Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to Rebate: Follow this Guide to Avoid Rebate Rejection

Rebates take a certain amount of time and effort from you, the consumer – following the guidelines on the rebate, filling out the form, including the necessary documents, dropping off the mail, cashing in the check, plus you need to keep track of the paperwork! But it can be worthwhile if you use rebates in combination with sales prices and coupons, getting you a significant discount or even an item free! 

I don't mind doing rebates. I do them because I like the checks, but I can sometimes dislike the work involved. Over the years, some manufacturers have made rebates easier, and some more difficult. I have gotten quite a few rejections, and finally I realized I needed to take control of the rebate situation, or not do them. If you do it right it is worth it!

There are several very important steps to take when doing rebates if you want to avoid rejection:

Find the proper forms. Your local grocery or drug store may also have forms – either in the aisle by the product, on a product shipper or on a board or tucked away in a box in the office. Do not be afraid to ask the manager if they have any current rebate forms. There is also a list of rebate centers online. I keep an up to date (as much as I can) rebate list here

Rebate form organization is key. Keep a folder for all of your rebates, receipts and UPCs. Organize them by expiration date!

Purchase the correct products. I keep a list of what products I need in order to redeem current rebates I am interested in. Make sure to read the fine print and buy the correct product. Do not buy anything you will not use/do not need. 

Mail your rebate on time. You will receive a “box closed” submission returned to you if you mail outside of the last postmark date or form expiration date (some forms only list one or the other).

Make copies of your submissions. This will come in handy if you do get rejected. 

Do not attach your receipt and/or UPC to the form unless it specifically tells you to! 

Note: I used to attach them, thinking it would make sure they got my proofs, until I was told that the rebates are usually processed by a machine! The machine opens the envelope, and counts the contents: UPC/Receipt/Form. Then it is either accepted (then handed off to a human processor) or rejected, based on the number of contents. If you attach the proofs to the form, it will count it as ONE item, not multiple items, and you will get rejected. 

• Always sort your mail carefully. Many rebate checks are created to look like junk mail. Don't be fooled into throwing out money!

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