When is a "rebate" not a rebate?
(edit: this seems to be becoming an "standard" policy. Screw the consumer!)
Because of a rebate offer, I was
going to purchase an item from a (generally acknowledged) 'good quality' company at a favorite technology website. I almost assumed
the V*** "Rebate" prepaid card it offered was the now familiar rebate card redeemable for cash AND without any fee
as has been the case in the recent past. In other words, that a $20 rebate would be in fact a $20 rebate.
I read the details of the rebate, and all the way at the VERY END of the document, it said:
1) It is NOT redeemable for cash
2) It can NOT be used at any ATM
3) After 6 months, they start charging a $3 MONTHLY "MAINTENANCE FEE" (which probably starts the date you purchased the item...so consider that $3 fee starting after an "actual" 2 to 3 months ("allow 12 weeks for delivery") after you get the card
Note: this may not apply to all new "rebate" card offers, but I advise carefully reading your rebate terms BEFORE you buy something...even from a familiar company...EVERY..SINGLE..TIME.
This was a rebate from a company that just a few months ago allowed the prepaid "rebate" card to be redeemed for cash without ANY fee at a bank. In other words, it was pretty much the same as getting and using an old rebate check.
History lesson: so FIRST they tempted us into accepting a prepaid card instead of a check...because we could still "cash" it like a check. (and...weirdly...you could also get it re-issued as a check IF after waiting 3 months to get the card you then send the card back to them for "conversion" and wait some more (weeks? months?) for an actual check...talk about an asinine process!). SECOND, they got rid of the check "conversion" option. And THIRD now, you can't redeem the rebate prepaid/debit card for cash, you only
can use it to pay for a purchase (where you will be likely charged a $1-$3 fee each time you use it)...AND if you're 'slow' to use the card, they will start charging you a monthly $3 "maintenance" fee. Given that most rebates are in the $10-$20 range, that means your rebate is worth $ZERO (aka $0.00, aka bupkis) in less than a year
I promise you...I will NOT be buying any parts that put these limitations on the rebate card.
edit to add 201111150215UCT:
From what I've been able to determine, it is apparently illegal
in Canada to offer these money sucking...transaction fee...maintenance fee...prepaid cards as rebates. They get a check for the full amount of the rebate. If someone knows differently, let us know.