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Best Buy, Radio Shack Offer Instant Pre Rebate

One thing about the Palm Pre launch that disappointed us was the mail-in rebate. However, it seems there’s a way to work around shelling out $299 at the register and waiting to get your hundred bucks back.

No doubt about it, mail-in rebates are a huge pain in the butt and a lot of people don’t like dealing with them once they’ve actually bought the product. As a couple of you guys pointed out with the initial announcement, Best Buy doesn’t do the mail in rebate thing anymore, so how could they sell the Pre with a rebate? Simple answer? They can’t.

According to PC World, it has been confirmed that both Best Buy and Radio Shack will deduct the $100 rebate instantly at the register. So with Best Buy and Radio Shack offering you the rebate right away, why would anyone want to go to a Sprint store to buy their Pre? And knowing that Best Buy and Radio Shack would be offering rebates at the register, why wouldn’t Sprint do the same?

  • scryer_360
    The reason BBY can do it is because they are immediately reimbursed that $100 by their main financial backer: HSBC. Then, HSBC and BBY together go after the manufacturer for the rebate, allowing them to get it much quicker.

    In some markets this doesn't happen, and BBY just has to package all the rebates together in one "pay me now" bill to the manufacturer.

    Sprint, on the other hand (it seems), doesn't have a bank behind it that would immediately go after the manufacturer and pay for the rebates. It could also be that Sprint doesn't WANT people to get the rebates, hence offering them.
    Reply
  • dman3k
    Sprint lacks common sense when it comes to customer service. I thought that was a known scientific fact.
    Reply
  • -unknown-
    scryer_360The reason BBY can do it is because they are immediately reimbursed that $100 by their main financial backer: HSBC. Then, HSBC and BBY together go after the manufacturer for the rebate, allowing them to get it much quicker. In some markets this doesn't happen, and BBY just has to package all the rebates together in one "pay me now" bill to the manufacturer. Sprint, on the other hand (it seems), doesn't have a bank behind it that would immediately go after the manufacturer and pay for the rebates. It could also be that Sprint doesn't WANT people to get the rebates, hence offering them.I don't think Jane was asking how BestBuy manages to provide the discount at the register but more or less shedding light on the fact that it can (and hence, since its possible, it seems silly for Sprint not to pursue a similar arrangement to accomplish the same end goal so as to not be at a competitive disadvantage). After all, the average consumer won't care about how a discount was obtained, just that they got it.

    I read my comment back and it has the potential to sound rude. If it comes off that way please know that I meant it in a friendly way.
    Reply
  • mdillenbeck
    Doing instant rebates is one of the reasons Best Buy is still standing in an online dominated world (that, and instant gratification of buying in-store versus waiting a few days to a couple of weeks).

    Why don't the others use "instant off"? Up until a couple of years ago, I did fine with rebates. Then the return rate dropped off. Claims of no original UPC included and I need to send it (which, of course, I can't, because I already SENT them the original - all I have is a hole in a box and no rebate). Then there is the "not received by the proper date".

    Then there are the time I actually forgot to send it off. :(

    Basically, a company plans on a certain (significant) percentage of rebates not to be sent in. However, it is legal to advertise the price after rebate instead of the out-of-pocket cost. Essentially, they count on intentionally deceiving you by claiming things weren't done exactly right and/or counting on you to screw up.
    Reply
  • tweak13
    dman3kSprint lacks common sense when it comes to customer service
    . I thought that was a known scientific fact.
    +1

    God forbid sprint does anything to make life easier, no no no, lets sit on the phone arguing about whether a mail in rebate was received or not for 2 hours.
    Reply
  • gm0n3y
    The problem with automatically giving customers the rebate is that it probably really pisses off the manufacturer. Given that only around 30% (I think) of people actually send the rebates in normally, if BestBuy files them automatically the manufacturer's cost for those rebates is tripled. I.E. instead of paying an average of $30 out per phone in rebates, they now pay $100. This is why they have rebates instead of just lowering the price.
    Reply
  • Hanin33
    it's all about the fact that the majority of consumers are not intelligent shoppers. most won't bother to check if someone offers the same rebates instantly and others would just rather not deal with 3rd parties or dorks trying to upsell them cheap holsters, cases or chargers. the hassle of most mail-in rebates is another and as others have pointed out, you pretty much give up your warranty when you give them your official UPC, which few of them will tell you about till you actually need to return the phone. gotcha!
    Reply
  • FlayerSlayer
    My question is: would I still be eligible for the end-of-contract phone upgrade discount if I go anywhere other than the Sprint Store?
    Reply
  • starryman
    I want one. But for $299 minus the rebate - Better off with the market leader... iPhone.
    Reply
  • lumpoco
    I'd be willing to buy an iPhone for my ATT GoPhone plan. Perhaps it will come down in price at the end of this year.
    Reply