This is one in a series of posts about business processes that are calling for "angioplasty". The process is burdened with expensive technology, people costs or laden with security or compliance related steps - sometimes all of the above. Looking at it from a customer POV, it needs significant surgery.
As BusinessWeek points out, the process around redeeming rebates is convoluted beyond belief. The manual effort and paperwork for consumers, for the processing company (usually a third party) and the company when disputes arise is crying out for streamlining.
On the one hand, I had to pinch myself because all Best Buy wanted for a recent rebate was the information on the on-line form below (click to enlarge). I have saved the UPC codes because I am sure they will ask for it in a follow up letter. But if not, they will have cracked the rebate code (the only way they could do better is if they could process it right at the POS terminal). At the other extreme, I have had 2 letters back and forth about a rebate from Circuit City. They do it the old fashioned way - mail in rebate form, the receipt and the UPC code. The response I got says the purchase was not in the right time frame. I circled the date on the receipt and sent it in again, and there has been no response. The next letter will go to its CEO, and then the one after to the local authorities. They have already lost my early Christmas purchases because of their action -or lack thereof.