Rebate Overview

I buy lots of things that have partial or total rebates. I have gotten lotsa free stuff this way. Keyboards, CD-R's, sound cards, motherboard memory, mouses, and much more.

Here is the results of my experience.
There are several different types of rebates.

  • 1) 'Direct' - This type of rebate is direct from the manufacturer. An example of this is when I bought a HP 48 calculator and the rebate was mailed directly to HP.
  • 2) 'Store' - The store rebate. This rebate is sent to a representative of CompUSA, Circuit City, OfficeMax or the like.
  • 3) 'Manufacturers Representative' - The manufacturers rebate sent to a representative of the company (usually in Arizona or Young America MN).

Some products offer a combination of two of the above rebates, almost always a Store and Manufacturers Representative. Unfortunately, in the below data, I rarely differentiate the different types of rebates.

Rebate Advice

Here is some simple advice about rebates:

  • Only buy from reputable stores. This is in case the rebates don't work. A reputable store such as OfficeMax or CompUSA will almost always back up the rebate (that means pay out the rebate amount) if you have documented it properly.
  • Always, always make copies of everything you send in. A copy of the envelope is overkill, but make copies of the rebate form (front and back if there is writing on the back), the receipt, and the UPC code at a minimum. I used to use a copy machine, but now with cheap scanners and big hard drives there is no excuse not to do this. Use the scanner in black and white mode, as it makes clearer images and the images are smaller. Once in a while, I use gray scale when the original is in color, to make it easier to read.
  • Only use rebates that have a phone number (preferably a toll free one) or a web address. The phone numbers don't always work, nor do the web addresses, but not having contact info means no recourse if there are problems.
  • Write clearly. My handwriting sucks, and even clearly written stuff can be misread my some of the rebate folk.

Companies I have submitted rebates to

Here is a list of all the companies I have dealt with since 1998 (except the fraudulent Cyberrebate scum). In some cases I specify the product rather than the formal company name as I am more familiar with the product than the formal manufacturers name. Unless otherwise noted, rebated were received at the expected time. Don't think that I am wealthy, since 90% of this stuff was free after rebate.

Microsoft Rebates

Say what you will about their software, but Microsoft has never screwed around with rebates for me, or hardware warranty problems. I have bought far too much Microsoft hardware and software, and I have always gotten my rebates from Microsoft with no fuss, and quickly to boot. They are the gold standard to me about how rebates should be handled. They have never 'lost' a rebate either.

Only Intuit is close to them for quality and speed of rebates.

Here are the latest weasels for rebates:
Most of the time, I get the rebates on time. Sometimes I have to call the company in order to get my rebate. Here is a list of companies that I have had to call to get my rebate.

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