What Should I Know About Appliance Rebates?

Malcolm Tatum

Rebates on various types of household appliances are wonderful ways to help people purchase items they want or need while still saving money. At the same time, the rebate is also a great marketing tool for manufacturers who want to enjoy higher sales volumes on the products they create and sell to the general public. However, it is usually a good idea to look at an appliance rebate from several angles before making a commitment. Here are a few things you should know about appliance rebates before you purchase anything.

A microwave oven.
A microwave oven.

On the surface, appliance rebates look like a great deal. They sometimes represent a substantial reduction in the final purchase price of a number of products. However, this apparent savings may not be as substantial as you think. For this reason, you need to do a little homework before grabbing what seems to be a great rebate deal.

Check on the process necessary to claim the rebate. Some appliance rebates are structured as “instant” rebates. That is, you fill out a card and pay cash for the item and you get a rebate on the spot. Other appliance rebates require that you register the purchase with the manufacturer, a process that may be quite involved. Instead of receiving the rebate right away, you may wait anywhere from a few weeks to several months to get that rebate check from the manufacturer.

You also need to compare what you will ultimately pay for the appliance after the rebate is applied. How does that figure compare to similar appliances offered by other manufacturers? Appliance rebates do not always indicate that you will save any money at all. If the competition offers a product of similar quality at a lower price, that rebate may not be worth the time or the trouble.

Also, keep in mind that appliance rebates are only ordered for a short period of time. That means if you submit the paperwork for the rebate after the final date of the offer, you will not receive any benefit from the rebate offer at all. Be sure you understand what has to be done in order to claim the rebate and how long you have to submit the documentation necessary to receive the rebate.

Before you send in paperwork to claim your rebate, make sure to copy everything you submit. Most companies must have original documents, but making copies for your files will provide you with reference material in the event there is a question about something you submitted. This can make the difference between a rejection of the rebate and receiving the rebate in a timely manner.

There is a lot of talk today about energy saving appliances. It is not unusual for an energy appliance to be promoted with a rebate program. Before you think you will save money and help the environment, compare the energy rating of the appliance with other brands. The appliance may not be as energy efficient as you think, and in fact will still cost more than the competition even with the rebate. While many energy rebates will save you money and allow you to obtain an appliance that truly does use a substantially lower amount of resources, do not assume this is the case. Investigate the appliance and the offer thoroughly before making a decision.

Appliance rebates, at their best, can be extremely good for the consumer. They help to cut costs and allow people to afford items that would be out of reach otherwise. However, the savvy consumer will always compare the benefits of a give rebate to other purchasing options before making a final decision. Look at all the factors closely, and then determine if a particular rebate is in your best interests.

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