Manufacturer’s Rebates – Are Some Fraudulent?

Whilst some manufacturer rebates are easy to redeem there are others which are not.

I’m raising the question of whether or not some manufacturer mail-in rebates are fraudulent, not because they are completely false, but because the manufacturers endeavour to pay out as little as possible on them.

What cannot be denied is that mail-in rebates are an effective promotional strategy for manufacturers that help to boost sales.

It is also likely to be true that a lot of consumers miss out on rebates through their own faults, i.e., they fail to send in coupons or miss deadlines.


What separates the genuine rebate offer from the fraudulent one is often defined by the complexity, or lack thereof, of the submission rules, terms and conditions.

Harsh time limitations with regard to mailing in the rebate or dubious reasons for denying genuine rebate requests are also a big red flag.

There are even suggestions that some companies operating rebate promotions on behalf of manufacturers are actually competing for the highest rejection rates that they can achieve.

Some highlight include the complexity of their terms and conditions as a major selling point.

Even if a given manufacturer has made a rebate offer in good faith, they can sometimes be sidetracked when they discover that there are ways of avoiding paying out on them.

When a company makes a rebate offer, but makes it next to impossible to redeem that offer, they are crossing the fine line between good business and fraud.


The most important point is to read the fine print.

Before purchasing an expensive product with a large rebate, check that you will actually qualify to receive it.

It has been known for some sneaky manufacturers to purposefully delay deliveries of products in order to ensure that rebate periods will have already expired.

Choose rebates that are easy to obtain.

For example, those that can be initiated online are often the quickest to be completed.

They are usually easier to track as well.

Fill out the rebate form completely!

If you fill out a rebate form incorrectly then your request will simply be denied.

Read the form carefully and double check it before you send it in.

Don’t miss any deadlines that are set!

Use the right UPC code.

Some products have more than one UPC code on their boxes and using the wrong one could result in a rebate request denial.

If you are not sure which UPC to send then call the customer service number and check with them.

Make sure you provide the UPC according the the rebate’s instructions – some manufacturers ask for it to be the original, cut from the box whilst some ask for a photocopy or photograph as evidence that you have purchased the product.

Take copies of any rebate forms you have returned, in case you need to refer back to them if there is a dispute.

Also note any UPCs you have sent in too.

If the rebate involves a lot of money request a postal delivery notification so that if there is a dispute you can prove your rebate was received in time.

Follow up on your rebate if you do not receive it in a satisfactory period of time.

If you believe you have not received a rebate to which you are entitled then contact the manufacturer.

If they are in any way genuine then they will not want a customer to have a bad experience to share.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. About electronics, I got a $200 rebate on my very first computer way back when. Mother’s day of this year, received $100 back on my washer/dryer set. Now in the market for a larger HDTV. As of 02/17/09 in the U.S., everyone either has to have an HD, a cable service, or a converter box. Otherwise, televisions receiving current transmission across America will not work. There’s a $40 coupon x’s number of them requested from the US Gov available via a phone call or internet request. Only the converter boxes are flying off the shelves as soon as they arrive to the stores. SOO, I’m in the market for a good rebate for a telly or two.

    • Pink,

      When I used the coupon for my converter box the store was out of them but honored the date of expiration. They also gave me the option of having it shipped to me when they were available. They told me it would take 3 weeks and then it arrived in 5 days. I bought it at Radio Shack. Overall, it was really easy.

      It was kind of silly that I even wanted one. I never watch tv and use my tv for dvd’s and video games. Of course, an HDTV would be awesome.

      • I couldn’t live without my 42″ HDTV!

        Sometime I connect my pc up to it, as well as my home cinema amp ans speakers, and settle in for a gaming session.

        Crysis is especially satisfying on the large screen 🙂

  2. That’s a bummer. I don’t think I’m just lucky, though maybe. What I do know is that I make absolutely certain without a doubt that I have followed the rebate requirements to a tee. I certainly can be skeptic about some, but try to make sure I have all my ducks lined up before submitting. I have to make certain that the rebate reaches the date before expiration. Sometimes the dates are a bit screwy where that is concerned. Fine print can be deceiving.

    • I should heed my own advice : if something seems too good to be true.. it probably is.

      Impulsive purchasing is what used to get me into these ‘not quite as good as they seem’ deals.

  3. I will do manufacturer’s rebates if they are worth it to me, and if I am going to use the item once purchased. It has to be worth my time and effort. I also keep track of mailing address sent to, date sent to. There have been a few occasions over say the past 10 years or so that I had to jingle someone’s bell to get my money due. Otherwise, I’ve received everything on a timely basis.

    • Maybe you have been lucky?

      I avoid rebates like the plague these days but in the past I’ve tried them and had nothing but grief, ranging from expired offers to vague terms and conditions to complete refusal to honour the contract.

  4. The time and effort it takes to go through all the steps needed for most rebates just isn’t worth it. Of course, I rarely buy anything …

  5. As rebates are sometimes hard to obtain I tend to overlook them and buy bassed purely on the retail price. Sure I may miss the odd good deal but I avoid a whole lot of hassle too.

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