Posted by : Amanda Stein Friday, December 7, 2012




A rebate is a type of sales promotion where the buyer pays the full amount of the product purchased and then mails a coupon or receipt for a predetermined amount or percentage; this amount is then refunded to the customer, usually by check. Rebates could be offered to you either by the maker or the seller. In many cases, chain retailers and manufacturers work together. Sometimes the customer has options on how they can receive the refund: via PayPal, a prepaid card or check.

There is of course a waiting period. Most rebates take around 3 months to process, so you may have to wait for a minimum of 90 days to get your money back.

Some of the reasons rebates are popular with sellers is because:

  • They are able to collect information about their customers; this helps them in their marketing efforts.
  • When prices increase, rebates are an enticement for customers to purchase the products. As the maker or seller receives the entire amount at first, they earn short term interest.
  • Usually, the procedure is slightly complicated with customers having to supply original receipts, barcodes and so on, along with other information, which the company may require them to. Failure to provide any of the above could disqualify you from receiving the rebate.
  • It’s a great way for a new company to gain visibility or for an existing one to launch a new product of which the consumers may be skeptical
Benefits to buyers:
  • The company is basically paying you to buy their products. Do you seriously want to miss such an opportunity?
  • It’s a great way to get good products at reduced rates; especially if time is not a pressing issue.

In the last year, a whopping 47% of consumers mailed in their rebates to various companies; this figure is up 10% from 2010. In money terms, 8 billion dollars were refunded to American families in 2011. 

Thanks to the popularity of the Internet and ecommerce, rebates can now be sent via email. Several companies like Staples, Sears, Tiger direct and Rite Aid, among others, offer online rebates. Now several utility services like Southern California Gas, RPU and so on, also provide rebates. There are even sites like CashReporter.com, Ebates, Pricegrabber.com, Mr. Rebates and the like, that will list all the rebate offers and tell you which site is offering the biggest cashback. 

So, if you want to save money on your online shopping bills, head to some of these sites. Usually, the companies or sellers are listed category wise, and you can choose from that list. Some have the hottest deals or the latest ones prominently displayed on the landing page, with the categories of companies offering the rebates are listed on the side. Ebates.com also displays the featured stores on one part of the page. 

Mr. Rebates claims they have cashback offers of up to 30 % on online purchasing done through their portal. Once you earn the requisite amount of rebates, you just need to cash out and your PayPal account will be credited or you will be sent a check. You need to create an account to access all these offers. Not only is sign up free, you also get a $5 bonus when you do so. They feature more than 200 stores like Dell, Target and QVC. 

Apple also offers rebates; usually in the form of the ability to buy Apple products for that much amount. For example, if you buy a Mac for college, you could get $ 100 that need to be spent on apps. On their site, there is a form where you need to enter the zip code and either your email, phone or claim number.
Ford offers rebates on service. Lowes, Epson and Costco are other prominent sellers/makers who offer online rebates.

Go forth, and multiply your savings!

This is a guest post by Ethan Millers of bw9.com, a site that offers savings and current information on comcast cable and comcast internet.

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