Computer rebates: deal of the century or simply monkey business?

Computer Business - The computer business has become increasingly competitive over the past 10 years, with a larger number of available suppliers and a consumer base that is much more savvy than in previous decades. Consumers are more knowledgeable about what they need and how much they are willing to spend to get it. The Internet has made it easier to comparison shop, making it easier for customers to ensure they are getting the best deal available on their technology purchases.

There are also more avenues available to the public for purchasing computers and computer accessories. There are major retail chains like CompUSA and Best Buy, small neighborhood tech shops, online-only stores, mail order, even auction sites like eBay and uBid have gotten into the game.

When purchasing a new computer, there are several factors to take into consideration, aside from brand and price. First of all, what will you be using the system for? A computer system that is primarily used for word processing and homework will have vastly different requirements from a machine whose primary purpose is, for example, Internet gaming. The latter will require more memory, a sound system, high-speed modem, and a state-of-the-art video card. Similarly, a system built for a graphic artist is likely to have a large screen monitor with excellent resolution, and enough memory to enable the user to run multiple applications simultaneously.

Once you determine the features that are most important to you in your new system, take a look at the sale ads to see if any of the advertised specials meet your needs. Beware, however, of systems, which are sold with numerous rebates in order to bring the final price within your range. These rebates are often time-consuming and difficult to apply for, and it’s easy to get your rebate request denied for stupid reasons.

For example, I live in a rural mountain area, which doesn’t have US Postal delivery other than to the central post office. 9 times out of 10, my rebate requests are rejected due to my using a PO Box, and even when I call in to explain the situation it doesn’t always solve the issue. I am still peeved by the handling of my rebate request by the purchase of my last video card, for which I have yet to see my rebate, despite multiple telephone calls and two letters to corporate (neither of which were responded to).

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