I bought a Motorola Surfboard SB5120 cable modem from Circuit City at the end of January. Two manufacturer $20 rebates over-lapped by 3 days, so I got the benefit of both of them for a total bottom-line price for the modem being $46 incl tax. It has been working well, and it's running cool, so I think it'll last many years. Now I'm wondering why Motorola decided to clear these out and what it has lined up for its next cable modem release. Anybody out there know? Maybe a VOIP feature?
It's not clear they are being "cleared out". The 5120 still appears to be Moto's primary modem.
I'm curious about your rebates. I see store rebates from Circuit City, etc., but no manufacturer's rebate. Is there one in effect now? If so, I would like to buy the modem at Wal-Mart and then apply for the manufacturer's rebate.
The overlap was actually for 7 days in late January. One ended on 1/28/06, and the other ended 1/31/06. They were both listed on the Circuit City website, and they looked identical until you looked at the dates of validity. There appears to be one $20 rebate in effect right now that brings the price down to $60.
Yes, but that rebate appears to be a Circuit City rebate, not a Motorola rebate. Am I wrong about that?
I was hoping to buy the modem at Wal-Mart at their regular price of $60, and then do a $20 Motorola rebate to bring the price down to $40. But I see nothing about rebates on the Motorola website, so I guess there isn't one in effect right now.
Circuit City calls them "MIRs", which I assume means something like "manufacture's incentive rebate". It's handled by a 3rd party rebate company, and for all I know it's a deal worked out between Circuit City and Motorola. I heard about it in late January right here in this newsgroup, and I jumped on it. I still think Motorola is clearing stock in preparation for a new product inroduction this Spring, but of course, that's usually the case for all products.
MIR is retail jargon for "Mail In Rebate" (vs. and IR, or "Instant Rebate".)
When was the last time you saw a MIR handled by anything other than an outsourcer who specializes in rebate fulfillment? No one does rebates in house anymore. Iomega tried it with a Zip drive rebate in the late '90s, and the problems they had trying to do it themselves cost them a bundle.
Even if the address you send the rebate to has the retailer's or manufacturer's name in it, if you actually checked where it goes, you'd find it winds up at one of the facilities of a rebate outsourcer.
It could be. It could also be that one or more of the cable internet providers are contributing as well. It's getting harder and harder to tell who's financing the rebates.
The problem with this theory is I can't recall a time that there weren't rebates on these modems. I work with a retailer that has a POS that prints out any rebate forms for which a customer is eligible for, and the Motorola SurfBoard modems have always had at least one, and sometimes as many as three rebates associated with the product. The number of weeks in the last few years that the Linksys wireless routers didn't have rebates could be counted on one hand, too.
I want to make it clear that I hate MIR's. IR's are fine. As a customer, and IR is nothing more than a sale. But the difference is very important to retail sales people who get commissions. If the store were to simply put the item on sale, the sales person would earn their commission on the sale price. But if they call it an IR instead, the sales person earns their commission on the full price before the IR. So using an IR instead of a sale, the retailer gets the benefit of the customers seeing that they pay a lower price out the door (just like a sale), but they don't under-cut the incentive to sell the item that the salesperson earns.
Manufactures sponsor rebates in order to move more product out the retailer's door so the retailer will buy new stock. Retailers sponsor rebates when they have enough of a gross margin on a product that they can reduce their revenue, while still paying full commission and/or if there are other extremely high margin add-ons that get sold with a product. For example, even though the Surfboard modems and Linksys routers each have an Ethernet cable included, it's a short cable, and it's only one cable. That
25' Ethernet cable that you're paying $16 for probably has a wholesale cost to the retailer of less than $2. People also buy NIC's that don't have rebates when they buy routers and cable modems, too.
As for overlapping rebates, be careful. Read the terms carefully. If both require the barcode from the box, and won't accept a copy, you won't be able to use both rebates. Also the terms of a rebate may specify that they can't be used in combination with any other rebate offer. And, while a little less common, the rebate might only be for a very specific variation of a model of something, and the only real variation is that the box has a different barcode than other identical products.
Also, especially when buying a cable modem, make sure to note if the rebate is only available for new accounts. Keep in mind that the new account doesn't just mean it's young in age. It likely means you need to sign-up through the retailer who's advertising the rebate. The retailer gets a residual on accounts they sell, and the salesperson gets a spiff, and probably a ring-credit, too. (A spiff is a special incentive. For example, they may get $10 to sign you up. A ring-credit is how much is added to their daily sales figures that their commission is calculated from. While you may not put a cent in the retailer's till for the new service, it may ring-up as, for example, a $300 sale for the salesperson.)
And I still have to say that even after learning more about all the behind the scene stuff about rebates, I still hate MIR's, and I still won't consider them when making a purchase decision, and I have done what I could to make sure the retailers I work with have heard my opinion, which I know is shared by many consumers. And I think that the message is being heard, and MIR's are being replaced by IR's whenever possible. (But manufactures and retailers both still like MIR's because of the mailing lists they generate on the back end, too.)
I live in a state that has no sales tax. The state will get it's money one way or another, but it is nice to not have to remember about sales tax whenever looking at the price of something. If I only have a dollar in my pocket, I can order off the 99-cent menu, and still get change. ;)