More Reasons to Hate Rebates
Rebates stink. Ralph Frasca of Division of Labour thinks so too. So does his co-blogger Michael Munger. Munger links to a piece by Arnold Kling that is a must read for those who are thinking of buying a computer partly because of a sweet rebate detail. Kling links to this piece by Ed Foster which tells in detail games that are played by those offering rebates.
3 years ago, when I bought the computer on which I am currently typing from that computer maker not named Gateway, one of the reasons I chose it was to get a triple-digit rebate. When I bought it, I wanted to get the best speakers and sound card I could get, but doing so would delay the shipment. I was afraid that the delay might bring my computer to me after the rebate expiration date, but I was told by a customer service rep via email that my rebate would be honored. The shipment arrived after the rebate expiration date. Guess what happened next? Yup... I didn't get my rebate honored. I even sent a copy of that email mentioned above, but no dice. So when I bought my next computer, I treated the rebate notice like I would treat a Kleenex or some Charmin. I based my decision on the non rebate price of the computer and its amenities.
Talk is cheap, and if a rebate sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you want to buy a new computer, be wary of a big rebate.