Stretching Your Dollar: Who really wins with rebates?

By Maureen O'Boyle - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As more of us look for ways to save money, rebates suddenly have a new appeal.

As we discovered in this Stretching Your Dollar segment, rebates are really designed to benefit manufacturers.

We met a Charlotte father who made a huge investment in a washer and dryer with the promise the delivery would be free with a mail-in rebate.

The rebate form required three numbers from his receipt, but one of them was smudged.

Dan Crawford sent the forms into the manufacturer anyway and it was rejected.

After several weeks of going back and forth with the company, Crawford received his $50 rebate.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, only 50 percent of the customers who make a purchase of a rebated item actually submit the paperwork.

Often, consumers complain the forms are too complicated and hard to follow.

If you are shopping for a big ticket item that promises a rebate, consider asking your salesperson to take the money off at the register and forego the rebate altogether.

Remember in this economy, money talks.