The scourge

The most unbargainlike of all bargains is the dreaded “mail-in rebate.” This evil menace seems to be gaining popularity. It must be stopped!

While picking up The Wind Waker last week, the clerk asked me if I was interested in pre-ordering Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. I was, but seeing as it won’t be released until the Fall (if then) there was no urgency. I passed. The clerk then told me that it was free. I reconsidered, and agreed. “That will be five dollars,” he said.

“What? Five dollars free?”

“It’s a mail-in-rebate.”

ARG. I passed once again. I make it a point to avoid anything with the words “mail-in-rebate” associated with it. I think I had made a couple such purchases before, and I don’t think I ever got the money back. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people that have mail-in offers don’t even follow through.

The worst is when advertisers show a low low price, and in really fine print point out that the price is AFTER a rebate. It’s dishonest. The advertised price should be the price that you pay. It’s a simple concept, really. If you’re going to advertise prices like that, you might as well list them as: “$0*. (* Price does not include the value of the product.)”

I hate it. This scourge must be stopped!

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