Sometimes I forget that people have not been couponing and rebating forever. I had a question on how to rebate a few weeks ago, and I explained via email and links. I also decided to do a write up in light of the giant pile I did at the beginning of January – I know you all love pictures!
First let me say that I absolutely hate doing rebates (refunds). I do them because I like the checks, but I dislike the work involved. Over the years, some manufacturers have made rebates easier, and some more difficult. There are several very important components to doing rebates:
• Find the forms. This is crucial, because while there are no-form-needed offers, they are few and far between. I keep a list of printable rebate forms that is quite extensive. Your local grocery or drug store may also have forms – either in the aisle by the product, on a product shipper or on a board or tucked away in a box in the office.
• Rebate form organization. If you are new to rebates, really, really need the money, or just hate slippage (the industry term for unredeemed rebates – what!? you didn’t really think the manufacturers wanted to give you your money back, did you?) read this post on rebate form organization. It will help. A lot.
• Read the form The details on the what, whens and how of what you are submitting must be followed to get paid. Here is a great post (if I do say so myself) on how to ring up multiple rebate products on one shopping trip. Remember, some offers want the UPC, some want the cash register tape, some want both. Some want you to print, some want a valid birth date (liquor), some are only valid in certain states. You are never required to give an email address for a rebate. Write “none” in that spot or use a spam email. I do the same for phone number, writing “none” when asked.
• Purchase the products. I keep a list of what products I need in order to redeem current rebates I am interested in.
• Mail on time. You will receive a “box closed” submission returned to you if you mail outside of the last postmark date or form expiration date (some forms only list one or the other).
• Make copies of your submissions. Read this post for why you should make copies.
And I am also listing this post about satisfaction guarantees for you fence sitters.
Let me show you how the rebate-procrastinator does a lot of rebates at one time:
I lay everything out and start matching up CRTs, UPCs and forms.
This is what a UPC + CRT look like.
I always cross out my card ids and my credit card information. Better safe than sorry in my opinion.
Since I write out all my forms and envelopes at one time, I paper clip everything to the forms so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
And finally I have a nice stack of rebates to go out. Many require you to fill out even the envelope by hand, so read the fine print careful.
Why do I bother? That little stack will return over $200 to my pocket!
Note: this post originally appeared on Coupons, Deals and More on January 24, 2012