Microsoft

Rebates: Do they provide real savings or are they nothing but scams?


Now that the big Holiday Shopping Season is upon us, not to mention that time of year when you’re busy trying to finish spending what’s left of your IT Budget, you’re probably watching the flood of sale ads. As you’ve probably noticed in many sale ads, almost everything comes with a rebate nowadays.

Rather than just lowering prices on items, retailers such as CompUSA, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, and so on team up with manufacturers to offer rebates to advertise ‘lower’ prices on items. Often an item will have two rebates tied to it. Sometimes there are as many as three or four.

Why offer rebates and not just straight up lower prices? Because rebates work – for sellers. They entice people into buying the product because of the lower price and then often the rebates aren’t ever processed or received by end users. A recent article in Business Week pointed out that 40% of advertised rebates never get redeemed. Retailers and vendors keep all the extra money and still get the original sale.

Personally, I don't like rebates. If I have to choose between two products, I'll almost always go for the product which is truly 'on sale', even if the one with the rebate winds up being slightly cheaper in the end.

You don’t have to worry about rebates when you’re a TechProGuild member. Original articles, downloads, and access to the 250-book TechBook library are all free. You can’t get any cheaper than that. Also, as a TechProGuild member, you get 20% off of all purchases from our online catalog, even on third-party books such as our O'Reilly Hacks-Pack bundles. That’s 20% off the top straight-up. No rebate forms to fill out, send in, and hope you ever get back.

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