What are Rebates?

Rebates include any type of promotion offered by a retailer or manufacturer that involves a partial refund or discount in the form of cash or a cheque.

  • Some promotions that claim to offer rebates are in fact gift cards or credits to be used for future purchases.
  • Some rebates will be given to you at the time of purchase, while others, such as mail-in rebates, will be sent to you at a later date IF you apply for them.

What to Consider?

Before deciding if this is the best deal for you:

  • remember that, although the majority of consumers believe they will apply for a rebate after leaving the store, many don’t, and end up paying the regular price;
  • ask the vendor whether the taxes will be calculated on the full amount or the after-rebate price.

Do I Qualify?

Before you buy, read the terms and conditions. In particular, check whether:

  • there is a deadline to apply;
  • you are required to buy another product;
  • you are required to send anything other than a claim form with your contact information and a proof of purchase, such as a UPC code;
  • there are restrictions as to the eligibility of certain mailing addresses, such as rural addresses;
  • there is a limit on the number of rebates per household;
  • the rebate is only valid if the purchase is made at certain retailers; or
  • there are any other limitations or conditions that might affect whether you qualify or will likely apply for the rebate.

How do I Obtain my Rebate?

At the time of purchase, ensure that you have all required documents to apply for the rebate. Since original sales receipts must often be sent in, ask the vendor if you can receive a duplicate of the original.

When applying for the rebate, remember to:

  • follow the instructions on the rebate form and include all required documentation; and
  • make a copy of everything that you provided in case the rebate is delayed or not paid.

If the rebate is not paid on time, or if there are any other issues, contact the vendor.

If you are having trouble with the rebate process, consult the complaints section of this Handbook for help with drafting a complaint and for advice on how to approach the company.

Contact the Competition Bureau if you believe that you have been misled or if you come across questionable rebate promotions.

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