Late Rebate

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.

Top 10
Fast RebatesTotal Days 
Belkin26given the bottom-10 performance the previous year, maybe they decided to mend their ways?
Ridata28 and they said it could take 10 weeks!
Microsoft29 as a hardware company, they are quite good
Circuit City30under the old ownership
Circuit City31under the old ownership
Western Digital32 

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!

Bottom 10
Late RebatesTotal DaysDays Late 
Northwestern Bell282252our champion, at over 40 weeks, exactly 36 weeks late!
Digital Research Technologies278248DR-Tech tried so hard to get that record!
MSI198168yes, that's 28 weeks!
KWorld199129so many complaints, so few rebates
Kingston137107good memory, but lousy customer service
Belkin14387a year prior to their fast rebates
Gigafast10676constantly dodging paying -- I don't think they would have paid up any rebates at all, had PCClub not kept chasing them