I see lots of posts about this. Frankly, I'm tired of always typing in the replies to people, so I'm going to do it here, and that way, I can simply link them to the post and they can read it. IMHO this should really be made into a sticky, because not only is it a common question/concern, it's good info that will help assuage people's fears about PM's and rebates. Next time someone asks "will the MIR be denied since I got the PM?", just post a link to this thread.
ABBREVIATIONS USED HEREIN:
MIR: Mail-In Rebate
PM: Price Match
RFC: Rebate Fulfillment Center (or Company; this is who actually sends you the rebate check)
CSR: Customer Service Rep (cashier, counter person, etc.)
UPC: Universal Product Code (that sticker that usually has a barcode on it)
BS: What comes out of a bull's butt
Scenario #1: Manager or CSR tells you "doing a PM will invalidate the MIR".
Pure BS. Yes, some rebate forms include wording that says a PM "can" invalidate a MIR, but to date, we have yet to see even one confirmed refusal based on a PM. Some rebates do specifiy that the purchase has to be above a certain amount; again, we've yet to see one confirmed rejection even when the "minimum" purchase price was not met. I've personally done at *least* a dozen or more rebates that had this stipulation, and each of them has been below the "minimum" purchase price. I've gotten every single one of them.
Scenario #2: Manager or CSR writes something on the receipt saying "deny rebate due to price match" or something similiar.
Yet another crock. It doesn't matter what the manager or CSR writes on the receipt. The RFC is only looking for specific information: that the correct item was purchased during the rebate valid dates, and that the required documentation (specified on the rebate form; typically it's a copy of the rebate form, a copy of the receipt and the original UPC from the product packaging. Sometimes a copy of the UPC is allowed; make sure you check the rebate form for specifics) is included. That's it. Nothing else matters. If you're REALLY paranoid, you can always scan the receipt, then use PhotoShop or Paint Shop Pro to "edit" out whatever the manager or CSR wrote on the receipt, then print that out. No, it's not in their "system", and if the manager or CSR tells you it is or that they "put it in the computer to deny the rebate", it's more BS.
Think of it this way: if the manager or CSR wrote "great customer, please give double (or triple) rebate amount" on receipt, do you think you'd get double or triple the amount of the rebate? Uh, no. The reverse is true as well. Writing "PM done, reduce rebate by half" or "PM, deny rebate" isn't going to have any effect whatsoever.
To test this, I had a CC B&M deal where the manager wrote "DENY REBATES, PRICE MATCH DONE" all over the receipt (there were two rebates; one CC, one manufacturer.) I figured what the heck, I'll not even bother to edit the receipt and send it in as-is and take my chances just to see what happens. Sure enough, about 6 weeks or so later, I get the rebate checks in the mail, just as expected. I took the original receipt (with the writing on it; I keep all receipts since I'm a pack rat) plus the rebate checks back to the CC store, and asked to speak to the manager (and I asked for him by name; I had to go back a second time since the first time I went, he was off that day.) When he came out and asked me what I wanted, I asked him if he remembered me and the rebate/receipt issue; he said he did (as well he should, since I had to argue with them to get the PM in the first place.) I then held up the receipt, which had his writing on it, then held up the rebate checks to his face, and said "It doesn't matter what you write on a receipt, moron. You don't have the power to deny a rebate. Suck it!" Needles to say, he wasn't very pleased with me.
A lot of people don't know this, so here's how rebates work; this applies to either store and/or manufacturer rebates:
Company X advertises a product with a mail-in rebate. Company X contracts with an RFC to fulfill said rebates. Company X pays the RFC the amount they *think* they will sell, and the RFC is then in charge of fulfilling said rebates. (For example, if Company X expects to sell 1,000 items and there's a $10 rebate, they will pay 1,000 X $10, or $10,000, to the RFC, plus a cost of X per rebate, usually around $5, so another $5,000 for a total of $15,000.) Now, this is where it gets tricky, but stick with me: the RFC is paid per expected number of rebates to be fulfilled, but not only that, any rebate that goes unfulfilled (either by the total rebates redeemed is less than what company X expected, or by the RFC rejecting rebates for whatever reason), the RFC keeps the amount left over that was paid by company X to begin with to fulfill the rebates. In effect, they double-dip, which is where their real profit comes in. It's estimated that only 60%, at most, of consumers actually send in rebates. Of those 60%, at least 10% are rejected by the RFC for various reasons: not including a clear receipt showing the item purchased, not having the rebate postmarked by the specified date, not including required items like the UPC, etc. Some of the more "notorious" RFCs will actually deny 20% of MIRs out of hand, for no reason whatsoever, and wait for the customer to contest it; if they don't, they win (they keep the money), and if the customer does, the RFC pays, which isn't a loss since they expected to pay already. For them, it's win-win, since they get paid either way. They just get paid more if the customer doesn't contest it.
