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What a Savvy Consumer Should Know About In-Store-Only Rebates
It sounds like a good deal: “10% Off EVERYTHING!” But take a closer look. You are not getting that $50 item for $45.00 ($50 less 10%). Instead, you have to pay full price today and get money off on a future in-store purchase — after you fill out and timely mail in your rebate form with proper documentation.
A number of consumers have complained about companies offering temporary in-store-only rebates with terms or conditions so complicated that many consumers will either fail to send in the requisite paperwork or fail to redeem the rebate altogether. As a result, they never receive the “discount.”
As a savvy shopper, it pays to take a moment to read and understand any offer. And while it is not illegal to offer in-store-only rebates, it also may not be in your best interest.
Note: If you purchase a rebate-eligible product and never receive the promised rebate, you should file a consumer complaint with our office immediately so we can track and pursue as appropriate.
- The fine print may limit your discount to “stock on hand” and inform you that by submitting a rebate form, you agree to binding arbitration for any dispute about the rebate and you waive your right to file or participate in any class action lawsuit about the rebate.
- Your rebate — a paper check — may be mailed to you in a piece of junk mail. The retailer is hoping you will not open it and instead throw it away.
- Beware of multiple rebates for the same item: the rebate process may be overly complicated and require separate mailings and different proofs of purchase.
- Don’t be surprised if for some items, the proof of purchase is hard to get at — you have to destroy the package to get at it — or it is hidden under a flap where you don’t think to look.
Complaints should be directed to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team:
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form