Centsible Saver

What to do when your mail-in rebate is rejected

Mail-in rebates are a great way to reap extra savings on your grocery budget -- especially on items for which coupons are rarely issued such as meat and produce.

But what happens when you get a rejection post card in the mail instead of the anticipated $10 or $20 check?

Here are a few tips to ensure you get your rebate cash:

*Read the fine print. And I do mean fine. If you’re over 50, as I am, you might need a magnifying glass.

*Pay attention to detail. If the rebate requires that you spend $10 on produce, you need to spend the full $10 -- before taxes. If the rebate specifies using only one receipt, then be sure to purchase all your qualifying items in one shopping trip.

*In the case of grocery rebates sponsored by beer and wine companies, North Carolina residents do NOT have to purchase the alcohol to qualify for the rebate.

*Once you have your rebate form filled out, your receipts assembled and your envelope addressed, make a copy of your submission. In the old days, I used to photocopy the rebates, but now I take photos of them on my smartphone. It’s a lot less of a hassle and saves on paper and ink. (Be sure to take a picture of the front and back of the rebate form.)

*If you do get rejected, call immediately. Most, if not all, companies will provide a phone number to inquire about rejections. I recently received three rebate rejections in three days. When I politely mentioned I had photographed my submissions, the customer service representatives apologized and approved my rebate checks.

In four to six weeks, I’ll have $32.50 in my pocket.