April 02, 2005

Best Buy to End Rebates

After giving disappointing financial guidance which killed their stock, Best Buy also announced it will phase out mail-in rebates over the next two years. Instead the company will focus on its rewards program, which forces customers to pay an annual fee to earn points toward future discounts.

I have a sinking feeling this is not a good sign for us bargain hunters. Rebates were awesome in getting products for $0-10 for us enterprising folk who actually didn't mind filling out the forms. Without rebates and the roughly half of people that never filled out the forms, I doubt we'll see deals like that again.

The rebates will be phased out over the next two years to give vendors time to adjust, Jackson said. He said Best Buy is still looking at how to get rid of the mail-in rebates without putting itself at a disadvantage with competitors who might still use them. Some vendors, such as tax software makers, have used rebates extensively. Jackson said others vendors have struggled to fit rebates into their business models. "I think if we're quiet for a minute, we can hear them cheering," he said.