Rebates are used by many companies as a marketing promotion strategy to boost sales. This strategy is especially used to encourage consumers to purchase less popular and saleable products. Unlike coupons where all you need to do is avail of your discount at the check out counter, most rebates are in the form of check mailed back to the customer after a few weeks from the date of purchase. However, as the popularity of this scheme is becoming widespread, more and more companies are grabbing this chance to lure consumers but short-change them in the process. Add to that the lack of laws protecting the consumers from these types of anomalous practices; the buying public should be vigilant on how to avoid the rebate rip-off.
- Keep all receipts. When purchasing a product that has a rebate offer, keep the receipts because these will be required, among other forms, when you mail in to redeem the rebate. You can even request for double original receipts as some stores actually give them.
- Fill out the forms according to the instructions. Some companies will deny you the rebates because the forms were not filled out according to the instructions. So be very careful when doing this and make sure that you read all the fine print.
- Make a copy. If possible, make a copy of all the receipts, forms and other paper work so that you have proof in your hands. Taking note of the contact information of the rebate issuer which is usually printed on the rebate form should also be done so that you know where to contact them in case your check does not arrive in timely fashion.
- Mail in the completed requirements promptly. All rebate offers have expiration dates so be sure to send in all the required paperwork on time. This is why after coming home from the store, it is best to fill out the forms immediately lest you forget.
- Keep track of the time. Know exactly when your rebate check should come in. This way, you know when to call and follow them up for the money they owe you.
Our rights as consumers should always be protected by no less than us. Knowing them is one step of assuring that we do not get ripped-off. These anomalous practices can be curtailed if the companies know that the consumers are empowered and demand the best possible services in the market.