It seems that a good number of us have been burned by mail in rebates. I personally have been given the run around by several companies.
To protect ourselves from mail in rebate (mail-in fraud), here are a few steps.
1. Make copies of Receipt
2. Make copy of UPC code
3. Make copy of completed rebate coupon
4. Send certified mail or get a return receipt
5. Pay with Credit Card.
The first three are self explanatory. You really need a copy of the receipt to prove you purchased the item and you need a copy of the UPC code to prove you purchased it from a retailer. Second, a good deal of companies claim to never having received your courier. It's funny that any time any of us pays our bills, in very few instances do our creditors fail to receive payment. However for companies advertising mail-in rebates it seems to be normal business operation. The US Postal Service may have its flaws but they are not that incompetent. Lastly after arguing with the company who offered a mail-in rebate and not having received your money, you can always file a complain with your credit card company and demand at least the amount of the rebate credited back to your account.
I had to call Xerox three times and wait roughly six months to receive my $50 rebate on a P8 printer I purchased. When I enquired about the delay, they claimed never to have received it. However I had proper documentation and after several calls to remind them even after they had agreed to pay, I was finally reembursed.
With Sony, when I purchased a laptop they offered a $100 rebate. They claimed to have received all proper documentation and claimed to have sent out the check. After two months, speaking to several people at Sony and at the disbursement company they finally sent the money.
Whenever possible it's best to receive an in-store rebate. At least you're guaranteed a discount on the purchase price. Otherwise shop at your own risk, but do try to minimize your risk by taking some precautionary steps.
Safe & Happy Shopping
P.S. Has there been anyone who hasn't been given the run around by these companies??
Very good advice -- kudos
Personally, I've only had a problem once, out of about 30 or 40 mail-in rebates total, but that's because I do keep photocopies of EVERYTHING, and I try to be as forward-helpful as possible (i.e., as well as filling their forms with font size 6 handwriting [who came up with boxes that small???], I'll also type in my name/address/details in big letters, I staple everything nicely together so its not lost in the envelope, I circle the relevant info on the receipt, etc)
One time The Learning Company (Compton's line of products) sent me a refusal... this was, of course (Murphy is a God) the only time I forgot to make copy of UPC (although I had copy of receipt). So I sent them the jewel case insert of my CD with copy of receipt and begged forgivness (although I guess they received UPC the first time around...), and I received it months later...
Mind you, they usually take at least 2 months longer than they claim... I just don't let that bother me... I buy stuff on Future Shop Card, I don't have to pay it for almost 4 months anyway
They might as well ask us to send them a stool sample.
>> just dont buy with rebates..
I'm not sure I'd so freely give unsupported advice. Sure, they're not always easy -- some effort is required (TANSTAAFL). But I got enough software & hardware free, or at ridicilous prices, that rebates, when properly exercised, are still a very attractive option for me.