The lure of dollars back from rebates often entices the shopper to buy something they may ordinarily pass by. This is exactly what the marketing firm that is offering the rebate is targeting. Beyond this they plan on a certain percentage of people forgetting to fill out and mail the appropriate materials in or making an error on one of the steps.
Assuming you have purchased a item that is associated with a rebate offer there are a number of steps can follow to maximize your chance of getting that check in the mail. For starters if you are not one to pay attention to detail it’s best to temper your enthusiasm for getting rebates by the fact that it is likely you will be disappointed when a percentage of your submissions do not lead to money in your mailbox.
Therefore to optimize your chances of getting the rebate be meticulous in following each and every step outlined on the rebate form.
For starters when you are at the store be sure to check your receipt to make sure it is correct, not blurred or the end of the paper tape roll and that the pertinent information is shown such as the item, SKU number, quantity, store name, date, etc. Obviously you should be aware of the rebate requirements for the quantity and model number of the item you are purchasing. You should also ask for a duplicate receipt to be printed so that you’ll have a copy for your records. In addition ask about any rebate forms that the establishment can provide for that offer. Always check your purchase for the Universal Price Code bar code that is typically required to be submitted. It is not unheard of for people to remove or cut out the UPC code on particularly lucrative rebate offers.
If you have any thoughts at all about eventually returning the item for a refund it is simplest not to proceed with a rebate submission. Once you remove the UPC bar code and try to return an item you will find the store management balking at returning your money or deducting the amount you will be getting in the mail from the rebate submission.
If you decide to submit read the form completely paying attention to all the requirements and fine print. If, for some reason, the form is unusable you can often find the forms online or you can call the store and see if they have a form you can have or copy.
When filling out the rebate form print neatly and legibly. Some forms will say specifically you cannot skip this step by using an address label or stamp to speed up the process. Include all the information that is required. Also note that many rebates preclude using a box number in the submission in lieu of a street address.
Next carefully cut out the UPC code allowing enough margin to include all the numbers at the bottom of the code. In the majority of rebate offers it is required to submit the original UPC code so be sure to keep track of it once you have cut it out. In some cases where you want to maintain the original packaging it is suggested that you use a sharp pointed razor or similar knife to cut through the plastic blister packaging. Be very careful doing this since the knife can easily slip.
The requirements on submitting receipts vary with the offer. Some will require the original receipt. Others will accept a duplicate receipt and still others take a copy. Since most offers are only valid for certain date ranges it doesn’t hurt to use a highlighter on the date, the item purchased and the store. Indeed some offers require this.
When preparing to mail the rebate materials it is safest to use a computer to print out the mailing envelope so it is clear. Another approach is to cut out the submission address from an extra form and tape that to the envelope. Be sure that your return address is clearly displayed on the envelope.
When you have collected and filled out the submission materials make a copy of everything you will be submitting including copies of the UPC bar code, the receipt, the submission form and even the printed envelope. Make sure the copy of the form you keep shows the fine print that often gives the online address or phone number where you can inquire on the status of your application. Keep a file of these open rebates and when a check is received withdraw the file, write the date the check was received at the top and move it into a closed file.
Typically most rebate forms indicate how long you should expect to wait before receiving your money. Keep track of when rebates are due and start checking around that date on the status. If the time elapsed exceeds that listed on the form contact the rebate department either via email or phone and inquire as to the status.
If you have a rebate rejected immediately inquire about the reason and be professional at all times when discussing what steps you can take to rectify the situation. Since you will have a file of all the materials you submitted originally volunteer to mail or fax copies as requested. In addition you may consider other methods of providing proof of purchase such as credit card invoices, photos of the item packaging, etc.
Finally be aware of several things regarding the checks you will be sent. You’ll discover that many have a specified amount of time within which you must cash or deposit the check. In addition if you are planning on being away from your residence for an extended period of time keep in mind that some companies print the checks in post card formats which may not be forwarded by your post office since it may not be first class mail. In these cases the checks may be destroyed by the post office. If there is a question concerning this possibility contact the rebate inquiry line first to see in what form they mail the rebates.