Staples Easy Rebates: I bought a wireless router at Staples today which came with a $20 “Easy Rebate.” It’s a nice concept: Instead of sending a little piece of paper in, they have a Web site where you just enter some information off the receipt, and a rebate check gets cut.
My understanding is that the reason for of rebates is twofold: (1) to get you to give up your personal information, and (2) that a certain percentage of people won’t redeem the rebate, so that the store gets the marketing value of offering it, but doesn’t incur a penalty like they would if they just cut the price by that much (since everyone automatically “redeems” a price cut).
Given that reasoning (if I’m wrong, please tell me), then this system makes it easier to get the former (since you enter the information on their Web site, making it fast and error-free), but it also mitigates the value of the latter, since more people will be likely redeem the rebate.
It’s an interesting trade-off. I don’t know how the economics play out for the store, but I’m just happy I didn’t have to fill out a stupid, little form.