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April 2, 2012

Unexpected Rebate Twists

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:56 am

More and more manufacturers and retailers are finding ways to save money on rebates.

Example 1:

Menards, a home improvement chain, is offering an 11%* rebate on everything:

That asterisk after the 11% goes to their fine print disclosure:


“Rebate is in the form of merchandise credit check.”

As Nadine B. told Mouse Print* when she saw their ad, “the fine print says that it’s not cash, as most of us expect with a ‘mail-in rebate.’ It is for merchandise credit, meaning it can only be used for future purchases at Menards.”

While this type of rebate is common at office supply stores like Staples that send out reward checks good only toward future purchases at the store, it is rare to see it in this type of store.

Example 2:

To encourge people to try Grain Berry products, the company is making a buy one, get one free offer via rebate, with a twist.


You’ve got to include the envelope and postage to get your free coupon.

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  1. Grain Berry resorting to “snail mail” at this late stage in communication development? Mmmmm, seems likely they wish to look good while discouraging actual rebate transactions, or, they forgot to name the USPS as a promotional “partner”. Yes. Kidding.

    Comment by Marty — April 2, 2012 @ 8:37 am
  2. Anyone who has ever shopped at Menards should know that they only pay rebates in the form of merchandise credit checks. This isn’t new news. However, they also have many rebates on individual items where the item is free after rebate. And, they allow multiple rebates to be sent in the same envelope and encourage mailing labels instead of hand written submissions.

    Comment by jack — April 2, 2012 @ 9:11 am
  3. Menards is, also, known for having conflicting prices between the shelf and the scanner. I wanted to purchase cabinet hinges which had price of 12 cents/package. When I went to pay, they scanned at 99 cents.
    The manager refused to honor the advertised price. That was fifteen years ago. I haven’t shopped there since then. I never had a problem at Lowes or Home Depot.

    Comment by Jack — April 2, 2012 @ 11:37 am
  4. Staples does have the other problem with rebates. They require you to send in the original cash register receipt with your rebate form. If you purchase more than one item with a rebate (like we did with paper and printer ink), we had to go back to the store and get a duplicate receipt so we could send in the rebate. I guess most people wouldn’t bother going back for another receipt, so Staples doesn’t have to pay the rebate.

    Comment by Jared G. — April 2, 2012 @ 11:42 am
  5. A rebate’s a rip off, to begin with. If you want to offer $X.00 off, just take it off the price to begin with & don’t make people jump through hoops! It’s all designed to make it difficult (and sometimes impossible,) for people to get that juicy rebate back. Just games.

    Comment by Lana — April 2, 2012 @ 12:46 pm
  6. We have a Menard’s here. We bought a washing machine and it had a $250 rebate and the salesperson let us know before we bought it that it was for merchandise. It’s how they normally do rebates (at least here in our town), so in this case it’s not a “mouseprint”. I loved it-Menards also sells household products, so when the rebate arrived we stocked up on basic goods like paper towels, garbage bags, detergent, etc., even candy! It was at least 6 months before we had to buy anymore of that stuff with our regular grocery shopping. It was like Christmas!

    Comment by MaryAnnC — April 2, 2012 @ 6:56 pm
  7. For repetitive Menards shoppers, the in-store rebate credit isn’t a problem. If you want that ‘one’ thing, then it isn’t worth it.

    Comment by jt — April 2, 2012 @ 8:51 pm
  8. Menards has been pulling this rebate scam for years. I live 100 miles from a Menards and I can not make a return drive to save a $1.00 on a future purchase. I quit shopping there years ago. I agree with Lana about giving the rebate off the top at the cash register. I don’t think we will see it happen anytime soon however. Menards and others make money on this stuff. How many people follow through with the mail in rebates which orginally got them to put it into their cart in the first place?

    Comment by Priscilla — April 2, 2012 @ 9:58 pm
  9. Unless you like spam, I would suggest not giving them your phone or email address.

    Comment by anonymous — April 3, 2012 @ 1:23 am
  10. Even if I dot every i, and cross every t, I think I have only recieved about 10% of the rebates I have applied for.

    Comment by Brian — April 4, 2012 @ 7:17 pm
  11. I always completely agree with anything that is published on Mouse Print but I must say that Menards has been offering this type of rebate for years. We take full advantage of this unique offering by purchasing some of the merchandise that offers a rebate and selling it at a garage sale or as gifts. We accumulate the rebates until we have enough to purchase an item for home improvement, like saving money in a savings account. We have built a deck, a fence, purchased laminate flooring, lighting and much much more. Our next purchase will be a shed as soon as it goes on sale. We make up most or all of the money for an item through garage sales. You have to learn to take advantage of some offerings.

    Comment by Mike Dale — April 6, 2012 @ 7:28 am

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