Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don't Forget to Send in the Rebate!

In all of my pre-wedding rushing around, I stuck Post-It notes everywhere to remember to send in the mail-in rebate for the printer I recently purchased. I did get it postmarked on the last date possible. I don't recommend doing that -- but better on the last day than afterwards or never.

Since it required sending in the UPC, I wanted to test out the printer to make sure it worked. I figured that if I sent that in and then found out the printer didn't work, it may be hard to exchange. I was going out of town for a bridal shower, but luckily, my sister picked up the slack for me and tested it while I was gone. She called me to say it was good to go -- and I dropped the rebate and related paperwork in the mail. What would have happened if it didn't work? I would have probably cried -- and been mad that I didn't find time to try it out earlier. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.

Those rebate people are serious about the due dates, so don't even both if it's postmarked past the deadline. I tried once, and I failed. I thought I even had a really good excuse. It was the year that President Ford died. President Bush declared January 2nd (the postmark deadline) for the rebate a national day of mourning. That meant that the post office was closed. The rebate wasn't post marked until January 3rd -- and I was out $20. Ugh.

One company that has been kind is Rite-Aid. I do their rebates online. I'm good about putting them into the system after I make a purchase, but since you can only request a rebate check once a month, I have to wait until the end of the month to process it. A couple of times recently, they've sent me an email to say that the deadline to request the check had passed. But they were kind enough to go ahead and request it for me. Ahhh...I love good customer service!

So, again you ask, "Are rebates worth it?" I think so. Of course, you've got to stay on top of them and all of the paperwork, details, and deadlines. If you can stay focused (and aren't planning a wedding!), then all should be well.

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Bryan said...

It’s interesting you mentioned rebates and UPCs – I just had an experience of my own with them. Fortunately it turned out positive. Here’s what happened:

I found a wireless computer mouse online at Circuit City for $9.99 (originally $35, but there was a $20 rebate and an instant savings of $5), so I bought it online and went during my lunch break to pick it up. As I was pulling into the parking lot, they called me and said they were mistaken, that they did not have any in stock, but another store did. The other store was only 6 miles away, so off I went. The other store was in Buckhead (northern part of Atlanta, where traffic gets really crazy during lunch time – that’s some info for all you none A-T-L-ians out there). Anyway, just as I hit the traffic, I got another call saying – you guessed it – the Buckhead store didn’t really have one in stock either. I told them to just refund my credit card (I had burned way too much gas by this point, anyway). They said that they had a delivery truck coming in the next day (which just happened to be the 4th of July) and that if I could stop by then, they’d still honor the price.

I didn’t think I’d be able to make it on the 4th, with running the Peachtree and all the other events, but I ended up not going to a parade so I had time to stop by (plus, the store was on the way to my next destination, so it wasn’t out of the way). When I got there, they told me that the truck was indeed there, but it probably wouldn’t be unloaded until later that evening. I was planning on going out of town that night, so coming back the next day wasn’t an option. Plus, by this point I was really wondering if the mouse was worth the hassle. We decided to browse around a while because we had some time to kill, but as we were leaving, Kristi spotted a display of mice that was 30 or 40 feet away from the regular mouse section and guess what was there? Yep – the mouse I wanted. So I got it for the price I had I had been promised (which was also the display price in the store – same sale they were having online). I assumed what had happened the day before: when the person went to locate the mouse, they checked only the main area and probably didn’t know there was another smaller display a little out of the way. But, that also means they have no faith in their inventory system, which correctly indicated they had some in stock.

I had the rebate in the mail the following Monday (including cutting and sending the UPC). By Wednesday, the mouse no longer worked! I took it back to the store and actually had a hassle-free exchange for another mouse. They didn’t care at all that I had cut off the UPC. One thing that might have helped is that everyone working behind the customer service counter were fairly young (early 20s, I’d say) and probably just didn’t care – didn’t want to do anything that would be a hassle to them. But, that’s perfectly ok with me! The replacement mouse is working great and it’s been two weeks now.

Betsy said...

Wow, Bryan! You definitely earned that deal! Glad to know it worked out in the end.