A lot of times avid online shoppers forget to take advantage of the rebates provided by the retailers. Sensing the plight of these millions of online shoppers, friends and Harvard Alumni, Karim Atiyeh and Eric Glyman launched a Paribus.
Come this Black Friday, the 27th of November, you can now shop till you drop and yet need not worry about cashing in on the online shopping rebates held by the retailers.
Retailers with Black Friday offers
- Amazon’s Black Friday Deals 2015, offering affordable rates and sales on video games, electronic, DVDs, etc.
- You can check out Target’s ‘all the limited-time deals’ for the ‘popular categories’ like clothing, shoes, baby, home, furniture, electronics, and toys.
- Like the above two retail giants, even Dell has got into the fray. Check their deals for laptop, desktop, tablet and electronics, here.
- There is another great online store, the Best Buy, where you can check out to shop for the Black Friday celebrations.
Online shopping rebates - The pain points
There are two barriers to peopleactually ever getting any money back, though:
- Every store has a different specific policy, often buried deep within the fine print on their websites, and,
- Most people don't want to go through the hassle of keeping tabs on dropping or competitor prices, much less painstakingly contacting the company in question.
Paribus - What does it have to offer you with?
Paribus launched in beta in September. Users sign up with any email address that they plan to use for most of their online purchases. Glyman says many users opt into making a completely separate account.
The company's motto: "Stores owe you money. We're gonna get it for you."
Every time a receipt hits their inbox, Paribus scrapes the product information and spends several weeks poking around for potential discounts. If it finds one, the shopper will get a refund.
Paribus takes a 25% cut of that rebate when it saves you money— though the first one is free. Right now, the company will let anyone, who invites five friends, spend their first year of the service not giving it any of their cash.
YCombinator recently accepted Paribus into its summer accelerator program and the service currently has more than 10,000 subscribers. Although most people don't get the slum-dunk payouts that Gus and his wife did, those kinds of savings do happen.
More often, shoppers end up saving smaller increments — $5 here, $20 there. Several members have saved $500 in the past two months, others are perfectly happy with $15 over the same time span because they're getting it through virtually no work on their part.
That's the best part about Paribus, sign up once, and from then on you'll just watch money, you would never have gotten otherwise, flow into your inbox.
How to get online shopping rebates easily
Apart from Paribus, there are various other online resources, which you could explore to get your rebates with ease. However, you need to know the tricks to beat the online retailers at their game and get your dollars back from them. Here are some of them:
- Never use poorly reviewed rebate companies
Most consumers don’t know that the majority of businesses offering rebates don’t provide the actual rebate service. Retailers, instead, outsource their rebate operation to third party companies, specializing in processing rebates.
Consequently, you will want to find out which service offers the most reliable processing system – the single best way is by Googling the manufacturer of the discounted item, including search key terms, such as “rebate service”.
- Keep a record of your rebates with online cloud storage
In the event of a catastrophe, keeping a backup of all your paperwork will make the difference between getting your claim rejected or accepted. Our preferred method of backing up and digitizing documents uses Dropbox and a scanning app. If you lack a smartphone or a digital camera, an actual scanner provides an alternative.
- Track its progress with a spreadsheet
Even after selecting a reputable rebate processing company, keeping track of your rebates offers the best method of ensuring payment. If a processor fails to pay, you can always call as if they owed you money– because they do! Even if the mistake is on your end, most companies offer second chances. And because you backed up your records, you’ll be able to pinpoint where the mistake occurred, if any.
- Never be afraid to call
In the event you don’t receive your rebate within the allocated time period, you should always call the rebate company. For example, you may have experienced several instances where the company has run late in processing your payment, or simply didn’t intend on sending it – calling always ensured payment.
- Report fraudulent rebate programs
If after the maximum time period elapses and you aren’t given your money (i.e. cheated), then you should contact customer service of both the product’s manufacturer and the retailer. Sometimes they’ll make up for the rebate processor’s dishonesty. After all, their reputation suffers when they outsource to disreputable rebate processors.
The absolute last resort is to file a complaint, such as with your state’s (or province’s) Attorney General’s office. Some states offer constituents additional protections against delinquent rebate programs. Two other places to file are through the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.
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