Cyber Monday is coming! Followed by billions in online shopping! That mean’s that there are amazing deals to be had online – and I’m all about the deals!
But you know what makes the deals even sweeter? Using a service like Ebates, which gives you cash back for purchases you make online. However, a lot of people think that Ebates is a scam, which is sad (cuz it’s not and it’s a great way to earn rebates on your regular shopping). For example, last week, Nordstrom was giving 10% back via Ebates. If you’re going to spend $100 (which is really easy to do at Nordstrom), you might as well get that $10 back!
But there are simple mistakes that you can be making that will NOT get you your Ebates rebate.
So, let’s prevent some user error going into this holiday and look at the three ways that can prevent you from earning your Ebates rebate.
1. You Must Use Ebates
Look, Ebates is not a scam, but in order to get them to pay your rebate, you must go through their site. Purchases you make at Ebates stores are only credited if you start your shopping session at Ebates.com or another Ebates service (like the Ebates toolbar) and click to a store via an Ebates link.
Basically, if you don’t click through the link on their site (when you’re logged in of course), they have no way of proving you are a member to the store without your click.
2. Leaving Half-Way Through A Purchase
The second biggest mistake that happens, which makes people think Ebates is a scam, is to leave half-way through the purchase, then come back to the site and checkout. This commonly happens when you want to price compare or check out another item. Let’s say you start your purchase on Kohls.com, but want to check something at Sears.com. If you come back to Kohls, your Ebates history is gone, and you won’t receive your rebate.
Instead, you need to go back to Ebates.com, login again, and then go to Kohls.com again.
3. Using Multiple Browser Tabs Or Windows
Next, a lot of people tend to browse with multiple tabs or browser windows open. However, if you’re not careful, this can cause you to miss out on your Ebates rebate. If you use multiple windows on your browser, the window in which you shop at the store must have come from an Ebates link.
So, to make things simple, when you’re doing your online shopping this holiday season, just use one browser window so that no confusion happens!
4. Read The Disclaimers
Look, the at every site there are a bunch of disclaimers that highlight what you can and can’t buy to qualify for a rebate. While virtually all product purchases at the stores are eligible for cash back, there are a limited number of products that do not qualify for cash back.
Ebates keeps an up-to-date list of the exclusions, which you can find here: Ebates Exclusions. For the most part, gift cards are pretty much excluded at every store. Some stores even prohibit the rebate if you pay with a gift card, not just buy one.
For example, here is WalMart.com’s Exclusion list:
Cash back is not available on Cellular Purchases, prepaid phone cards (including Straight Talk), Purchases from Sam’s Club and Samsclub.com, Pharmacy, Travel, Financial Services, tires, optical, Wal-Mart Connect Internet Service, Gift Cards, and Online Gift Cards. Cash Back is not available on orders deemed by Walmart to be for reselling purposes.
Don’t Be Discouraged – Save Money For Free
Look, Ebates has some drawbacks, and some people feel scammed by them. But for 99% of buyers, that’s not the case. In fact, Ebates is a really great way to save money for things that you’d be buying anyway. Why not get a rebate?
Check out what Ebates has to offer this holiday season here: Ebates.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.