elitejp wrote in post #18515228
Rebates are beneficial for the business as you will always have those who buy because of the rebate but due to one reason or another dont follow up with the rebate procedure.
Ditto with gift cards and visa cards, cash cows for businesses. Personally I feel that if a business knows they are employing a practice where they know consumers won't follow up on cash owed them, either from an advertised rebate or cash-equivalent cards of any kind, then they are playing games with ethical behavior IMO. It is all about intent, and the only 2 primary intents in offering these rebate programs vs just having a normal sale are to play the odds that 1) not all consumers will do what they are supposed to get that money back and 2) they can spread their revenue hits (ie. the consumer offers the manufacturer an interest free loan for 30-60 days) across a certain time period with some level of control, which just exists to make certain revenue reporting periods look better for shareholders and boards.
Somebody is going to play the proverbial "it's the consumer's responsibility to follow up on the rebate", but again it comes down to intent of the initial offer. If you offer this knowing 25% of your consumer base won't turn them in, does that make it right? I am not sure, but it feels like it falls into the area of predatory consumer activity, counting on the fact folks are forgetful, or it's too difficult to get the rebate files, etc. Doesn't matter what I or others think though, rebates have been around for a very long time, and aren't going away.
Sure sales increase with offered rebates, but so do conventional sales, as evidenced during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other Christmas periods. If increased sales was the sole motivator for rebates, then just hold a sale. The next time somebody tries to sell you on a rebate offering, just ask them why you should provide the manufacturer an interest-free loan for 60 days to see their expression.
One of the easiest rebate programs we ever use is Menards. They record your purchases and items on their servers, you just pick up a form right at the exit of the store, fill it all in with your receipt info, and no hassles, you get your rebate check back in a couple of weeks after mailing it out. I will say that rebate programs are easier and faster than the 80s/90s, that is a plus. They were impossible to track and manage back then, and you never knew if you were getting your money back.