1. The mail in rebate tells me first that the product is over priced as
the manufacturer is willing to send me the rebate.
2. I have to pay sales tax on the price initially paid.
3. I then have to gather the necessary rebate forms, fill out an
envelope and pay for postage and mail the rebate request in hoping
something doesn't get lost/trashcanned along the way.
4. Somebody at the other end has to process the rebate and send the
check to me.
5. After the usual three to six months time lapse, all the while tying
up my money, I have to waste more time cashing the check (providing I
even get it).
If the item were priced at the point of the original price minus the
rebate to begin with, I would have saved the cost of the extra tax and
postage and a number of people would have save a lot of time and wasted
Actually, I'm willing to pay you to do some work for me. I want you
to buy it through a dealer. Ideally, this would be a dealer that I
haven't made much progress with. It proves to him that there is some
You mean the full retail price, right? Sorry, not much I can do about
The form comes in the box with the Aligner. You don't have to mail it
in unless you want the money.
That would be me.
If it's worth your while.
But if I don't get any value for the rebate then it's not worth my
while either. It's not about giving away money. If I were just
looking for a way to discount the products then I wouldn't need to
Home of the TS-Aligner
Unless I am getting the product and ending up with more money than before I
buy the product I am not being paid by you to do some work for you. I am
simply getting a partial refund.
If you have the dealer handle the rebate up front, the sales tax would be on
the sales price less the rebate.
Otherwise you pay more than you should be paying.
Regareldss of who is refunding us with a rebate, we have to go to the store,
buy the product, PLUS fill out a form, mail that form, and wait a lot
longer than the date purchased to eventually receive the refunded rebate.
If you have not noticed, your end users are trying to tell you that it is
not worth our while.
Actually Ed, you stated quite the contrary in the beginning of the thread
with your opening sentence,
Every year I post a special offer here on rec.woodworking to show my
appreciation for all your help and support. This year is no
Now you are claiming no value from the rebate, I thought it was all about
Well, that's not really true Leon. You are indeed getting paid by Ed if he
sends you back some money, having been told by him why he's doing the rebate
program. The difference in what you suggest and what Ed's doing is the
amount of the pay. You are right of course, that you pay is in the form of
a refund, but it's cash all the same.
Or... you pay what you should be paying instead of taking advantage of a
deal which is driven by the need of the manufacturer. Ed is suffering from
a need in his distribution chain and is willing to extend a benefit to the
end user in order to bolster up that end of his business. There is a big
difference between paying more than you should and getting a deal. I've
never used Ed's alignment tool and I likely never will, but I have never
heard anyone say it was not worth what they paid for it. In fact, the
roaring feedback from those who have used them is that they were indeed
worth every cent they paid.
Yeah, but come on Leon - you're making it sound like you're doing a lot of
work here. Hell - anyone who is interested was going to go to the store
anyway. Filling out rebate forms - even the most painful ones (Cingular
telephone rebates come to mind), really takes about one minute. Certainly
no amount of effort for any of us.
This is the one point that I've observed watching this thread unfold. Just
for the record, I don't mind rebate forms too much. I do think the
principle behind rebates usually borders on unethical - it's all about the
gamble that most people won't complete them, so the manufacturer never
incurs the cost, but does gain the bump in sales that the rebate temptation
brings. But - that's just the way it is. I generally send mine in and I
grumble when a month after I send my in, I get a notice from <Cingular> that
my rebate will be processed within 10 weeks. 10 freakin' weeks!
But that's not what Ed is offering. He's offering a quick turn around. A
lot of good suggestions have come up about using different techniques and
practices than rebates. Most of these Ed has demonstrated present a
difficulty to his business. He has no control over his distribution and his
retail arms. They do present problems for manufacturers and more so for
smaller ones like Ed. He's trying to leverage the one direct way that he
thinks a manufacturer can offer something to the end user that can have the
effect of driving other areas of his business. I'm not sure the rebate will
work as Ed plans, but I'm also not trying to re-write his business plan with
this reply. What really struck me in this thread was the number of replies
that talked about how much extra work rebates would be, how taxing they
were, etc. My lifelong experience is that most people do not look at
rebates this way. Rebates are indeed an attraction to most consumers.
But - this is a niche group of people. Woodworkers are grumbly, stodgy old
farts with one sided perspectives of the world. God made us that way, so
it's the way it should be. Nothing is ever good enough for woodworkers
unless they did it, or unless it's really, really old.
Hey Ed - I just stumbled on it! A real eureka moment! Print your rebate
forms in black and white with pictures of old table saws on the forms.
