Do we want to know which companies to avoid and which can be trusted? Here is a summary of some US rebate data collected between 2003 and 2008. 40% of rebates arrived on time. Yes, 60% of companies we have data for were breaking the law. Rebates should be paid within the timeframe specified by the company offering the rebate, or 30 days, according to the FTC's page about this topic. If rebates arrive late, you can report the company to the FTC via the FTC's complaint form but, unfortunately, only the really appalling and systematic examples ever seem to be prosecuted by the FTC. Companies regularly abused their customers' trust in them by refusing to pay rebates on time, or ever.
I was going to expand this page into a full database and allow others to add to it, but the GFC pretty much killed the mail-in rebate operations. So this is just a historic perspective on which companies played the game nicely and which didn't.
Here are my top 10 examples of quick rebates. Given that some companies simply say that they will take long periods (e.g. 12 weeks) to send rebates, these are listed simply by speed, regardless of how long they said they might take.
|Fast Rebates||Total Days|
|Belkin||26||given the bottom-10 performance the previous year, maybe they decided to mend their ways?|
|Ridata||28||and they said it could take 10 weeks!|
|Microsoft||29||as a hardware company, they are quite good|
|Circuit City||30||under the old ownership|
|Circuit City||31||under the old ownership|
Then, there are the companies which really sucked. The ones which used every trick in the book and only paid up when you showed that you were prepared to keep contacting them. Here are my bottom-10 worst rebate delays, ranked by how much later they were than their own promise!
|Late Rebates||Total Days||Days Late|
|Northwestern Bell||282||252||our champion, at over 40 weeks, exactly 36 weeks late!|
|Digital Research Technologies||278||248||DR-Tech tried so hard to get that record!|
|MSI||198||168||yes, that's 28 weeks!|
|KWorld||199||129||so many complaints, so few rebates|
|Kingston||137||107||good memory, but lousy customer service|
|Belkin||143||87||a year prior to their fast rebates|
|Gigafast||106||76||constantly dodging paying -- I don't think they would have paid up any rebates at all, had PCClub not kept chasing them|