Staples EasyRebate

By Deane Barker on January 13, 2005

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.



  1. Well, if it works like the paper rebates!! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have to follow up a rebate application with an inquiry as to why its taking so long. Best Buy is by far the worst. “Ooops!, We forgot and we’ll get that right out to you”. They take every second of the 8 weeks to get your money to you. I wonder if you will have to follow up to get your rebate??

  2. I worked at Best Buy years ago, and rebates were the bane of my employment. Back then, they were all on these little pads, and we were constantly running out of them. You’d have customers calling back every week for six weeks to see if we had gotten anymore rebate slips in, because they didn’t even have the piece of paper to start the rebate process.

    There was no deal in the Sunday insert that wasn’t ridiculously dependent on some rebate. I remember one deal for a tower, monitor, and printer that depended on seven different rebates. Customers didn’t realize that the price in big letters in the insert was after all the rebates, and their actual price at the register was going to be about $500 higher.

  3. Because of reasons 1 and 2 – mainly 2, rebates usually do not move me into buying. If I really need the product (and it is priced right without the rebate) I will buy it and become one of the suckers that does not send in for the rebates. But the time it takes to send in for a $10 rebate is just not worth it. If there is another product without a rebate, I will even pay a little more just to voice my disapproval of the bogus rebate system.

  4. Best Buy’s checkout registers print the rebate coupons and receipts for any items that are eligible for rebates along with your regular receipt. I bought some wireless cards and a router there a while back; each card had two rebates, and the router had three. I left there with a pile of paper that had to have weighed more than the gear.

    Of course, the rebates on the cards had the “one rebate per individual, per household” or something like that, so I ended up throwing away three of them. I think they bank on things like that to void a good percentage of the rebates. That and people forgetting to send them in before they expire, if they’re sent in at all.

    I bought something at Menards last week that had a rebate on it, and they didn’t have the rebate coupon but the rebate receipt said you could get the coupon online; there you could search for and download the coupon you needed. Too bad they haven’t implemented something like Staples’ Easy Rebate.

  5. The other advantage that the stores get out of rebates is that typcially by giving you a rebate, they get a guarentee that you will not return the product.. Usually you have to remove the UPC and mail it in, thus making your item un-returnable.

  6. I bought a laptop and a color printer at Stapels in late November, put in my rebate requests just before New Years and just deposited $250 worth of rebates. I can only hope that my physical-mail Best Buy rebates come back as quickly.

  7. I work at Best Buy currently and their rebates absolutely suck. Being an employee, I cannot use my discount and still get my Best Buy rebates, which is to an extent understandable. Regardless it still takes forver to get them. I bought a number of items the day after Thanksgiving last year and had a few hundred in rebates. (There was a pretty decent ad unlike this year.)

    Anyways, it took 3 months for me to get my rebates. I don’t see why it takes so long to put my name in a comptuer and print out a little piece of paper.

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