This morning's LA Times ran a piece by David Lazarus, about a bill that is being considered in the California State Assembly that deals with those annoying mail-in rebates that have become ubiquitous and which sometimes seem impossible to actually get once you've bought the item. Apparently (Please understand that I am not a legal scholar type …), AB 1673 will require that retailers either "… advertise a product at the higher, pre-rebate price to avoid confusion, or they immediately honor the rebate at the cash register, rather than make customers go through the trouble (and uncertainty) of the mail in process."
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a rather good thing to me! I could easily be described as someone who is … hmmmm … FRUGAL … so I'm big on sales and rebates. As motivated to save a buck as I am, however, even I have been worn down on more than one occasion by companies that required such an excess of hoop jumping and other shenanigans that I finally gave up and decided to forget about the rebate. On other occasions I've dutifully filled out and mailed my rebate information in, only for it to be lost forever in some rebate paperwork purgatory–No rebate in site!!!
If you are a California resident, you might want to voice your support for this bill to the peeps who represent you in Sacramento. If you are anything like me you might not even know who your State Senators or Assembly Members are (I research before I vote, but honestly, they usually seem so useless to me that I don't bother to remember who my Sentators or Representatives are at the State level … That's sad, huh? …). Take a look here to find out who they might be.
Now, in all fairness, David Lazarus's article quotes Pamela Williams who is vice president of the California Retailers Assn. who says, "Legitimate frustration about the rebate process is being imposed on retailers, who aren't the problem, rather than manufacturers, who are the problem." I'll have to admit that on its face, her argument has some truth to it …
If I was a cynical person, I might say that Ms. Williams was just passing the buck here and not taking responsibility for the fact that many of the retailers she represents use the rebate system to advertise post-rebate prices to bring shoppers in, but in the end they really do not give a crap whether or not the consumer gets the shaft in the end.
If I was a cynic, though, I would feel compelled to congratulate the retailers of California for having the foresight to organize themselves and set up an organization positioned perfectly to mobilize and put pressure on those evil manufacturers to end the whole annoying rebate debacle and the shafting of millions of Californians! Yay for organization!!!
Finally, if some bill passes, I suppose that the Governator will have to sign it into law you might want to let him know that as a voter it is a problem you'd like to see addressed. Write the Governator here.