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The Great Rebate Runaround

Consumers hate the hassles and hoops. Companies love them unredeemed. Now regulators are wading in

By Brian Grow

Ah, the holiday shopping season: Santa Claus, reindeer -- and rebate hell. Those annoying mail-in offers are everywhere these days. Shoppers hate collecting all the paperwork, filling out the forms, and mailing it all in to claim their $10 or $100. But no matter how annoying rebates are for consumers, the country's retailers and manufacturers love them.