U.S. News & World Report recently published an article titled "Why Shoppers Love to Hate Rebates" that helps explain why so many rebates go unfulfilled. Here’s an excerpt:
Redemption rates below 100 percent are what enable companies to offer rebates in the first place.
Jim Wohlever, chief executive at Young America, explains that companies could not afford to offer as many rebates if everyone took advantage of them. Requiring effort on the part of customers separates those who will make a purchase only if they can get the refund from those who are willing to pay more. Plus, it allows retailers to maximize their profits by selling to both groups at different prices. "It's a price segmentation strategy," Wohlever says.
In all fairness, some companies are trying to make it easier on consumers. Office Depot’s director of merchandising says the company eliminated the need for UPC codes and now only requires a sales receipt and rebate form.
Because people tend to believe they will redeem the rebates and then they don't, they often pay more for items than they expect, the story states. One consumer quoted in the article tracks his rebates on a spreadsheet. Here are other tips from the magazine and our blog on steps to take to ensure you get your money.