02/10/2005: The mail-in rebate scam
Somewhat surprisingly, conservative economist Arnold Kling is outraged by the mail-in rebate scams pulled by CompUSA and other technology retailers, and does not attempt to justify the practice by pointing out that it's a means of doing price discrimination, which according to classical microeconomics is a Good Thing. Even more surprisingly, Kevin Drum explains the economic rationale behind the scam.
Having been recently burned by rebate offers from Best Buy and Cingular, I've made the following resolution, which I'm sure will make Mr. Kling happy: I will never again buy a product that includes a mail-in rebate as a part of the offer.
We'll see how long my resolution lasts. I've got a pretty good track record. I'm very close to going back on my 1997 pledge to never give another dime to the Evil Cable Monopoly, TimeWarner, because I'm so disgusted with Earthlink DSL right now, and I've heard BellSouth is even worse. And I may go back on my 1999 pledge to never give another dime to George Lucas by buying a Darth Tater toy.
Brock on 02.10.05 @ 06:04 PM CST