Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The mail-in rebate from hell

Image of two California wines.Image via Wikipedia

 I stopped at the ShopRite in Rochelle Park to pick up a few things on Tuesday, and on the way out, steered my cart into the liquor store in search of wine for $4.99 to $7.99 a bottle.

Among the California wine, I found Turning Leaf pinot noir for $6.99 a bottle -- and a rebate of $9 if you buy three, 750 milliliter bottles. That would bring the final cost down to $3.99 a bottle. Great deal, I thought. At the register, I was told it was a mail-in rebate and I had to send in the receipt, so went back to get the small form.

As I was loading my two reusable bags of groceries into the car, I stopped to read the rebate form's tiny type -- easier to do in the daylight than inside the store. It said Maryland and New Jersey residents weren't required to send in the original receipt, but had to return the UPC code from each bottle.

Then, it went on to describe how each bottle -- when empty -- had to be soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes to lift off the UPC code. It even described the temperature of the water, and warned not to try this when the bottle was full. So it might be three weeks before I could mail in the form and UPC codes for a refund (I drink a glass of wine with dinner several times a week).

I went back and got a refund.

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  1. Talk about stupidity, imagine asking consumers to soak bottles of wine to get UPCs off. I have done several rebates over the years and I am starting to believe half of them are scams. I have had several rebate checks never sent to me and when I have contacted these companies there is no logical reasoning for them not sending me my refund. I honestly believe some companies deliberately hold back and only refund those consumers who are persistent.

  2. Yes. They are counting on you not wanting to jump through the hoops. They set the hurdles so high, most consumers don't even bother applying for the rebates. But simply refusing to send the rebate -- that's low.

  3. Aint that always the way? I almost always avoid rebates, in that you often have to work pretty hard for your coupla bucks. On top of that, you're feeding someone's marketing machine with personal details which have no privacy rights attached, so can be resold to other marketing weasles.

    Keep up the good work on your blog!

  4. You're absolutely right. Thanks for your positive comment and encouragement.


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