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Is It a Rebate or a Lottery?

Since January is a big month for beginning healthy new year’s resolutions, it should not be surprising that vitamin companies are running big promotions to get you to buy their brand.

Nature's Bounty 1

Among the offers being promoted heavily at various chain stores are ones that entice shoppers to buy $30 worth of vitamins to qualify for a $10 rebate. The rebate for Nature’s Bounty is running simultaneously with buy one, get one free (BOGO) sales at Walgreens, CVS, and other stores, and in fact are often promoted adjacent to one another.

So the question for bargain hunters is do they determine that you have met the $30 purchase requirement before or after cents-off coupons and free items are deducted? In other words, let’s say that vitamin X is $7.50 a bottle, and I buy four of them on a buy one, get one free sale, have I met the $30 threshold?

The initial answer from Nature’s Bounty may surprise you.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Nature's Bounty disclaimer

Great. What a surprise. They are looking at the gross price of the vitamins before deductions for coupons or free items… or are they? Read on.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Nature's Bounty disclosure 2

Oops. Now they say forget what we just said, you can’t use this offer if you buy the vitamins on a BOGO basis. Why not say that upfront? And why do stores like CVS and Walgreens advertise the BOGO sale and the $10 back offer virtually side-by-side and make no similar disclosure?

Believe it or not, it gets worse. Let’s say you were unlike most shoppers and you did read the fine print of the offer on the Nature’s Bounty promotional website. You would have found a most unusual restriction:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Nature's Bounty 3

Say what? This promotion is being advertised this week nationally in millions of newspaper RetailMeNot coupon inserts as well as the weekly circulars of major pharmacy chains, and the company is only going to honor 7,500 submissions?

Since when has buying vitamins and submitting a rebate become a game of chance? Paying a price for the chance of receiving money back is the definition of a lottery.

(We’ve written to the company and if and when we get a response, we will update this story.)

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6 thoughts on “Is It a Rebate or a Lottery?”

  1. The company ought to rethink this really fast. Lotteries by private companies are illegal through much of the United States.

    Reply
  2. Well it is one thing to say that purchase has to be made by a certain date to qualify for a rebate. It is a whole new shady level to say that only a certain number will even qualify for the rebate…

    Reply
  3. After reading this, if the rebate doesn’t go through than back to Publix they go. Publix brand is already half the price. Hoping the gift card is worth the 10.00 and isn’t restricted like the rebate.

    Reply