Really old table saws. Throw a couple of pictures of hand planes and buck
saws in the background. Get that nostalgia thing working. Throw in some
text about prices from yesterday... Maybe even make it look like the rebate
form was printed 60 years ago. Then... when a woodworker - and I mean a
real woodworker like us here at the wreck, stumbles across it in the store,
they will think they found a treasure from the past. Of couse since it's
"60" years old, it has to be good - right? Oh yeah - dust - ship the
product with a good stout coating of dust inside and outside the box. The
best is yet to come Ed... Imagine the press you get when one of them (us)
posts a thread in the group heralding this great deal they stumbled on where
this small, customer oriented manufacturer honored a rebate from 60 years
ago, and refunded half their money. Surely the refund was more than what
the product sold for 60 years ago. But - this noble vendor did the
Thanks Mike! Many things said that I could not have said better. It
shows a lot of thought and understanding. I appreciate it a great
deal (especially since it saves me the trouble of answering Leon's
I'm afraid that no feasible alternatives have surfaced. A few replies
seemed to show promise but ended up revealing a lot of pretense
instead of expertise. So, the rebate is still on. Several people
have already taken advantage of it. I'm a bit bemused by those who
would call them "suckers".
Yes, I'm trying to "wag the dog" so to speak. Marketing folks would
say I'm trying to create "pull" in the dealer channel. Many companies
would just throw tons of money at the problem - create a huge amount
of demand with some sort of advertising/awareness campaign and then
tell the dealers to stand in line. I don't have tons of money. I
measure my money in grams and I have to be a bit more creative in my
efforts. I'm sure that many here have no idea how much money is spent
by big companies when they launch new products or open new channels.
They probably think all the publicity is free.
Attitudes about rebates do seem to be quite phobic among some members
of the wreck. There seems to be no end to the pain and suffering that
rebates cause. Sorry that they are so afflicted. If they felt the
same way about test cuts I would be a rich man! Alas, the 30 second
rebate form has slain them but 2 hours of test cuts doesn't phase them
in the least.
A couple of suggestions have been incorporated:
- The offer on the web site has been expanded. I acknowledge that
many people have had bad experiences with rebates from other
companies. But, I assure people that this will be done right because
I will be administering this rebate program personally. No bizarre
hoops to jump through, no long forms full of personal questions, no
tricks designed to avoid payment.
- I provide a link to the PDF rebate form which will be included in
the box with all TS-Aligner product going to dealers.
- I explain that the program is designed to reward those who choose to
buy their TS-Aligner through a dealer.
The nostalgia thing sounds like fun! Not sure it would work though.
"Old" is just one component of the formula. It also needs to be
tedius and frustrating. Nothing seems to have more virtue to a "real
woodworker" than a task or tool that requires hours of hair pulling,
foot stomping, fist pounding trial and error. Then, and only then,
can they feel as if they have avoided "cheating" and have exercised
great "skill" in their pursuit of fine woodworking.
Home of the TS-Aligner
Ed, Today my former brother in law who works as a Woodcruft manager gave
me a great sharpening tip that will save me hours and hours and took
maybe 15 minutes to jig up for. It's a great idea, and would be even
better if it worked.
So I am feeling generous with my time and willing to make a small
contribution to this discussion.
Maybe you could run a contest using the trivia (only rarely about
woodworking) in the "What Is It" weekly post. That is, you could take
something that hasn't seen the light of day in 100 years, pull a couple
parts off it and only pay the rebate if the customer can tell you who
its former owners were. ALL of them.
Ed ... run your rebate offer. If it results in increased sales, good. If
not ... well, that's information worth knowing too.
Me ... I'm still kinda torqued that neither Home Depot nor Woodcraft had
ball-shaped cutters for my Chiwanese Dremel. (avoid the cheap, red
plastic 'flex tool grinders' at ACO ... IMO they have lousy bearings).
BTW I'm looking for a quick way to hog wood out of spoon bowls.
I'm not not at the above address.
The local Do It Best hardware store had ball tip grinders for Dremel. I
happened to buy some yesterday for a bowl texturing project I want to do.
Otherwise, I'd likely not have known.
Back to whacking the rebate idea down...
I think one difference between what you're doing and the typical
rebates is it sounds like you are handling the rebates yourself -
though I don't see a link to the actual rebate form in your link.
Usually rebates on stuff bought at retail use a fullfillment center,
whose sole job is to look for any reason to deny the rebate. I've
heard they actually get rated by the percentage of rebates they
reject, so there is tremendous pressure on them to find, or make up,
any reason to deny.
I've never ever personally not received a rebate, though I haven't
really done that many. I don't see what's so difficult about reading
instructions and sending the thing in within a month. I did recently
send in some pretty large rebates on Pentax camera stuff. On the
forum I read people used to glow about the handling of their rebates.
Then they changed fullfillment centers and I've heard nothing but
complaints since. For a company that has had perpetual rebates for a
very long time (every few months the rebates end and they announce a
new set of pretty much exactly the same rebates) it's just very bad to
be having bad word of mouth. And it makes you wonder if the word of
mouth was good about your rebates will be handled well, why did they
So if I were you, I'd make it clear I'm personally making sure the
rebates are handled properly. And I would have the rebate form up on
my website as a pdf. I would make sure I have the absolute minimum of
stuff the customer has to fill out and fine print on the form. It's
of course necessary to have reasonable limitations, but go through the
rebates looking for reasons to give the money not reasons to deny it.
