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Wealthier people apply for rebates

August 16, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

If you make more money you're more likely to mail in rebate forms that give you cash back on purchases, says Consumer Reports.

The consumer organization's random telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 70% of those surveyed said that they had, at least once, applied for a rebate in the previous 12 months. Of those, 21% said they never got any cash back.

Those who said they often or always use rebates are most commonly between 35 and 64 years old (55%) and are likelier to live in a household with income of $100,000 or more (63%). Those who hadn't applied for a rebate in the previous year are most often adults younger than 35 (35%) and largely live in households making less than $50,000 (38%). The most common reasons for not sending in for a rebate: too many steps in the process (52%), the monetary reward is too small (46%), or the buyer missed the deadline (42%).

Consumer Reports offers some tips on taking advantage of rebate programs:

* Send the application right after a purchase; don't wait until the deadline. That way, if the company says you made a mistake, you can correct it and resend it.

* The check from the company may look like junk mail. Make sure you don't toss it.

* Write down the latest date you would expect to receive your rebate.

The survey was taken in late May. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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