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How to Get the Most from Rebates

Rebates are a method that manufacturers and retailers use to encourage consumers to buy their products. Offered for a wide range of items, save shoppers money and increase their sales simultaneously. Unfortunately, people sometimes find that the requirements for the rebate are difficult to fulfill, and they often end up being disappointed because what they were expecting never materialized.

How to Get a Rebate

Note that you can redeem some rebates when you pay for your purchases at the retailer’s location. Others must be mailed in, and this category requires shoppers to send the necessary documentation to a company’s rebate redemption center. In addition, since some manufacturers allow the consumer to request a rebate by going online, you can always visit that company’s website to determine if they offer that option.

What You Need

As a rule, the items required to receive a rebate include a sales receipt, the rebate coupon, the product’s UPC code, and the purchaser’s mailing information, e-mail address and telephone number. In addition, the law requires the manufacturer to send a rebate within the timeframe indicated, and if that is lacking, within a reasonable amount of time, which is usually interpreted as 30 days.

What to Consider before Requesting a Rebate

If a rebate offer is affecting your purchasing decision, check the promotional offer’s expiration date and see if you will have sufficient time to meet that deadline. Note also if the cost of postage to obtain the rebate or special mailing instructions detract from the rebate’s value, which will cause you to lose interest in requesting it.

If you decide to buy a product that has a related mail-in rebate offer, the following guidelines will help to ensure that you receive the rebate you're are expecting:


  • Remember that most companies will ask you to submit your receipt or a copy of it in order to obtain a rebate. Also, retain the item’s packaging until you know that you have every required proof of purchase, such as UPC symbols, a box top or the company’s logo.


  • Read all of the inevitable fine print contained in the directions on the rebate form, and be sure that you have enclosed every bit of required documentation before your rebate request goes in the mail. At the same time, if anything seems unclear, try visiting the manufacturer’s website or calling the telephone number they have reserved for customers’ rebate inquiries.


  • Make and store a copy of every document you are submitting prior to mailing your rebate request, and if the rebated you expect is a considerable amount, you might want to think about submitting them via certified mail as a safety measure.


  • Mark your calendar to indicate when you should be receiving your rebate. Also, when you receive it, be sure to deposit the check promptly in your account before the expiration date arrives.


Consider the Source of the Rebate

Be certain that your promised rebate is coming from a well-known company, such as Dell, Amazon or Best Buy. At the same time, if the offer is made by a manufacturer that is unfamiliar to you, be aware that your request might be ignored, and decide if you are willing to pay the list price and if the product is something you really want.

Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email Thanks!


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