Yep, I'm doing it myself. The form comes with the product. It only
requires name and address. I'm not looking for ways to avoid paying
rebates. It's simple, I just want people to buy from dealers.
I've never been wronged by the MN rebate center, but they are
In the other hand, Staples does a great job via the online rebate
system, and I still think the MN company issues the check.
#1) If I buy an item for cash, I sure as hell don't want to share my
name and address with a company and get dumped on their junk mail list
and then have that info sold off to receive yet more crap in the mail.
#2) Because we all know the way these rebates really work is that
vendor X advertises product Y via some type of printed medium at
price Z in a nice large font. In a smaller font the real price of
Z1 is listed for the item which shows how much it costs *without*
the rebate. Vendor X, while not exactly pulling the wool over
anyone's eyes, hopes the prospective consumer is fixated on the
price Z and that will be the tipping point for the customer to
actually want to buy product Y. Vendor X then gets to advertise
product Y at price Z, while knowing full well that most consumers
are not going to bother trying to get their rebate once they realize
what all is involved in trying to actually get it. Thus vendor X
gets to have a "sale", where everything is actually sold at the
regular retail price, and only have to provide the actual discount
to a small percentage of people that care to jump through all the
hoops and wait the ridiculous amount of time required before they
actually get their rebate--if at all.
In short, while you may be a very respectible business person offering
a good product, offering rebates screams "weasel" to me. So if you
want to have a sale and offer a discount--just do it. Forget the
If you want to reply via email, change the obvious words to numbers and
I believe you've gotten a few replies as to the perceived problems. You
also have the real problems: misplaced the receipt (probably #1
problem), tossed the box (and thus proof of purchase), set the thing
aside to fill out later, and missed the deadline.
I'm with the majority of the folks who responded; if I'm going to buy
it, I'm going to buy it and realize that I have maybe a 25% chance of
getting the rebate.
I learned my lesson with CompUSA -- lots of crap free after rebate, so I
bought a bunch, even though I didn't have a real need. Spent $150, got
maybe $30 back, and had $120 worth of crap that I couldn't even dump on
eBay, because so many other people had the same idea. No more rebates
How about compromise? Do an online rebate. Let people scan in the
receipt and email it to you or upload it to a web site? Yeah, you might
lose a little with the dishonest people, but chalk that up to a
marketing cost and you'll do fine. Keep the mail-in for the people that
can't figure out a computer.
Costco offers rebates, and I *will* go after those, because the process
is so quick and easy online. (Technically, my wife fills them out, so
they are *very* easy to do, but I believe you can even get an instant
credit back on your AmEx Costco card.)
-Steve in Banks, OR
Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
On Sep 4, 11:23 am, firstname.lastname@example.org (Stephen Bigelow)
So, with the rebate program being administered by me, I figure that
these problems can be worked out as they crop up. None of the issues
that you mention are insurmountable. I'm not looking for excuses to
avoid paying people. I'm looking to incent people to buy my products
Your chances improve considerably if you put your name and address on
the form, include a copy of your receipt, and mail it in to me! Proof
of purchase is necessary to avoid fraud. Name and address make it
easier for me to send the check.
Well, this does seem like a completely different sceneraio.
Sure, no problem. I don't mind the scan/email thing. Works for me.
Unless you want your money by PayPal, I would still need to get a name
I just need proof of purchase and a means to provide payment. The
"mail-in" thing seemed to be the easiest thing to me. I'll modify the
web site to include the scan/email method.
Home of the TS-Aligner
My 2 cents worth is to offer the purchaser, proportionate to the
amount spent on your items, a coupon code that will give him a
'dollars off' amount applied to his next purchase with the dealer. So
if I spend $200. on a Bennett product at Homer's Tool Outlet, Homer
will give me $20 off my next purchase from him and so on up and down
the price range of your products.
It sounds like a great idea but in practice it would be very difficult
(and expensive) to administer. Again, it requires the dealer to do
work. It might increase prices (to cover carrying costs). And, it
does nothing to attract the dealer that doesn't currently offer the
It really is a difficult problem to solve. My goal isn't just to give
out discounts. And, I'm not just looking to increase sales. I'm
trying to develop a strong and loyal dealer channel and I really don't
have a whole bunch of money to do it. I realize that rebates have
some negative sentiment associated with them but they do seem to hit
most of the bases.
Home of the TS-Aligner
Be assured that no offense was intended, or to insinuate that you were doing
any "scamming" yourself.
That notwithstanding, the connotation of the phrase "mail-in rebate" does
seem to incite strong opinions/feelings in more than one of us. <g>
Anyway, good luck, understand your predicament, hope lots of folks take you
up on your "dealer incentive" program, and look forward to using your
You made a bad business decision. You got your rebate, you got your free
stuff, you got exactly what the seller intended. You have no complaint
against the manufacturer or the seller. What you did not get was the
opportunity to make a quick buck. Can't blame the rebate program for that.
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