What happens when more rebates are sent in than company X expected? The RFC goes back to company X with their documentation, and gets paid the additional cost. The RFC will basically say "you told us 10,000 MIRs would come in, we got 15,000 already, and we're expecting another 5,000 as well", so company X will pay out to cover those actual *and* expected MIRs. There's also, usually, an agreement that company X will have to pay a penalty for that to the RFC (which means more profit to the RFC.) This is also why sometimes it takes longer to get a MIR fulfilled, since the RFC goes back to company X to get more funds to pay the rebates, and won't fulfill the MIR amount until company X pays the RFC.
The MIR game is actually quite profitable for the RFCs, and there's a lot of fly-by-night RFCs (yes, I know some of you will mention the Buy.com MIR fiasco, which is a prime example.) There's also several very reputable RFCs, who fulfill on time and even very quickly. It's not hard to figure out who they are (the address is the giveaway), and people here on FW have a list of them somewhere (but I can't remember where.) Some companies actually solicit bids from RFCs, where they try to get the lowest cost (per MIR), while others only deal with one RFC (OD is a prime example, and only deals with the RFC in Young America, who's name escapes me.) Typically, the more reputable RFCs charge more to company X, and the fly-by-night ones charge less. That's where the gamble (for both company X and you, the consumer) come in.
Capiche? Hope this helps you understand the MIR game a little better. In closing, here's my tips for making sure you actually get your MIR:
READ the MIR form completely. Twice.
Make copies of ALL items you send. This includes MIR forms, receipts, UPCs, etc. I recommend scanning them and saving them electronically.
Staple everything together before you put it in the envelope. Loose papers - especially those small UPCs - can fall out when they open the envelope, and that could lead to your MIR being denied for "not including required items."
Send your MIR (including all required documentation) immediately after purchasing the item.
Use a program to TRACK your MIRs. I use and recommend Rebate!Rebate!. Yes, it's an older app, no it doesn't let you attach files to the rebate entries, but it does the job, and does it quite well. Plus you can see your overall statistics.
Pay attention to when the MIR is *supposed* to arrive (usually 4-6 weeks.) If it doesn't arrive by that date (Rebate!Rebate! will calculate for you and show it on the rebate details page for that rebate), follow up with the RFC and find out why. Some of them you can call, others you can email, still others you have to fill out a form on their website.
If you are denied a MIR for whatever reason, dispute it with the RFC. Do so in writing. You'll usually get a postcard in the mail, or sometimes an email. Either way, make sure you respond by the date they specify.
Since I first started tracking MIRs (using Rebate!Rebate!) on 05/19/2003, I've spent $11,001.21 on items, another $105.61 on postage, and gotten back $7,094.80 in rebates. Which means I bought $11k worth of stuff for $4,012.02. Not bad at all. Of course, not as GREAT as I'd like, but still, an overall 64.491% discount over 157 purchases covering 4 years isn't bad at all.
HotStuff2 said: again, we've yet to see one confirmed rejection even when the "minimum" purchase price was not met.
Check the rebate tracking forum. While 'you' may not have had one confirmed rejections, numerous other FW'ers have had Circuit City rebates rejected due to "minimum purchase price". Some got them approved, others couldn't. That is not hearsay or a few limited individuals with problems submitting rebates.
Also, I seem to recall some discussion about other MFG rebates that have been invalidated due to purchase price as well, not just a store rebate such as Circuit City's infamous clause.
MrLateNite said: Also, I seem to recall some discussion about other MFG rebates that have been invalidated due to purchase price as well, not just a store rebate such as Circuit City's infamous clause.See the recent HP 1018 fiasco thread.
I can also confirm that due to a PM, I could not get a $15 rebate for the Buffalo WHR-G125 router CircuitCity deal. Minimum price allowed was $39.99 and I PM'd to like $32.99. Parago would not budge even after talking to a supervisor, said I had to take it up with CC corporate. I did and got nowhere.
So Hotstuff2, what you're saying about PM's and rebate denials is just flat-out wrong WRT CircuitCity. It's well-known by now that they have minimum prices for rebates offered by them (not manufacturer rebates, CC rebates). You might've been lucky, but the policy is in place.
