Wandering through the aisles of a grocery or drugstore, we are assailed by a never-ending supply of new products to try. Companies hoping to cut through the marketing noise will often offer an incentive for new consumers in the form of a rebate. The promise of cash back on a purchase entices customers to try new products (assuming they follow through with the paperwork).

For manufacturers, rebates mean increased sales and information for marketing research. They also allow retailers to display a lower price for an item (price after rebate), but still charge the full amount at purchase. Rebate fulfillment houses make money for each transaction they process.

Consumers must jump through the most hoops to get a rebate: fill out paperwork, send in a receipt, wait for weeks of processing, pay sales tax on the full price of the item, and finally get payment. But with the right understanding of rebates, big rewards await.

The Types

Mail-In-Rebate: The most common. An MIR entitles you to mail in a coupon, a receipt and barcode in order to receive reimbursement. Example: Proctor & Gamble. Spend $30 on any P&G products in a single purchase and receive a $10 gift card when you complete and mail in the rebate form.

Manufacturer Rebates: Many stores work with manufacturers to create rebates. These rebates are valid only by purchasing products at a specific store and submitting a rebate form. Rebate forms and special receipts are sometimes printed by the cash register at time of purchase on a separate receipt or available online for download. Some rebate programs offer several payout options to consumers, including a paper check, a prepaid card that can be spent immediately without a trip to the bank, or even a transfer into a PayPal account. Example: Rite Aid Single Check Rebates, Walgreens Rebates, and Staples Reward Rebates.

Instant Rebates: Many stores offer instant rebates to promote immediate sales. No forms are required and the rebate is awarded at the time of purchase. This is really just a form of old-fashioned discount but excites customers into buying products. Example: Staples printer for $150 after $50 rebate, and Target $5 gift card after spending $15 on select products.

Rebate Changes

Over the last few years the rebate process has changed after customer complaints. Many companies are moving away from requiring cut out proof-of-purchase logos or UPC codes, coupled with a receipt and a rebate form.

The new trend is electronic rebate submission forms on manufacturer websites. The process requires store number, register number and transaction number–all information from your receipt.

Why Rebate?

Rebates are a great way to try new products and get significant savings on everyday items, as well as allow you to stock up for little or no cost. Follow these simple steps for successful reimbursements on your rebates:

  • Find the form. Most rebates require forms for processing. Get them from a cash register printout or on the product’s website or displayed next to a product. Your local grocery or drugstore 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.
  • Read the form. Be clear about what is required in order to receive your rebate. Some manufacturers 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.
  • Know the date: Know the last date to purchase and last day to submit the rebate. These are two separate dates. Most rebates allow products to be purchased through the end of the month and give you another two weeks to submit the rebate form. It must be postmarked by the date given, or your rebate is disqualified.
  • Use coupons with caution: Many manufacturers will deny paying full value for a rebate if they see coupons applied to the transaction. A better method is to ring the product separately on its own, so the receipt only shows the qualifying purchase.
  • Be organized. If you are new to rebates or could use the money towards other purchases, organization is key. A free software program on PC World’s site, Rebate!Rebate! helps you manage rebates quickly and easily.
  • Submit immediately: Don’t let your rebate forms stack up. Complete as soon as you get home from shopping.  You don’t want to lose receipts or toss a product box with a required UPC code!
  • Make copies. Scan your submissions and save them to a dedicated folder on your computer, or make a copy of your rebate documentation and place in file folder until you have been paid. Also cross out your credit card information…..better safe than sorry in my opinion.

By understanding the rebate process and following these steps, you’ll be happy to hear “The check’s in the mail!”

  This has been a guest post by Deborah from San Diego, CA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

Leave a Reply

30 thoughts on “Good Things Come to Those who Rebate”

  1. new at this says:

    Where can I find the glade rebate form?

  2. sully says:

    just this month i got 30 dollars worth of rebates. the ones i love the most are the electronic ones, from walgreens, rite aid and staples they send you a check days after the end of the month, and no mailing involved which i love its so much easier. Every company should do that.

  3. llc says:

    Becareful how the store rings up your coupons.  Target receipt shows the coupon directly below the item the coupon is for.  I have received my full refund before coupons when using Traget receipts.  But recently I went to Randalls(like Safeway) and picked up Worlds Best Cat Litter for a rebate.  It was on sale for $7.99 and I used a $5 coupon.  The Randalls receipt automaticalay applies the coupon and only shows the litter prices as $2.99 with a line item below that states originally $7.99.  I circled the price of 7.99 for the rebate but still only got back 2.99.  Needless to say I wont be buying any rebate items from them anymore.

