Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mail-in rebates must die

I got an email from Micro Center about their big day after Christmas in-store sale. They're trying to get me all excited about going shopping on Boxing Day, but all they succeeded in doing was making me angry.

Every single one of their specials involves a substantial mail-in rebate.

And I hate those.

Listen up, retailers. If you want to mark something down, or put it on sale, then by golly go ahead and do it. Don't give me hoops to jump through to get that special deal. I got enough hoops in my life. And don't sell me something hoping that I'll either forget to send for the rebate or that the rebate will never arrive for some reason and I'll have limited recourse to pursue it.

Don't do that stuff if you want my business.

My hope is that mail-in rebates will eventually go away, ideally because more people start to recognize them as the phony bullshit tap-dance that they are.

Here's my advice, if you're tempted to buy something based on the offer of a rebate. The store you're buying from may be rock solid, but they have farmed out their rebate processing to a separate business, and those guys come and go all the time. Try tracking one of them down when you have a problem with a rebate offer and see how far you get. How much additional work are you prepared to do to get that rebate you were promised? It isn't worth the hassle. Mail-in rebates must die.


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