Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Location: Central Florida

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I hope Home Again Pet Recovery Service does a better job tracking animals than rebates

Orlando Sentinel columnist Greg Dawson repeatedly gives this advice, which I’m happy to echo: Never buy anything based on a promised rebate. If the seller or manufacturer is offering a rebate, fine. Ignore that when making your purchase decision. And if you happen to get the rebate later, then you’ve gotten a bonus. But if it doesn’t come, you don’t get around to filing for it, or you decide not to jump through the rebate hoops, or whatever, you should still be pleased with the terms of your purchase.

Earlier this year we added a dog to our family. When I had her microchip implanted (for those of you who might not know, that’s a small chip implanted under the dog’s skin coded with information that allows a vet or animal control facility to identify her if she gets lost), the receptionist at my vet’s gave me a rebate form along with my receipt.

I didn’t decide to have her “chipped” because of the rebate, but since they were offering to send me $10 back, I figured I’d take advantage of it.

About four months after sending in the form, it occurred to me that I hadn’t received the rebate. I called the toll-free number on the form for Home Again Pet Recovery Service and was told I had to call another (not toll-free) number to ask about the status of my rebate. Thanks to all-you-can-talk flat-rate long distance packages, I didn’t mind making the call. The woman who answered found my rebate in “the system” right away, told me I “had to understand” that it could take 10-12 weeks (it had been more like 16 weeks) to process the rebates. And surprise, surprise! My rebate arrived in the mail three days later.

Draw your own conclusions about the integrity of this particular rebate program. Just remember that if you make rebates part of your purchase decisions, you could frequently end up paying more than you intended.




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