Thursday, August 21, 2008

Making Sense out of the Sandisk memory card Visa (not cash) rebates

Sandisk is having an on-going rebate promotion for some of its memory cards. This is generating some nice deals but it is also generating some frustration by some people who are having rebate issues. This posts tries to recap what the rebate program is about.

If you hate rebates, stop reading
If you have rebates with a passion, or you are reluctant to jump in, spare yourself the hassle and frustration, and stop reading this post!

Here is an example: Sandisk 4gb Extreme IV CompactFlash
For those who hate reading long-winded text, we start with a concrete example first, the 4gb Sandisk Extreme IV Compact flash card at Ritz Camera online. You can find the rebate form at the Ritz product page.

Example of Sandisk rebate at Ritz Camera
You buyPrice Paid at checkoutEligible rebateEffective Price after rebate is received
If you buy one memory cardYou pay $100$45 Visa card rebate$55 after you receive the Visa rebate
If you buy two memory cardsYou pay $200$100 Visa card rebate$100 after you receive the Visa rebate
If you buy three memory cardsYou pay $300$160 Visa card rebate$140 after you receive the Visa rebate

Time Period
The promotion covers valid purchases of select Sandisk memory cards between June 30 and September 28, 2008. If you have already made a purchase at a participating retailer (see below) then start digging for your receipts!

Participating Retailers
A long list of about 70 local and online camera photo dealers are participating in this promotion. You have to buy from that list. The list includes Ritz, Wolf, B&H Photo, Canoga, Adorama, Roberts, Calumet, and many more. You can find some of the national online stores in the Noisy Mall.

You can find the list of participating retailers in the rebate form. Participating retailers should have the form listed on their product pages for participating cards. Here is one PDF rebate form through Ritz Camera.

Memory Cards Participating in this promotion
Be sure to check the rebate form for the complete list including model numbers of participating memory cards. Here is a quick summary here:
  • Sandisk Extreme III SD 2gb, 4gb, 8gb
  • Sandisk Extreme III CF 2gb, 4gb, 8gb, 16gb
  • Sandisk Extreme IV CF 4gb, 8gb, 2gb+reader, 4gb+reader
  • Sandisk Extreme Ducati CF 4gb, 8gb
  • Sandisk Extreme Ducati SD Plus 4gb

This is a Buy More, Get More promotion
This is one of the promotions where the more you buy, the more you save. Generally buying two items saves you more than if you had bought one, and buying three saves you more than if you had bought two or one. The savings end at three.

Read the instructions, follow the instructions, copy everything
This is a must. Also make copies of everything you submit, including the envelope you mail the rebates in, in case they claim that you "used the wrong address". Also be sure to track the process.

Be prepared to make noise
If you believe that the rebate processor is unfairly stalling or making up excuses, be prepared to make noise. Usually the mention of the Consumerist, your and their local State Attorney General's office, Consumer Reports, Better Business Bureau, local newspaper or TV stations consumer hotlines, and things like that can snap them out of their excuses. If not, do make some noise!

You Don't Get a Check - you get a preloaded Visa card
You can use it to buy stuff everywhere Visa is accepted but you cannot deposit it in your bank account like a check. Obviously it's not as flexible as a cold soft check, but if you spend money on a daily basis, a prepaid Visa card can be very helpful :)

Rebates are not for everyone
If you already got frustrated, annoyed or angry just by reading this post, rebates are probably not for you. Spare yourself the frustration and don't use them!


Steve H. said...

I bought a bunch of the 8GB Extreme III SD chips (I believe from Adorama) and got the rebate back in the form a debit card with 2-3 weeks. (Note that they're debit cards, not real credit cards.) The store had a nice deal whereby I could've gotten a check instead of a card, along with an extra 10% if the check was spent at their site.

I should've gone for the check... When I tried to activate the debit card (issued by Young America, a rebate processor), it refused to allow me to register/activate it...claiming that it was invalid or already in use. (Possibly someone has creacked their web-site, since their CAPTCHA isn't very sophisticated...)

I haven't had the time to call them to threaten their legal hides about it, so I don't know how well they'll resolve the issue.

Thus, beware of falling for the debit card scam. Go for the check, if they offer one.

1001 noisy cameras said...

Thanks for the comments!

Did you try calling them or activating the card by phone (if it has such an option)? Sometimes they may have different groups running different departments, and some may be more efficient (or less inefficient) than others.

If you have contacted them and they are not responding accordingly, may be a good place to raise awareness.