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July 8, 2019

This Free Pet Food Rebate Turns the Table on Retailers

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:30 am

Shoppers often complain that mail-in rebates are a pain in the neck. You have to send in the proof of purchase, pay for postage, and keep your fingers crossed that you will actually get your money back.

Now one pet food manufacturer, Pets Global, is doing it differently. The company issued a unique manufacturer’s coupon/rebate good for a free four-pound bag of Essence dog or cat food worth up to $17.99. But instead of making the consumer buy the product and send in the proof of purchase, they are making the store do it.

Essence pet food rebate
Click to enlarge

This looks pretty normal. While it appears the consumer has to fill out the coupon, one of our faithful readers says it really is the retailer’s contact information that is required according to the company. The fine print turns the tables on the retailer who sold the product converting the coupon into a rebate of sorts.


Retailer Instructions: 1. Return this completed form. 2. The original proof of purchase receipt dated on or before 7/31/19 with the purchase price of the product circled. … Must be sent to a Pets Global distributor within 60 days of date printed on receipt for redemption.

Distributor Instructions: Send completed coupon form and receipt from retailer to Pets Global…

Some would say all rebates should work this way… but don’t hold your breath since manufacturers rely on the “breakage” and “slippage” that results when shoppers don’t follow through with the rebate process. But some states and municipalities have adopted rules that require retailers to provide the rebate to customers at the time of sale. Witness the fine print for the 100% rebates for several items in this week’s Macy’s Black Friday in July sale featured in Consumer World (see Bargain of the Week):


In “CT, RI, PR, and Dade and Broward counties in FL, rebate is given at the register.”

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  1. I don’t have particularly strong feeling on this one. I can see the advantage of having the customer return the rebate, but at the same time I don’t think mail in rebates are unfair. It does put the burden on the customer to get the rebate, but there is understanding there going in that there will be some effort required and it allows the manufacturer to discount equipment outside the retailers. If a customer doesn’t like rebates, they should evaluate the cost of the product without the rebate.

    Comment by Joel — July 8, 2019 @ 11:44 am
  2. All rebates are made on the assumption that most will not be redeemed. Even if 100% of the sent rebates are filled without other shenanigans, that’s the business model. As such, I find all rebates evil. If it weren’t so, the manufacturer would just lower the price it charges stores for the product, and the stores would pass the savings on to the user. If they are concerned that the stores won’t do that, good old manufacturers coupons have been around a long time, and would work just as well. Although most coupons go unredeemed as well, at least the barrier to their use is a lot lower.

    Comment by BZ — July 8, 2019 @ 12:04 pm
  3. Well Joel if you had to mail it in….

    you have the cost of the postage stamp, the envelope, the cost of the ink used to fill out what you have to fill out, and the cost of gas needed to get mail box or post office.

    Comment by richard Ginn — July 8, 2019 @ 12:32 pm
  4. I think the last 10 or so rebates I have done were all available to be done online and only took a few minutes to fill out. Something I usually look for. Not a hassle at all and I always receive them. If only the Menards 11% off sales could learn from this they would get more business from me.

    Comment by Kevin Borst — July 8, 2019 @ 8:21 pm
  5. This oughtta piss off some companies.

    Like the Ct law that the rebate has to be given at time of sale.

    Wonder whatvwill happen when some company balks at giving rebate.

    Comment by Rich — July 10, 2019 @ 8:30 pm

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