smart spending

5 times when you can rake in rebates

Cashing in rebates
Cashing in rebates © Cheryl Savan/Shutterstock.com

For some, snagging the rebate deal isn't the hardest part of saving -- it's submitting the rebate form. Failure to respond to rebate offers is usually due to consumer forgetfulness, says Stinchfield. "They bought it and forgot to respond," he says, adding that the longer the time limit to submit the receipt, the more likely the consumer will forget.

He recommends mailing in the response the same day you purchase the item, and cash the check the day it arrives.

After mailing it, mark the date you're supposed to receive the check. Before dropping it in the mailbox, "Copy every single document you're required to send in," says Stinchfield. That includes the outside of the addressed envelope, the certificate, the UPC symbol and the receipt. Keep the copies in a safe place.

If you don't get your rebate check when expected, Stinchfield says it's better to call the manufacturer's consumer service department directly and not with the contact information on the rebate form, because that leads to the rebate processor.

If your rebate isn't processed, it might not be the manufacturer trying to rip you off. "Mistakes do happen at the fulfillment providers," says Stinchfield. "They'll occasionally disqualify something that shouldn't be disqualified. Occasionally, they'll lose mail."


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