the one on the product.
Now that you know how to properly apply for a rebate, here are the best practices for sending in and collecting your rebates.
Sending in Your Mail in Rebate
Carefully review the submission form and ensure you have included what they want: can you send in copies of items or do they only want originals? Also make sure that you keep a copy of each document for yourself and tape or staple them together with a copy of your completed rebate form. If you don’t like filing hard copies, then scan all the documents into your computer and store them in a rebate folder.
Put on the appropriate postage, and if they require you to send in a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE), make sure you have written legibly on it and included enough postage for the return trip. For larger rebate amounts, send them in via certified USPS mail.
After Sending in your rebate, Now what?
1. After a couple of weeks have passed, check your rebate status online or via their 800 number.
2. If you do not see your rebate posted within the specified dates, give them a call anyway. There have been rebates requiring a phone call or Live Chat to receive them – they will not even process them unless you call the center directly.
Staples recently gave me the excuse that the rebate submission did not migrate into their database even though I followed the rules. I had to manually Live Chat and give them the info again!
3. After receiving the rebate check, make sure you cash it promptly, otherwise, it may expire. Many rebates are sent in the form of a prepaid debit card. These also must be used before the expiration date. One way to ensure you do not leave any value on the card is to use it as the first form of payment: many stores allow you to pay for items using multiple credit cards, so use these rebate cards first before making up the difference on your own.
4. Finally, if you do not receive your rebate, complain to the store where you purchased the product, the manufacturer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), https://www.ripoffreport.com/, and your state’s attorney general’s office. Call a local consumer help hotline. Continue working your way up the chain until you get results.
Rebates do not have to be a painful way to save money. If you play the game correctly, you will get what you are due. Follow our tips the next time you redeem a rebate and reap the benefits!
Do you have any other suggestions on working the system to ensure that you receive every bit of the rebate that you’ve been promised? Tell us in the comments section or via Twitter @BuyVia!