By Alan Graner
Has this ever happened to you? (Of course it has!)
You see an advertised product that’s such a deal, you can’t restrain yourself. The only “catch” is you have to submit a mail-in rebate form—a minor inconvenience considering the tremendous savings you’ll enjoy.
Except the rebate check never arrives, whereupon one of two things will happen.
- You forget you ever sent it in.
- You call the company and they explain your rebate was denied.
Rebates: good for business, not so good for you
Manufacturers and retailers aren’t stupid. They gladly lure you in with fabulous discounts because they know the redemption rate for rebates ranges from 5% to 80% depending on the rebate’s value.
They’re betting their money you will:
- Send it after the deadline has passed.
- Submit an incomplete rebate package.
- Fail to follow the instructions to the letter.
- Forget you sent the information and won’t realize the check never arrived.
- In the last 15 years, businesses have increased the availability of consumer rebates by over 400%. This is not because rebates favor the consumer.
- Over $500 million in rebates go unclaimed every year.
- Marketers intentionally make rebates difficult to redeem, and they’re getting increasingly sophisticated at it. In fact, in some instances a key measurement of a rebate campaign’s success is how many consumers do NOT redeem it.
When do rebates become a scam?
According to Fabiola Castillo, http://ezinearticles.com/?Factory-Mail-In-Rebate-Scam&id=597885 “Rebates become fraudulent when they include complex rules for submission, limits on the time to mail in the rebate, or lame excuses to refuse rebate requests. Companies that run rebate promotions for manufacturers compete for the maximum rate of rejection and include the complexity of the rules as an excuse why they should be chosen to manage a product rebate offer.”
Next: Tactics to discourage redemption
Image: OTA Photos via Flickr®
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For a public relations campaign that makes you stick out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at email@example.com. Or visit www.dsprel.com.