Are Black Friday rebates worth the hassle?
Sometimes they aren't, but some of this year's offers are worth the extra effort.
Read the small print on Black Friday offers for 2013 and you'll find that some of the low prices reflect mail-in rebates (MIRs). The rebate process can be a bit of a pain, and too many consumers seduced by the potential savings never realize the lower price. One widely cited academic study from 2003 reported that shoppers never got around to redeeming about six in 10 consumer electronics rebates. An industry consultant quoted in The Wall Street Journal in 2006 put the number for all rebates at 4 in 10. Regardless whether those redemption rates hold true today, they call into question the value of a Black Friday offer that hinges on a mail-in rebate.
- Check the expiration date on the rebate form and mail everything on time. Perhaps plan to set aside time during the weekend after Black Friday to fill out and mail the required documents.
- Make copies or take pictures of all the forms you are sending so you can reference them if there are any complications down the line.
- You also may want to mail the forms with some sort of delivery confirmation so you have proof that the company received them.
- With some rebates taking months to arrive, you may forget about them altogether. Make a note on your calendar and contact the manufacturer if you haven't received a rebate by the appointed time.
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