Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rebates are industry's best scam.

Rebates suck. Plain and simple. They are industry's best scam. It's a win-win-win-win-win-lose scenario, and guess who's on the losing side... that's right, it's the consumer.

First of all, you pay an inflated cost. The salespeople win out on commission, the store wins out on profits, the store and the manufacturer wins out because a product appears to be a lot cheaper and thus more attractive to a consumer, and the governments win out on taxes. You lose.

Second of all, you have to actively fill out the forms, cut out the UPC, address the envelope, waste a stamp, and relinquish your receipt (although some stores offer a rebate receipt). You typically can't do this until you're at home, and unless you're well-disciplined, you'll put it off for later. There are so many things that can go wrong:

- You forget. They win, you lose.
- You lose the receipt. They win, you lose.
- You lose the box. They win, you lose.
- You wait too long (often a very short window). They win, you lose.
- You address it incorrectly. They win, you lose.
- You mark any information incorrectly. They win, you lose.
- The package is lost in the mail. They win, you lose.
- The package is never processed. They win, you lose.

Thirdly, they make money off of your money and you lose that potential yield. That six to eight weeks of "processing" time? Your money is sitting in their banks earning a high-yield while they "process" a lot of laughter.

And then there's the rejections for whatever reason they want to reject for. I just got a $10 rebate rejected because the UPC symbol was invalid. How can a UPC symbol be invalid?!? It's a scam!

Sure, it's nice to get an semi-unexpected check in the mail, but my hit ratio with rebates is less than 50%. They ought to be illegal if you ask me. When I run for congress, making rebates illegal will be one of my priorities.


Anonymous Brent O'Connor said...

You'll get my vote!

11:42 AM  

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