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Mail in Rebates: How to Get the Manufacturer's Cash Rebate You Deserve

Updated on August 8, 2013

Applying for a rebate may be confusing

Are you frustrated with promises of manufacturer rebates that don’t materialize?

Have you purchased an item because the promised rebate made the offer too good to turn down? Manufacturer and store rebates can save you a lot of money, but getting the cash rebate can take time, persistence and attention to detail. Often the process of applying for a rebate is purposely confusing and complicated. According to market research by an independent consulting company, more than 40% of rebate offers are never redeemed. Those unredeemed rebates save the manufacturers millions of dollars at the expense of the consumer.

Read Rebate Forms carefully!

Be sure to read everything and pay particular attention to instructions in the fine print. Deadline dates are crucial!

Helpful Tips for Getting Your Rebate

If you are planning to make a purchase, these helpful tips will help you get the rebate you deserve.

  • Keep all paperwork. If you order from an on-line company, keep copies of email receipts, invoices and packing lists that come with the item.
  • If you order by phone, take notes. Make a note of the name of the person you talked with and his/her extension number. Jot down the date you talked, the order number, exactly what the purchase was and any additional items that you agreed to purchase like service contracts or expedited shipping. Also make a note of any special offers that were made like free shipping or free gifts if you purchased certain items. Ask that an itemized copy of your order be sent to your email address.
  • Read the rebate form carefully before you purchase the item, if possible. If you are buying two or more items that qualify for a rebate, you may need an original receipt for each one, so you’ll have to purchase the items separately. Be sure to read the fine print on the rebate form. Check off or highlight each of the requirements for the rebate.
  • Compare the item you purchased to the item listed on your rebate form to be sure it’s the same item, size, version, quantity, whatever. Do not open the package until you are sure you have the rebate eligible item.
  • Keep all boxes and packing material until you get your rebate. Each rebate may require different proofs: UPC codes, proof of purchase symbol or something else.
  • Make a note of the deadline for applying for the rebate. Most rebates are limited time offers and if you send your application in after the deadline, you’ll be out of luck.
  • Make copies of everything including the completed rebate form, the UPC symbols, your receipts and anything else that you send in. Jot down the date that you mailed your rebate application.
  • If your rebate is rejected, talk to a supervisor. If you’ve done everything you were supposed to do, and your rebate is rejected, make a phone call. Talk to a supervisor if possible. You may be surprised at the positive results this will get you.

Helpful Websites

Better Business Bureau Complaint File: You can view number and type of complaints against businesses or charities at this site before doing business with them.

Price Grabber: You can search for any item to see if there is a rebate offer. The site will tell you the terms and expiration date of the offer.

Don't give up if your rebate is rejected

Sometimes, despite your careful attention to detail and doing everything according to instructions, your rebate is still rejected. My advice is, don’t give up!

  • The most obvious recourse is to call the company offering the rebate (you have the phone number because you kept copies of all your paperwork, right?), and explain why you should receive the rebate. Ask to speak to a supervisor, as a supervisor can usually authorize a payment without your having to resubmit forms. You'd be surprised how often a phone call will resolve the problem.
  • If that doesn’t work and you are convinced that you are entitled to the rebate, file a complaint on line with the Better Business Bureau. 70% of complaints are resolved. The Better Business Bureau prefers that you try to resolve your problem with the company before contacting them. Once you have filed a complaint, they will forward it to the company within 2 business days.
  • Write to the company’s corporate headquarters.
  • File a complaint with the FTC or your state’s attorney general.

Don't Give Up ~ Get the Rebate You Deserve!

While these may seem drastic measures, especially for a small rebate, they have been proven to be effective with companies who have a history of not paying. Remember that some offers are designed so that consumers will give up rather than pursue the issue. If you purchased the required product, you are entitled to the promised rebate. Do pursue it!

One final tip on cashing rebate checks

Once you get your rebate check, cash it immediately. I once lost a $40 rebate because the check was misplaced and it expired! Most rebate checks have a time limit, and some are only good for 60 days.


© 2010 Stephanie Henkel


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    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Tillisontitan - I've done that, too. I found that I need to clip the receipt to the rebate form immediately after purchase, and send it in immediately so I don't forget. Manufacturers are sticklers for following the rules - any excuse to deny a rebate!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Good info Stephanie. My problem is sending in the rebate before it expires. I always seem to find it the day after! Voted up and useful.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Alecia Murphy - Sometimes the process is easy, sometimes it's frustrating, but it's usually worth a little effort to get the rebate that you deserve. Thanks for the read and comment!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Sunshine625 - Good idea to mark the calendar with the expected rebate date - it's easy to lose track. If they know what's good for them, they'll get you that rebate ASAP! :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent tips Stephanie! I even mark the calendar for the potential due date such as 6-8 weeks. I've never not received a rebate. They know better!

      Have a wonderful day!:)

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      These are great tips. I haven't applied for too many rebates but I do know it's a process- I think a lot of companies try to hold on to their money at any cost. But you're right, as a consumer there are many different ways to try and get the money you deserve. Great hub!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Lilleyth - You must be referring to a different hub... ???

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Definitely going to try this with some old tees. Great hub!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Stephanie, thanks for all this good information.Sometimes these rebates are hard to get and this hub will help others and make it easier in getting their rebates.

      Great hub!!!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for reading my hub, Erik. It was inspired by some problems I had with getting manufacturer's rebates for a printer I bought. A few phone calls did resolve the problem.

    • Erik Parker profile image

      Eric Parker 7 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Useful information. Thanks for taking the time to write it.