Sunday, March 11, 2007

States getting fed up with rebates

Most of the action to regulate rebates has been done by the Federal Trade Commission, but a few states have enacted their own rules. The most recent to join the parade (if pending bills are enacted) are Florida and Georgia.
A bill filed in the Florida Legislature would give companies 15 working days to make good on a rebate after getting the request from a consumer. In the Georgia General Assembly, a similar bill would allow 30 days from the date a mail-in request is postmarked.
Fifteen days would be a real strain for many manufacturers and their program administrators.

"There are a lot of people who apply for a rebate and eight weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks go by," said Russell Cyphers, legislative assistant to Florida state Sen. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge.

Posey's bill said if the company needs more information to fulfill the request, the rebate offerer must tell the consumer by certified mail within three days about what's lacking. Cyphers said that puts the onus on the company instead of forcing consumers to follow up with time-consuming inquiries.

I think this bill probably goes too far, but it's hard to work up a lot of sympathy for a business that has created so much ill-will -- the many manufacturers who sit on claims for months for cash-flow reasons have created a backlash.

If too many states enact conflicting regulations, it will make things extremely difficult for manufacturers trying to offer rebates -- especially through national retailers.

No comments: