Retailer rebates

Retailer or manufacturer rebates offer either a partial discount or a refund, by cash or by cheque, when you buy a product or service.

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How retailer rebates work

Retailers or manufacturers may offer an instant rebate at the time of purchase. Other promotions, such as mail-in rebates, are sent to you later if you apply for them.

Sales promotions in the form of gift cards or credits, to be used towards future purchases, are not considered retail rebates.

Instant retailer rebates

Before you buy, read the rebate terms and conditions. Check whether:

  • You are required to buy another product
  • There is a limit on the number of rebates per household
  • The rebate is only valid if the purchase is made at certain retailers
  • The taxes will be calculated on the full amount or the after-rebate price
  • There are any other limitations that might affect whether you qualify or will likely apply for the rebate

Mail-in retailer rebates

Remember that, although most consumers believe they will apply for a rebate after leaving the store, many do not. These people end up paying the regular price.

To receive your mail-in rebate, make sure to:

  • Have all required documents, at the time of purchase, to be able to apply
  • Follow instructions and send all required documentation (i.e., claim form, contact information, proof of purchase (sales receipt) and Universal Product Code (UPC))
  • Apply before the deadline
  • Be aware of any restrictions as to the eligibility of certain mailing addresses
  • Make a copy of everything that you provide in case the rebate is delayed or unpaid

Resolving issues during the retailer rebate process

If the retail rebate you have applied for is not paid on time, or if you encounter any other issues, contact the vendor.

For advice on how to approach the vendor to resolve a complaint with the retail rebate process, consult The Complaint Roadmap.

If you believe that a retailer or manufacturer has misled you about a retail rebate promotion, or if you come across questionable retail rebate promotions, contact the Competition Bureau.