  4. Michelle Mua says:

    does anyone know where i can find the mail in rebate of olay on cvs online? cause thats where the ad says to submit but i can’t find it anywhere. thanks.

  5. Peaches4713 says:

    I am new to this rebate ” try me free” if I use a coupon say for targets glade air fresheners will I only get back .99 or $2.99? I just feel like I only paid .99 so I will only get that amount back.

    • Anonymous says:

      They give you the full amount of $2.99… ;)

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you know how many glade rebates are permitted per household?

        • Couponmom says:

          It says at the very bottom limit one Glade fregrance mist rebate per household :)

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah…  Usually for rebates is one per household…  :-/  Obviously during the period for that certain rebate.  If after this one, another ones pops up, then it starts all over again.  I always read the fine print very carefully and when in doubt, I try to call the number listed to make sure I can submit a new one, like with the Lysol wipes that came out a few months ago… ;)

      • Peaches4713 says:

        thanks for that information, I did not know that and I will read my fine print for now on.

  6. Jabber2 says:

    I LOVE rebates.  The hard part is finding rebate/refund forms.  When shopping always keep your eyes open for “Try Me Free” products.  Lately I have found a few of these and it is a GREAT way for me to try a new product.  Also, read the store circulars and occasionally you will find a rebate/refund mentioned.

  7. Scole15 says:

    I love rebates. If you keep your eye out for them, you can even get rebates that will give you free meat, produce and water. I have sent a ton of rebates in the last few months. I just received $70.00 in rebates in the mail in the last 3 days. :)

  8. Tazss95 says:

    I use to do a lot of rebates back in the day. Were can i find rebates online 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Walgreens and Staples have on-line rebate submission also, thank goodness. Mail in seems to never happen at my house.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Use coupons with caution: Many manufacturers will deny
    paying full value for a rebate if they see coupons applied to the
    transaction. A better method is to ring the product separately on its
    own, so the receipt only shows the qualifying purchase.”

    Has anyone run into a problem like this?

    • Drea says:

      nope….I have used Q and only bought the items like spend $30 get $10 from PG – and got the $10….I have had them all on one receipt w/ non-qualifying items and use Q’s and got the rebate.

      • Anonymous says:

        With your Olay rebates, has the $30 been before or after mfg coupons?

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s mostly what I was wondering about.  This is my first time doing a rebate and I’ve never seen anyone mention any problems with P&G Rebates and coupons but I just wanted to be sure. 

          • Anonymous says:

            I have already done them 3 times and I have received payment so I can tell you, in my experience, the total is before coupons and no problem using them in order to receive the rebate ;)

            • Anonymous says:

              Thank you! I’m trying to do more rebates.

            • Anonymous says:

              No problem!  Every time I see them I do them too…  Extra savings is always welcome :D

            • i have had a problem with p&g but it was a different type of rebate than the olay. mine was buy any pantene product, if you’r enot fully satisfied, get double your money back. Target had made me do the run around for a product, eventually sending me to a store that didnt sell what i was looking for at all, so they gave me 3 dollar “target bucks” to compensate me. I used those to buy the pantene, even though i could of used the on anything, and the refund i got was only like 2.00 because i only paid 1.00 outta pocket. this one was a “double your money” rebate though. on the “spend x amount get x amount” back ones, i dont think there will be a problem with using coupons.

      • Anonymous says:

         Thanks for the info.  I’m about to send in the Olay Rebate and I used a coupon for everything so I was just curious.  It looks like it varies by manufacturer.  I suppose I can see their point but frankly I don’t buy anything without coupons.  =)

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, some rebates do specify that coupons can’t be used, so that’s why, everytime I am to submit a rebate I read the fine print very carefully…  But with Olay it’s ok to use Qs… ;)

    • Guest says:

      Yes. Renpure shampoo/conditioner will deny rebates if a coupon is used during the transaction. They used to have a full rebate with no quantity limit submissions. We bought 4 products and the entire rebate was denied, not just for 1 product but all 4 because a coupon (actually a CVS Extra Bucks $) was used in the transaction. Live and learn…..

  11. Anonymous says:

    I love rebates! I have tried so many products for free or even made money. I do make a copy of my form and mark the date I mailed it in. I think I have had to call about two in the last year, and I have probably submitted 30-40.