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There are some awesome deals to be had out there when it comes to FREE After Mail In Rebate offers. But the manufacturers are banking on the fact that consumers will either forget about the rebate all together or not follow through on the specifics of the rebate.
In fact, many people think that rebates are nothing more than scams with manufacturers making them difficult to complete correctly so that they do not have to honor them.
Here are some details to focus on to be sure that you get your refund back.
1 – Read the Fine Print – Always, always, ALWAYS read ALL of the fine print on rebates. ALWAYS! If you don’t know the exclusions or specifics of the terms and conditions you may be paying (literally) before you even write your name on the FREE After Rebate form! There may be one small stipulation on the form that precludes you from qualifying for the rebate. For example, the rebate may not be valid for residents of a particular state. Some rebates are not valid if you place an address label on it as opposed to writing your name and address. ALWAYS read the fine print!
2 – Expiration Date – FREE After Rebate offers are generally void after a date listed on the rebate. You should check to make sure that your purchase falls within the time frame. Some FREE After Rebate forms will list a time frame that the offer is valid (a start and an end date). You might find that a FREE After Rebate form in a store has already expired if you look closely, especially in establishments where they have an area where they post rebate forms for their customers to browse.
3 – Mail By Date – Most FREE After Rebate Forms include a “must be postmarked” by or “must be received by” date as well as the expiration date. It’s recommended that you prepare your rebate for mailing the same day as you make your purchase so that you don’t forget about it or misplace it. There’s nothing worse than finding a rebate form that you were supposed to send in that already expired!
4 – Copy Everything! Make copies of ALL FREE After Mail In Rebate forms that you submit along with all the accompanying documentation (UPC Codes, receipts, etc.). Store all of your Mailed in Rebates in one location (a drawer, a file folder, a box). Mark the date that you mail each form and file them in chronological order. As you receive your FREE After Rebate checks/vouchers/gift card you can then remove the documentation and discard it. If there are forms that you have in your file that are 8 weeks or older you should follow up to see what the status is. There will most likely be a toll free telephone number or a web address to check the status printed right on the rebate form. If, by chance, there is no record of the rebate, you will be able to resend copies of the documentation that you have.
5 – What To Mail – Be sure to read what documentation is being requested on the rebate form. Often times there will be multiple items that you need to include with the FREE After Rebate form. Most often you will need to include a receipt or a “rebate receipt” along with a UPC bar code cut from the package. Occasionally, additional items like box flaps or proof of purchase codes from the package will be required. If you forget to include even one of the requested items, you will not qualify for your rebate and you will not get your item for FREE!
6 – Buy the Right Product – Does the rebate state that it is only valid for a particular size or a particular flavor or scent? Is the rebate only valid for an item purchased from a particular store? Does the rebate require that there be a “Try Me FREE” label on the package? Rebates are typically for a specific item. If you submit info for a similar, yet different, item, you will never see your FREE Rebate Check!
7 – Fill Out the Form Completely – If you leave even one bit of requested information blank your FREE After Rebate form could be invalid. Some people legitimately do not have an email address. Since most rebates request one you should either provide a friend or family members or register for a FREE one through Google GMail.
8 – Write Legibly – If they can’t make out your street name because the writing is sloppy and illegible then you aren’t going to get your FREE After Rebate Check! Take your time and write clearly. If your writing is generally hard to read perhaps you could have someone else fill it out for you. Be sure that the address on the envelope is legible as well so that it makes it to its destination.
9 – Proper Postage – Do you have enough postage on the envelope? If the FREE After Mail In Rebate offer requires several pieces of documentation have the post office double check the postage rate. If there isn’t enough postage on the envelope it will come back to you and will slow down the whole process. You might even miss the “Received by” date all together and void the rebate.
10 – PO Box – Do you have your mail sent to a PO Box? Many rebates are not valid when sent to PO Boxes. Be sure to include your physical mailing address or perhaps use a work address or a relative’s.
Are these traps that companies create to make it harder to get rebates? It would seem so. Many of the requested items are simply ways of verifying the actual purchase. However many companies have simplified rebates and require very little from the consumer. Menards is great with FREE After Rebate Items and Staples Easy rebates are, well, easy!
Most rebates are not scams and are legitimate, but there are some out there. There are great FREE items to be had out there if you just follow the steps that are requested.
The bottom line with all FREE After Rebate items – read the details on the rebate forms, ALWAYS!
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