Canada’s Competition Bureau advises consumers to check the fine print of rebate offers to ensure they get the deal they expect.
The Bureau advises that before making a purchase, consumers should always read the terms and conditions that accompany a rebate offer, in order to determine whether:
- there is a deadline to apply or an expiry date for the rebate;
- they must buy another product to qualify;
- they need to provide more than just a receipt to receive the rebate;
- there is a limit on the number of rebates per household; and/or
- there are any restrictions on geographic location and/or mailing address, such as a rural address, which may affect your eligibility.
True rebates involve a partial refund or discount on the purchase of a product, which is normally paid in the form of cash or a cheque. By contrast, some promotions offer gift cards or credits to be used on future purchases. While these may be a good deal, they are not rebates.
Once the consumer has read the fine print and has decided to follow through with the purchase, he or she should:
- ask for two copies of the receipt (one to mail in and another to keep for his or her records);
- carefully follow the instructions on the rebate form and include all required documents; and
- make copies of everything, in case the rebate is delayed or not honoured.
Consumers Council of Canada does not become involved in representing individual consumers concerning their specific problems, but it is interested in learning about both difficulties and great experiences consumers encounter in the marketplace. Tell us about your consumer experience if you would like to assist the Council’s efforts to protect consumers.