GTFan said: I can also confirm that due to a PM, I could not get a $15 rebate for the Buffalo WHR-G125 router CircuitCity deal. Minimum price allowed was $39.99 and I PM'd to like $32.99. Parago would not budge even after talking to a supervisor, said I had to take it up with CC corporate. I did and got nowhere.That is correct. While they do not seem to implement the minimum price on each rebate (due to sloppiness, I am sure, rather than intent), they do have the right to and if they see a coupon or PM on the receipt that takes it below the minimum price, they will reject it and tell you that it is due to combining offers. Sadly, their rebate forms have wording specific to this, and they claim they may reduce the amount of the rebate. But instead they choose to use the bogus "may not be combined" phrase, which there is proof that they do not follow in many cases (and certainly where the discount is less than the allowable minimum price), and reject it entirely. I think there is ample cause for a lawsuit if anyone wants to take it on.
I recently lost a case with a new manager at my local CC. I had bought the Sony MS card last year that was reduced to $39.95 with a $50 rebate. I stupidly used a coupon that brought it down to $34 and got rejected, but only after they managed to lose the rebate for 4 months (bought November, showed up online in March). I exchanged email with the CC rebate center, of course I got nowhere so I went to my local store, where they had managed to get rebates fixed in the past, and if not, they would give me a gift card for the amount, which was fine with me). The employee who handles these didn't do anything and eventually lost it, so I finally brought another copy of the paperwork a month or so ago and he said he would look into it again. I finally stopped back in and he took it to the new store director, who came out and told me he would not do anything for me for several reasons. 1) Too old (never mind that it was not my fault), 2) I only paid $34 on a $50 rebate item. He did not want to hear that the item was marked $39.95 on the shelf and would have been rejected on a low price violation even had I bought it without the coupon (and in fact the $34 would have been a valid price if their system knew about the $39.95 price). I said "so give me the $34". He said "I cannot give you $34 because the rebate says $50". I told him the form claimed they would reduce it by the amount if I used a coupon, at which point he told me that I could not get the rebate because I used a coupon. The guy was a real p*ick and I am hoping he pisses off enough customers so he gets promoted out of my store quickly. Previous store managers at my location have been very customer friendly. This guy obviously has been trained well by CC corporate. Oh, he told me to contact corporate, but I know better than to waste my time on that!
CC rebate customer service typically WILL override a low price rejection if there is no coupon or PM on the receipt.
The crappy part about my reject is that I used the web rebate form d/l'd from ccityrebates.com, which said NOTHING about less than minimum prices invalidating rebates (it does say that on some forms now, but not the one I got). Still got rejected simply because of the hidden minimum price rule.
After I got nowhere with Parago, I went to the store where I purchased it and asked the CS mgr. if I could get the $15 credited back. I had a copy of the rebate form, my receipt, rejection letter, etc. All he could do was repeat the company line that rebates with PM's would no longer be honored, even though he admitted that the minimum price rule was not stated in anything I had or that the store had on display. That's when I took it to the BBB and CC corporate, and still got nowhere. So, lesson learned for me.
GTFan said: The crappy part about my reject is that I used the web rebate form d/l'd from ccityrebates.com, which said NOTHING about less than minimum prices invalidating rebates (it does say that on some forms now, but not the one I got). Still got rejected simply because of the hidden minimum price rule.No, they never do. They use the lame "a coupon (or PM) is another offer" and the form says it cannot be combined with that. Of course, we all know that you CAN combine it with either, just not above a certain amount, which I am sure a judge would rule voids the entire rule. CC really deserves to be sued over this.
The boilerplate that you see for CC rebates with printable forms is: Advertised rebate amount assumes payment of Circuit City's before-rebate advertised price. Circuit City reserves the right to reduce the fulfilled rebate amount based on price adjustments and/or price matches made on qualifying items.I think this is what prints at the registers, and this is what we're talking about here. Note that this restriction does NOT show up when you submit online at www.ccityrebates.com, only on the printable forms viewed at CircuitCity.com. What I was told by the manager is that if the rebate does not print when you buy something instore, you're not supposed to get it (as in, if you PM below the min price). Now we all know that's not true because some rebates just don't print, but that's the kind of lame story you get from them.
Notice there's no mention of these important restrictions at the second link, which is what I use to submit them online. Not that they care.
Looks like the way to get a rebate with PM now is to buy it for pickup from CircuitCity.com then PM when you pickup, since they'll most likely just credit your card and not do a return/rebuy that way. So your original price is what still shows on the receipt that you submit. But why does this not reduce the price on the CC transaction # that Parago has access to? Are they just looking at the receipt and not the point-of-sale info?
GTFan said: The boilerplate that you see for CC rebates with printable forms is:
Advertised rebate amount assumes payment of Circuit City's before-rebate advertised price. Circuit City reserves the right to reduce the fulfilled rebate amount based on price adjustments and/or price matches made on qualifying items. If they did this, I don't think that anyone would complain. The problem is that this is NOT how they have it implemented. It's all or nothing. And they ignore that part and just tell you that because the PM/coupon is another offer, you cannot combine the rebate with another offer and you're out of luck.
