Ever walk away from a big purchase with a rebate form? You know you should do something about it, but what?

Getting money back from rebates is easier than you might think. Here is everything you need to know to answer the quetion "how do rebates work?".

Is a Rebate a Sale?

Not exactly. But, it is a way for you to have more money in your pocket. A rebate is a price incentive a business offers on certain products. Usually, a rebate has a specific condition placed on it, like buy one get one free. Sometimes, rebates are called cashback or refunds when it is in the form of reimbursement.

What Are The Different Types of Rebates?

There are three main types of rebates to look out for:

  • Flat-Rate Rebate: When the discount is automatically subtracted from the purchase price.
  • Mail-in Rebate: A customer has to mail in a form and proof of purchase to receive money back.
  • Conditional Rebate: A specific condition is placed on the purchase in order to receive the rebate. For example, buy one get one free.
  • There are also product promotions rebates and rebates during promotional launches. Some customers also choose to use rebate apps to get a refund on a purchase.

How Do Rebates Work?

Stores offer rebates because they work for them. Amazon and Walgreens rebates are just some of the examples of major retailers using this discount tactic. It entices customers to come in and buy products at a specific price. And if they offer mail-in rebates, they hope customers will forget the forms.

And 40% of customers do forget.

So, almost half of the customers buy a full price product and the stores do not have to refund them anything.

And since it takes 4-12 weeks before they can even send out a rebate, the amount stores intend to send back is set aside. This gains interest. So, even when they send back the refunds, the store is making money.

Sometimes, the rebate is in the form of store credit, which is also beneficial for the business. They know if they give you $10 in store credit, it is likely you will come back and spend more than they gave you.

So, you've given them more business than simply shopping during the rebate dates. This is why it helps to have the right tool to remind you before the expiration period.

How Do Rebates Work for Me?

So if rebates are making companies more money, are they actually beneficial to the customers, too?

Of course. Just because it is a good marketing strategy does not mean it is not a good shopping strategy, too.

Be a smart shopper:

When you see a store offering a rebate, make sure that the end price is still better than the competitor.

Pay attention to the details. Will your purchase qualify for the rebate? Is there a condition attached to the offer? Are you buying within the offer dates and times?

Do not forget about a mail-in rebate. Take it home, fill it out, and send it in immediately. You won't get any benefit if you forget it altogether.

Mail-in Rebates

The most common products that will have a mail-in rebate are pet items, electronics, household items, and food.

Mail-in rebates are not as complicated, but they do require the most customer work.

Be on the lookout for these rebates in coupon ads and online. Sometimes, you can find a big-ticket item with a large cash back rebate. You may even be lucky enough to find a free rebate and receive a check for the full price of the product.


Before you hand over payment, make sure you read the rebate offer very carefully. You will want to make sure you understand all the qualifying details. If you purchase outside the brand, name, size, or even flavor, it is a good chance you will not get the rebate later.

Keep your receipt after your purchase. You will need to send it in with your completed form, later. Double-check that the product on the receipt matches the rebate offer.

Filling Out the Form

All mail-in rebates require your name, mailing address, and sometimes phone number and email.

But also look over the form and see if they ask anything else. Double-check your form to make sure you did not leave any blanks. If you neglect to give them all the information they ask for, you will not get your rebate.

Stuffing Your Envelope

Do not forget to include everything your offer asks of you inside the envelope. You do not want to miss out on cashback for forgetting to send something like a UPC barcode with your form.

Your rebate offer will list what they need to complete the rebate. But, here are some possibilities to look out for:

  • Cash register receipt (The form will state if they need the original or a copy)
  • A drawn circle around the product purchased
  • A drawn circle around the price
  • A circle around both the product and the price
  • UPC barcode (Again, the form will tell you if a copy is okay)


Check the dates on your form. They will tell you when the rebate offer starts when you must purchase the product, and when the offer ends.

If you miss any of those deadlines, your purchase will not qualify for the rebate.

Tracking Your Rebate

It is always a good idea to be on top of the rebates you send off. Set up a spreadsheet or a tracker form.

You may also want to consider keeping copies of all the information you mail in (form, UPC code, receipt, etc). This way, if there is any dispute later, you have the proof of your completed rebate.

So, Are Rebates Worth it?

Yes, absolutely! Who does not love to save some money when shopping?

Just make sure you pay attention to all the details. If you need to, call the company ahead of time to ask "How do rebates work?".

Do not let your mail-in form fall by the wayside. And make sure what you purchase is not at a competitor's store for cheaper, even without a rebate.

Rebates may work well for businesses, but they can also work well for you. Download our app today to make sure you never miss out on getting your discount.

You may also like these posts:

Card image cap
What is a Rebate?

We’ll break down what is a rebate, and how you can take advantage of them as a savvy shopper or seller.


February 22, 2021

Card image cap
Get ready for St. Patrick's Day!

Saint Patrick's Day is an Irish celebration that many different countries have adopted as theirs. It is a big holiday nowadays, especially in our country, as it is popularly known for its surprising and fantastic parades that are eccentric and magical.


March 11, 2021

Card image cap
Rebate vs Discount: What's the Difference?

What’s the difference between rebate and discount? Continue reading for the answer, and everything else you should know about using a rebate vs discount.


February 18, 2021

Start now and claim your 1st rebate!

Get Up To 100% Cash Back Rebates when shopping your favourite online stores! Its FREE!

Sign Up