What does mail-in rebate mean?
The concept of a mail-in rebate sounds simple enough, but the true definition is a little broader than what most people think. In its most basic form, that mail-in rebate means that once the purchaser of a product will receive money back after they mail in a specific item that’s part of the promotion.
What Is It?
It can be a receipt, a barcode from the box the product came in or a coupon that entitles that purchaser to take advantage of the offer. In many cases, where the purchase occurs and the time frame connected to mailing the necessary item(s) can be key factors.
The two key components of most mail-in rebates are either the retailer selling the item or the company manufacturing it. Stores with a big brand name often have the latter type.
Why Does Someone Send One In?
One factor that makes these offers more enticing for individuals is the fact that the amount of money returned to that person will usually be more than they would get if it was simply an in-store sales pitch.
That additional money is needed as an incentive, since many people may see the process as a hassle of reading the rules involved, filling out a form, then mailing it. After that, they then need to wait one or two months before they receive that check, with some spanning even longer, such as those who must end up waiting two to three months. In some cases, people may be reluctant due to the fear of having the check lost in transit.
Why Companies and Manufacturers Do It
For the company or manufacturer, the benefits include obtaining key marketing information like name and address, along with the method of payment. Another reason that’s been non-existent since the 2008-09 economic downturn is that businesses had been able to earn interest on the money they would be sending out.
Differing Perceptions and Changing Tides
There’s no clear indication of exactly what percentage of consumers send in mail-in rebates, with some estimates barely registering at two percent, while some considering it wildly popular at 80 percent.
A number of companies have either phased out or completely eliminated the mail-in aspect in favor of instant money back, though, as previously noted, those rebates are likely not as high those sent through the mail.