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CU supports rebate reform

March 3, 2006
Senator Liz Figueroa
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 2053
Sacramento, CA 94248
RE: SB 1737 (Figueroa) SUPPORT
Dear Senator Figueroa,
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, is pleased to support SB 1737 on consumer rebates. While some retailers have moved away from rebates, consumers continue to experience delays and difficulties in obtaining rebates. When rebate processing rules or practices make it difficult for consumers to get the promised rebate, the consumer is in essence paying a higher overall price for the goods than what was advertised as the post-rebate price.
The simple and direct consumer protections in SB 1737 respond to real problems that many consumers experience when attempting to obtain their rebates. Some of these protections include:
• Consumers will be guaranteed at least 30 days to submit an application for a rebate;
• Companies must provide the rebate in no more than 60 days;
• Companies cannot require consumers to provide unnecessary information in the rebate application;
• Companies will have to provide consumers with telephone numbers, or web sites for web purchases, to check on the status of rebates; and
• Consumers can use copies of a receipt as proof of purchase to redeem a rebate unless they are given enough original receipts to claim all rebates associated with the transaction.
These protections will help to ensure that Californians receive rebates, rather than runarounds, and the rebates do not serve as a way to advertise a low post-rebate price that is not truly available because the rebate can’t be obtained in a timely fashion.
Gail Hillebrand
Consumers Union