Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rebates Stink

I said I would rather buy an item for $19 rather than an identical item for $20 with a $5 rebate. This is straight math: Estimated time to fill in the rebate form once you have everything ready: 5 minutes. Chances of having everything ready without spending gathering time: 10 percent, tops. What you need ready is: the rebate form, the receipt, the box the item came in, a knife to cut the box, a larger than normal envelope, extra stamps, and a pen. I estimate at least a 10 percent chance of spending 30 minutes to try and gather everything, then giving up and not getting the rebate . Average gathering time is about 10 minutes. Then there is the tracking time, of about 10 minutes spread over the 6 to 8 weeks it takes to get your rebate back, and where you get mad at someone if the rebate doesn't show up. Chances of the rebate not showing up for whatever reason, at least 10 percent. Time spent in chasing down a rebate that does not show, 60 minutes. Time spent in cashing the rebate check: 1 minutes.
So here we are:
5 minutes -- filling the form
0 minutes --gathering times 10 percent
10 minutes -- gathering times 80 percent
60 minutes -- chasing no rebate times 10 percent
10 minutes -- tracking time spread over 6 - 8 weeks.
5 +8 + 10 + 6 + 1 = 30 minutes

Extra stamps cost about 80 cents

chances of no rebate -- 20 percent (10 percent your fault due to gathering difficulties, 10 percent other).
So the rebate sender spends a half an hour for an 80% chance of getting $5 less 80 cents in stamps, and a 20% chance of spending another hour plus for nothing. That is way less than minimum wage.

No thanks.