Retailers Woo Consumers With Rebate-Related Deals

"GMA" financial contributor Wendy Bounds reviews retailers' rebate check deals.

ByABC News via GMA logo
April 27, 2008, 2:57 PM

April 28, 2008 — -- Today is payday for some taxpayers as the IRS begins distributing the first of more than 800,000 electronic payments to those filers who qualified for the government's economic stimulus package, or a rebate. Click here to see the IRS FAQs on the stimulus package.

In total, the government expects 130 million low and middle income taxpayers will receive a rebate check, and close to 8 million will receive their money this week. Retailers are already finding ways to woo the money out of taxpayers' bank accounts and into their own pockets.

Some grocery stores have set up programs where consumers will be able to trade in their rebate checks for store gifts cards. But before you shell out your money, "Good Morning America" financial contributor Wendy Bounds helps you separate the deals from the duds.

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Many retailers are offering a 10 percent bump if you trade your stimulus check for gift cards to be spent only in their stores. For example, if you receive a $300 rebate check, you can get $330 in gift cards from the retailers. This way, you've committed to spend your entire check in their stores, and linking the rebates to gift cards is a smart tactic because shoppers usually spend more than the value of the cards when they use one.

Most retailers want you to bring in your rebate check and they'll exchange it for gift cards on the spot.

This first wave of rebate checks is being direct deposited and you'll receive your rebate the same way you requested when you filed your taxes. So, you won't have a physical check to bring in. Many retailers want you to bring in a bank statement to prove you received the rebate check.

However, some retailers are so eager to get you into their stores, they will give you these deals even if you don't have a check or a statement, or even if you're not getting a rebate. They just want your business. Some stores are linking deals to the stimulus package in their advertising, but don't really have any tie to the rebate checks. For example, Restoration Hardware has an "economic stimulus voucher" for $100 off any purchase of $750 or more or the option of getting a no-interest/no-payment credit card with a $750 purchase.