I think this is what prints at the registers, and this is what we're talking about here. Note that this restriction does NOT show up when you submit online at www.ccityrebates.com, only on the printable forms viewed at CircuitCity.com. What I was told by the manager is that if the rebate does not print when you buy something instore, you're not supposed to get it (as in, if you PM below the min price). Now we all know that's not true because some rebates just don't print, but that's the kind of lame story you get from them. That is actually true to some extent. If you pay less than the normal price, rebate forms do not print out. Looks like the way to get a rebate with PM now is to buy it for pickup from CircuitCity.com then PM when you pickup, since they'll most likely just credit your card and not do a return/rebuy that way. So your original price is what still shows on the receipt that you submit. But why does this not reduce the price on the CC transaction # that Parago has access to? Are they just looking at the receipt and not the point-of-sale info?That's not true. They do not go by the receipt, the rebate house does look at the current status of your receipt and sees if there was a subsequent PM done.
I recommend also getting delivery confirmation when you mail in your forms. I was getting 30% rejection because "we have no record of receiving your forms." Being able to present proof of delivery solved that problem for me.
revheck said: I recommend also getting delivery confirmation when you mail in your forms. I was getting 30% rejection because "we have no record of receiving your forms." Being able to present proof of delivery solved that problem for me.
If the rebate is going to Parago, then that is unnecessary. They almost always accept faxed re-submissions for rebates that got lost in the mail.
HotStuff2 said: I took the original receipt (with the writing on it; I keep all receipts since I'm a pack rat) plus the rebate checks back to the CC store, and asked to speak to the manager...I wouldn't encourage anyone do this - rubbing it in the manager's face will just make him/her deny the PM in the future. Let him/her mark up your receipt. As long as s/he thinks you won't get the rebate, why convince him/her otherwise, effectively killing future PM with rebate chances.
Don't get me wrong, I've been in many an instance where I wanted to rub it in. But I understood that doing so could ruin future chances with that manager or even other employees who saw/heard.
The orig. post from Hotstuff2 was awesome! Thank-you for being detailed and helpful and for the info on rebatesrebates I had never heard of it 2thumbs-up
Just to add my 2-cents worth, I have only ever had a "rebate" issue with CircutCity no place else and I've been rebating for ages. I also try not to shop at CC if I can avoid it.
It stemmed from a in-store price that was marked incorrect...keep in mind the entire 6 sheleves for the same product as well as the boxes that all had price tags on them were all "marked wrong"
I took my item to check out, the cashier scanned it, nothing, she imputted the numbers, again nothing...she goes and gets the numbers off one of the shelf tags...still nothing. so she just rings it up with the dollar amount. This is where it gets bad, I can't have just the "dollar" amount because this item has a rebate...I need the info to show on the recipt. Ok...get the GM. He says...opps I know what the problem is...this is the wrong price, he goes and gets a new box...repeat everything that just happened up to getting the GM....LOL
After figuring out the price for the entire inventory for this item is wrong...they tell me I have to pay the higher price....Hold up skippy...NFW! I want the Regional Manager's number...just so happens...he'll be in tomorrow at the store. I go home after writing all the info down, names and just for good messure...told the GM I was going home to call the Attorney Generals Office...cuz I smell a case of bait-n-switch. I did go home and call...and I was right...that falls right under Consumer Laws for bait-n-switch.
Next afternoon, long story short after I pulled out my phone and called the AG office right in front of the RM & GM...I got the item for the price it was marked the day before...and the rebate. Between the lower price & the rebate CircutCity paid for my item in full and an extra $10.00 bucks to boot .
IMNSHO...it's always right to fight for your Consumer Rights...and Rebates!
CC is a thing of the past; itís like a zombie right now: already dead but walking around for the time being. The manager is likely soon to be out of a job without any severance pay. He may, in fact, suck it for lack of anything better to do.
billrubin said: CC really deserves to be sued over this.
HotStuff2 said: When he came out and asked me what I wanted, I asked him if he remembered me and the rebate/receipt issue; he said he did (as well he should, since I had to argue with them to get the PM in the first place.) I then held up the receipt, which had his writing on it, then held up the rebate checks to his face, and said "It doesn't matter what you write on a receipt, moron. You don't have the power to deny a rebate. Suck it!" Needles to say, he wasn't very pleased with me.
The MIR should be denied if the PM involved. The buyer should not expected get the MIR. I am working in the rebate company, I trainned my team to pay special attention in the case that have PM involved.. Good luck people!
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