The Rebate

Rebates

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.

Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R

And, proving that miracles do happen, this time around I actually got my rebate.

It took some time though.

Time line:

  • 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 $2.00 $20.00.

And I still don’t like rebates.

9 thoughts on “The Rebate

  1. Gallaria

    I’m with you on that one! I’ve only received 2 of the many I’ve sent in. And of the 2 only Sears made it within the timeline they promised. (It, too was a VISA card.)

    Like

  2. Jesse

    I don’t know if they are in your area, but there is a hardware store called Menards that my step dad always got his mail in rebates from in a timely manner. The rebates could only be used in the store, but he used them frequently enough that eventually he got into a cycle where he was buying rebated items with rebate checks and paying nothing out of wallet for his home improvement/maintenance projects.

    Like

  3. Toldain

    Last year, I received a letter from the CA State Attorney General’s office stating that, under the unclaimed property laws, there was some money due to me, and did I want it. This was rebate money from a mail in offer I sent in in roughly 2003. I said yes, and I got a check a few weeks later. I don’t remember the amount, but it was roughly 20-40 bucks.

    I’m sorry that I can only like this post once.

    Like

  4. Jason

    I’ve done probably a half dozen rebates buying parts from Newegg. I’ve never had an issue getting my money back, and I’d say the longest it’s taken any company to issue the rebate is probably about 6 weeks. Sorry to hear that it’s not so smooth for ya’ll. :(

    Like

  5. Bhagpuss

    I don’t think we have Rebates in the U.K. Or if we do, I’ve never seen one. Frankly I’d pay $20 *not* to have to do all that. Oh wait, I can not do it for free….

    Like

  6. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Sleepysam – We watched “Hot Tub Time Machine” the other night, which seemed to be written entirely to reference other John Cusack movies, so of course the two dollar joke was in it.

    Like

  7. Zach

    I agree, I sent in for a rebate on a Toshiba Laptop I bought from Fry’s Electronics (large electronics store in Vegas). I didn’t read the fine print that said I had to go online and register the laptop with the rebate company within 48 hours. So I lost the $150 rebate. I sent in the rebate but I wasn’t registered. So they sent me a letter that said sorry you are SOL…

    Like

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