It’s no secret that rebates are a great tool for a variety of retailers and manufacturers. Rebates generate buzz and sales, yet not all are redeemed adding to their bottom line. BusinessWeek (subscription required) describes the phenomenon and profiles TiVo, which appears typical in paying out only 50% to 60% of potential rebates. BW suggests rebates are a “tax on the disorganized” but a “bonanza to retailers and suppliers.”
The article mentions one frustrated TiVo customer who felt he was given the run-around before finally receiving his rebate check 14 weeks after submission. In fact, the gist of the article is that many consumers are frustrated by the difficulty of rebate redemptions and that regulators are getting involved.
Of the five TiVo’s I’ve owned, two came with rebates which were received within the specified time frame.
BusinessWeek says: The impact on a company’s bottom line can be startling. Consider TiVo Inc. The company caught Wall Street off guard by sharply reducing its first-quarter loss to $857,000, from $9.1 million in the same period last year. One reason: about 50,000 of TiVo’s 104,000 new subscribers failed to redeem mail-in rebate offers, reducing the company’s expected rebate expense by $5 million. TiVo says it generally sees lower redemption rates during the Christmas shopping season, when consumers may be too distracted to file for rebates on time.