During a time when many Americans are searching for ways to pinch pennies, a new report shows sending in a mail-in rebate may not be one of them.
Pay $50 less for a Samsung Phone from AT&T -- Get up to $400 off the cost of a washer and dryer from Sears -- Get your iPod for free when you buy it and an Apple computer on the same day -- There's no shortage of rebate offers in today's consumer society. But according to a recent study by Consumer Reports, there does appear to be a shortage of consumers who use them.
When asked if they sent in rebates, only 47 percent of the people surveyed said they always or often do -- 25 percent said they flat out never send them in.
Of the people who do mail in their rebates, the study found the majority of them had incomes of $100,000 or more -- Americans that made $50,000 or less were the least likely to send them in.
Delta resident Melody Quammen says she usually doesn't take the time to fill out and mail in rebate forms, unless the offer is too good to pass up.
"AT&T maybe because it was a big rebate," said Quammen. "I think if I remember it was like fifty dollars for each phone."
Her reason for not filling out others --
"You have to fill out all this paperwork and it's complicated," said Quammen.
And she's not alone. According to the survey, 52 percent of people who don't send in rebates listed "too many steps" as reason for not doing it. 46 percent said the amount the company was offering was too small to make it worth it. 26 percent said they doubted they'd ever get the money.
Not surprising, Consumer Reports says, when roughly 1 in 5 people reported after applying for a rebate they didn't receive it or were turned down because of a technicality.
Experts say that's why you should take several steps to make sure you get the rebate you deserve:
-Read and understand all the requirements of the rebate, including deadlines, before you buy the product
-Make copies of all the necessary paperwork in case your claim is lost or rejected
-If the rebate seems late getting to you, call the company directly. Many companies allow you to track rebates online.
To see the full Consumer Reports survey, click on the link below: