Computer rebates are a very popular sales gimmick being pushed in recent years, especially by the computer superstores (who shall remain nameless, so E2 can avoid litigation).

Computer rebates involve several variations from your run-of-the-mill rebate:

  1. Some involve buying several components, such as a particular computer, monitor, and printer. Often the printer is crappy.
  2. Some involve committing to a internet service provider (ISP) contract for one, two or even three years, at a cost of anywhere from $20(US) per month or higher.

Here are the gotchas:

  • If you decide to go with the ISP deal, you are basically financing your computer via the ISP. If you do the math, you will often find that you are financing an amount that is much higher than the original cost of the computer. Some would say this is okay because you are getting internet service, but often the service is overpriced compared to other ISP rates.
  • You will have to be careful in order to get your rebate:
    • There are tight deadlines on getting in the rebate paperwork. Some are as tight as two weeks.
    • Although the store often prints the forms now for you, you will still have to go get the original receipt copied if you forget to ask for multiple copies, or if the store refuses.
    • You will need to make sure, in your excitement of having a new computer, that you do not discard the packaging that contains the UPC or serial numbers.

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