Update: OnRebate replied to this post, and I think that is nice of them.
My son just assembled a new and very fast PC from parts we bought at TigerDirect, but suffering through the rebate submission process is sure diminishing the educational value of this for me. Even though he’s doing much of the paperwork himself I just spent close to an hour figuring out the silly details and going offline, online, and printing the various forms required.
I suppose it’s teaching him something, though so far it is mostly “why is dad cursing at the rebate people?”.
Onrebate.com is processing 2 of the 5 rebates we are due. From a technical point of view the system seemed to work OK but the “no wait” rebate option that offers what they say is an “almost instantaneous” rebate is a lesson is how OnRebate is using deceptive doublespeak marketing BS. This “instantaneous” rebate will come to me after they process all the paperwork rather than after they simply match my input to the existing sales records (that would be neat, and it’s clearly what they implied they were going to do).
Sure the stakes here are low with $40 and $20 rebates but I resent how companies like this effectively prey on the inexperience of their customers and the complexity of the rebate process to lower the response rates as well as tag on extra charges. Good rebate systems (Staples comes to mind – Kudos to them) are still an inconvenience but I respect the fact that fraud is a big issue now. Bad rebate sytems are usually immoral attempts at marketing ripoff schemes or reduce response rates (a multi-billion dollar scam that is perfectly legal). I’m not putting OnRebate in this category yet but they are sure on my list for potentially seeking to reduce response rates. Incredibly they also wanted to charge a sneaky $4 “no wait” fee for the rebate that would still require weeks of waiting, just not their normal wait time of several months.
Summary: Beware rebates in general and beware sneaky marketing doublespeak from OnRebate.
Update: Here’s an interesting thread about OnRebate problems. Note that the helpful OnRebate rep no longer works there though it looks like she was great in dealing with complaints. http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/149/ripoff0149417.htm#217843