As a consumer, there are very few things I hate about big electronics retailers than mail-in rebates. In this week’s flyer, a particularly bad page had mail-in rebates for 14 items out of 17! A popular tax software is listed at $31.99 and offers a $5 mail-in rebate. Who are they kidding? It is an epidemic especially for computer peripherals and software.
Mail-in rebates are popular with vendors because they are betting that consumers will not go through the hassle of sending in the rebates. It is a good bet because mailing in a rebate is only slightly less complicated than filing income tax returns. There are special forms to fill, silly bar codes to be cut out, copies of receipts to be made, stamps to be bought, envelopes to be mailed by a certain date and cheques (if they arrive) to be cashed in. No wonder, most people just give up.
Finally, Best Buy has seen the obvious and plans to end this insidious practise (I hope this includes the stores they operate under Best Buy and Future Shop banners in Canada). A company executive says: “Our customers are telling us they just hate the process. They send it in, they remain aggravated until they get their cheque”. I am glad you finally noticed but what took you so long? Better late than never, I guess.