Goldhawk Fights Back: Rebates may sound good but do they deliver?

This is a weekly column by Dale Goldhawk, Canada’s best-known consumer advocate. A journalist, author and broadcaster, Dale hosts Goldhawk Fights Back For You, on AM 740 or at AM740 ZoomerRadio, Monday through Friday from 11 am to 1 pm, in the eastern time zone. Visit his website at

The Competition Bureau, Canada’s watchdog against fraud and false advertising, advices that you read the fine print on the rebate offers from stores.

Here are some of thing pitfalls you should try to avoid and some of the details you should check:

1. Is there an expiry date on the rebate?

2. Are you being required to buy another product before you get the rebate?

3. Do you need to supply more than just a receipt in order to get the rebate?

4. Is there any kind of limit on the number of rebates that can be given to various members of the same household?

5. Are there any geographic restrictions on where the rebate can be sent? Is it possible to send the rebate to a rural route address?

True rebates offer you a partial refund or a discount on something you buy. You fill out a form and send it away and a cheque eventually comes in the mail. If you are offered a gift card or a credit to be used on a future purchase, those might be good deals but they are not rebates and should not be labeled as rebates.

So if you have checked all those possible problems and still plan to go ahead with buying the product and filling in the rebate form and saving a few dollars, make sure you get two copies of your receipt — one to mail in and one to keep for your own records. If you need to cut out and send part of the carton with certain information on it, make sure you scan and copy that for your records, too.

The records will come in handy if the rebate fails to arrive. These rebate cheques can take (I have no idea why) up to two or three months to arrive. And if they never arrive, you have your copies for backup if you need to deal with the company charged with issuing the rebates in the first place.

Photo © Maciej Korzekwa


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Dale GoldhawkGemini award nominee, journalist and broadcaster, Dale Goldhawk has earned Canada’s trust by his four decades of work exposing fraud and greed in the marketplace. To read more of his articles, go to (now part of the ZoomerMedia family of websites).

Don’t miss Goldhawk Fights Back , on the New AM740 Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.