Mail-in Rebates and other Crummy Marketing Practices – take a stand!

When mail-in rebates started becoming more popular I was stuck dealing with them along with everybody else. I have to admit that my success rate was pretty high. Now I didn’t buy a lot of stuff that had these rebates associated with them but, in the beginning, I would get back a check for every single one that I submitted.

Then, last year, Symantec decided to decline a legitimate mail-in rebate due to “insufficient proof of existing product”, this after I had mailed in the first CD from exactly one of the products that they listed as a legitimate upgrade. Since then, life has become.. well.. busy. And I’ve noticed that the timeframe for submitting these rebates has decreased substantially, often to only about 15 days after purchase. Personally, I like to know I’m going to keep a product before submitting the rebate. I haven’t tried to return a product with the UPC symbol carved out of the box but I imagine that it doesn’t go over very well.
So I’ve missed some pretty hefty rebates recently, one for a laptop that we purchased, another for my Bellsouth DSL modem.

So I’ve decided that I’m fed up with them and now completely do not consider the value of a mail-in rebate when making my purchasing decision.

I recently purchased a 250 Gigabyte hard drive, it “retails” for $130 and I was able to pick it up for either $90 right then and there or to wait for a few days when they would have a mail-in rebate for $70 (making it a $60 purchase – pretty sweet). When I look at that choice I see a $90 drive or a $130 drive. So I went for the $90 drive. No fiddling around like an idiot cutting things off of boxes, no filling out little questionnaires, no printing neatly so they’ll be able to mail something back to me, and no waiting 8-12 weeks for them to maybe send me a check that can easily be mistaken for more junk mail. No, I haven’t done this yet, but I imagine that larger families must do this all the time.

The other thing that skews my buying choices nowadays is the digit “9”. I understand that human psychology views $29.99 to be a much better deal than $30.00 but it’s pretty brazen of companies to be using this on every product they sell all the time. How many times have you seen adverts indicating that this $99.99 puts this product in your house for under a hundred dollars (apparently there is no sales tax in those areas)?

I absolutely love, and go out of my way to patronize places that round prices to the nearest dollar. If they can include those insulting sales taxes in the prices too, I’m all for that. There is a local golf club that does this and, though it’s not the closest one to me, it’s one reason why I go there. Treat me like a reasonable adult, not a moron who needs to be misdirected, cajoled and fooled into making my purchasing decisions. If I want that, I’ll go see a magic show.

OK, rant mode off. I *am* a little curious if anybody who sees this feels at all the same way as I do about these things…

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