I don’t like them.
Generally, I mentally removed any mail-in rebate listed in an ad from my calculations, since at least half the time I send in the documentation for a rebate I never hear anything again.
And a good percentage of the time, when I do hear back it is to be told that I failed to provide something or fell outside of the required date range. I think Sony’s policy used to be to return rebate forms claiming that the offer had expired regardless of the actual date. I had two forms returned from them that were clearly within the rebate period printed on the rejection form claiming that the offer had expired.
I still fill out the rebate forms all the same. The effort is usually small and it tends to be an indicator of what sort of company I am dealing with and whether I will deal with them in the future. It is very difficult, for example, for Sony to sell me any consumer electronics any more.
So, when I built my new computer back in October, there was a $20 rebate for the motherboard I purchased for the system.
And, proving that miracles do happen, this time around I actually got my rebate.
It took some time though.
- 10/12/2010 – Purchase Gigabyte motherboard at Fry’s, which prints out all the rebate information on a separate piece of paper for me. They find it easier just to do that so they don’t have to deal with rebate questions.
- 10/13/2010 – Fill out online registration form with fulfillment company that is handling the Gigabyte rebate. The domain for the fulfillment company site is 4myrebate.com which according to a whois lookup, is owned by Systemax, Inc. Hrmm…
- 10/13/2010 – Receive confirmation from the fulfillment company which includes further instructions and a tracking number and direct link to get status on my rebate. At least I can if it goes into a black hole.
- 10/18/2010 – Mail rebate forms and UPC code to the San Diego address provided. Estimated time for first class post to reach San Diego from San Jose: 1-2 days.
- 10/28/2010 – Receive email acknowledgment from fulfillment company that they have received my forms.
- 11/1/2010 – Receive email notice that my rebate, which will come in the form of a pre-paid VISA card, has been approved and that it will be mailed out in 8-10 weeks with the basic level of service. I can, however, opt for expedited service for $10.00 if I need my rebate sooner. I decline.
- 1/13/2011 – 10 weeks and 2 days after my claim was approved, I receive notification that my pre-paid VISA card will now be mailed to me and that I should receive it in the next 7-10 days.
- 1/22/2011 – The $20 pre-paid VISA card actually arrives. Elapsed time since purchase: ~15 weeks.
The sad part about this time line is that this is, without a doubt the absolute best rebate experience I have ever had.
I bought the item at Fry’s which has a policy of giving you a separate related print-out with full instructions and a special rebate receipt.
The fulfillment company had a web site that let me track the status of my rebate.
The fulfillment company sent me status updates via email.
And the fulfillment company actually met the (low) expectations they set, give or take a few days.
More than a quarter of a calendar year, but at least I got my
And I still don’t like rebates.