5 On Your Side

Proposed Law Would Crack Down on Rebate Red Tape, Delays

Posted March 22, 2007

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— Long waits, unreasonable terms and ridiculous red tape are some of the complaints heard from customers trying to claim rebates on products they bought.

Now, a North Carolina state senator is trying to do something about it.

Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake, saw a 5 On Your Side story about Carrie Whiteside, who had to wait more than a year to get $500 in rebates she was owed for two phones she ordered online.

“We need to fix the way we do rebates in North Carolina," Stevens said Thursday, and he has introduced Senate Bill 1055. It would require all rebate terms to be clearly printed on the form and would require companies to send the rebate to consumers within 30 days.

“At first, I thought the reason that they do this is they're hoping that you forget about it,” Whiteside said. “I immediately went on to my computer and put it in my calendar six months out to the exact date.”

Then, almost a year after she filed, the rebate company denied her claims. Whiteside called us for help and to get out the word about rebates.

“I still hope that somehow there can be some kind of resolution,” Whiteside said, “and these people could be put in their place for what they've done, because I know I'm not the only one.”

Stevens said he's heard from plenty of constituents who had experiences similar to Whiteside's, “It's just frustrating and confusing for the consumer,” Stevens said. “It's not fair and it's not right!"

Stevens said that after hearing the constant complaints and seeing Whiteside’s story, he knew he had to do something.

"You know you can move money around the world in seconds right now,” Stevens said. “It shouldn't take six months to get a $25 rebate from a purchase you made."

One rebate company tells us that's not a problem for reputable rebate firms, as long as manufacturers provide the money.

The bill is now in committee. Stevens says it has strong bi-partisan support, and he hopes it will be heard within the next couple of weeks.

13 Comments

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  • Dayum Krazy Mar 29, 2007

    I agree with you Taxman...instant rebates would be best but i ain't about to hold my breath on them from all companies

  • Tax Man Mar 28, 2007

    I've gotten all my rebates, except two for oil changes from Valvoline - but one of their dealers made good on it (it was only $3 each). Key is to follow the instructions to a tee!

    However, I would favor a law that provides for only Instant Rebates - at the register. That way you know you got it! And since it is on the receipt, if you take the item back for a refund you also lose the rebate. The mail-in or online rebates are a come on and it appears that most people just never claim them or miss the cutoff dates.

  • jaynet Mar 28, 2007

    I don't see the purpose in rebates to begin with except to hope that most people won't file them. If the manufacturer wants consumers to get their product at a reduced price, then sell it outright at that price. It will eliminate costs overall for the manufacturer as they won't have to hire people to handle the rebate paperwork, plus the businesses selling the products won't have to deal with disgruntled customers who haven't received their rebates and take it out on those businesses caught in the middle!

  • justanothercomment Mar 28, 2007

    i filed one with Tiger Direct a LOOOOONG time ago and I still haven't recieved it. I filed it online too. This is a bille worth passing, although I generally avoid anything with a rebate attached to it now

  • Mr. Green Jeans Mar 27, 2007

    ditto, "Screen name" ... Can we get a rebate on the money we spend on our "citizen" legislature?

  • TrustMe Mar 27, 2007

    a bunch of scam artist - legal an professional-like. bump 'em.

  • sharptapp Mar 27, 2007

    I've only gotten 40% of rebates filed. Even though I finaly got one from Tiger Direct it took a long and convoluted path.

  • ghimmy47 Mar 27, 2007

    Screen Name ... representing the people means just that; identifying a problem and trying to make it right for them. Rebates are becoming a scam and need to be addressed, as you can see from the comments below.

  • Screen name Mar 26, 2007

    I've never lost a rebate yet BUT don't these politians have anything better to do with our time. I'm seriously last week there was legislation about restrooms. These people are worthless.

  • ahawkins629 Mar 26, 2007

    3 of us at work bought memory chips from a local electronics store and it had a $50 rebate on it, which made the pruchase attractive.. all 3 of us turned in our info and all 3 of us got postcards saying the info was unacceptable because it couldnt be read... ha.. i resubmitted but my buddies didnt... i think they just send everyone the postcard and hope no one has thier paperwork later on.. totally a scam... when i shop at BJ's, they give me a receipt and then i just go online and enter the rebate info and its in the mail within a few weeks.. thats the way to go for rebates..

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