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Tax Rebates

By David Catt

Why rebates? Why not just temporary reduced the price like a sale? I am sure you have asked yourself this question many times.

The answer is quite simple really. Some companies offering a rebate do not want to give you anything. They just want to lure you like a fish to bait. The bait is an imaginary price you will pay for the product. The ad usually shows in BIG numbers this price and the actual price in tiny numbers. Once you get their product home, they hope you will happy with the price you think you paid and forget about it.

Did you remember to pick up a rebate form? They hope not. Would you go back to get one - probably not. Some places are printing out the rebate form with your sales receipt (applause!). Some companies put the rebate form in with product. Watch the rebate expiration date. Sometimes a product will sit on the shelf too long and the enclosed rebate will have expired.

Ok, you have the rebate form. READ IT! Read all of it - normal print, fine print, front and back. Look at offer expiration and "purchased between" dates. I got burned once buying an advertised rebate product a few days before the rebate actually started. What you are required to send? My favorite is the original sales receipt. What if you have purchased two items with rebates? What is the processing time and a point of contact should you not receive your rebate check within that period? I suggest putting the contact on the calendar on the last day as a reminder. If the rebate does not have a phone number contact you stand a chance of getting burned. I have on three separate occasions. I suggest you go to the rebate center at the store and picking up rebate form and read it before making the purchase.

Test the product before removing any required item off the packaging. Most places won't accept returns without complete packaging. Carefully print your information on the rebate form. If the company can't read (or mis-reads) your information, you are not going to receive anything. I would suggest putting a return address label on the form instead of printing. Always cross out your credit card and number! Gather all the items that you are required to send in and make a COPY for your records. Write on your copy the date you mailed the rebate and the processing time and point of contact.

Fast forward >>. If the date is one week past the maximum processing time stated and you have not received your rebate check, call the point of contact. Some companies hope you will forget about the rebate and do not process the rebate unless called. I just received a rebate that was three weeks overdue after calling to check on it four days earlier. The person tried to tell me that I would have to wait 60 days from the date they presumably issued the check to file a claim (more time to forget). I mentioned a possible :-( action I could take and suddenly there is a check in the mailbox. You decide!

About the Author: David Catt is president of CTS Innovations, Inc. manufacturer of the Stand Ready brand Inverted Bottle Holder and he is the author of the "Idea to Product Primer" e-book. For more information, visit