"Rebate Free" Holiday from Dell

With the traditional holiday shopping near, we wanted to share some news with you about our plans. We announced today that we’re simplifying the shopping experience by going “rebate free” across Dimension desktops, Inspiron notebooks and all other products and services that carry the Dell name.

We know rebates can be confusing. We used them ourselves for the past four or five years. Even as we improved the redemption process, it became clear to us that customers didn’t want them. It was confusing to figure out the price for a system when comparison shopping—especially when multiple rebates were offered and subject to change from one week to the next. And for many of you they were a hassle to redeem no matter what we did to make it easier.

We’re swimming against the tide this year. We are removing complicated deals, showing transparent and lower list prices across many price points and product platforms. When you open your new Dell computer system and begin using it at home or in your office, there will be no rebate albatrosses in the room with you.

This is the opposite direction we see many retailers and other computer manufacturers headed. The early trend is to lure shoppers in with absolute rock-bottom prices structured in very complicated ways. One “deal” on a desktop was advertised for $99, but it required three rebates including a cell phone service contract. Even then there were limited quantities in stock. Not our idea of a good deal. Read the fine print before you leave the comfort of your home and search for a parking spot.

You may think we’re hypocritical to point out the complexity of some of the deals. In some cases you are right, that we went down similar paths in the past. I encourage you to move beyond finger-pointing and see what we have to offer. For those of you who follow our business, you will have seen a steady decrease in use of promotions and discounts from dozens per product line to few. Rebate removal is another step. There are more to come—stay with us and stay tuned!

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10 thoughts on “"Rebate Free" Holiday from Dell

  1. Fix the link in your article to “a steady decrease in use of promotions”.  The link is relative and should be absolute.

    I do have a question – one you may not want to answer.  When is the best time to buy a Dell computer during this holiday season?  I don’t care about getting it before Christmas, I just want the best deal.  I’m looking at the E520 or 9200.

    Thanks!  Daniel


  2. The rebate free idea is a great one.  One national retail chain I’m aware of has been moving in this direction as well.  My only concern is that *with* rebates, consumers who really need to, can find excellent and very affordable.. deals, while *without* the rebate schemes (which I hate but occassionally take advantage of), I fear that truly great pricing will slip away over time.

    Dell has tended to lead the pack when it comes to affordability for decent performance. I just hope that once the rebate process is eliminated, we the customers don’t end up losing out on the price breaks that manufacturers often offer through rebates.

    The problem with rebates has always been the complexity built into claiming them, which was designed to make money for the retailer when customers were too lazy to go through the hassle, or the rebate requirements were uneccessarily difficult to meet.

    Dell has been working hard, and noticeably in the recent past, to do things the right way for the consumer.  So, I look forward to this new effort, and direct, uncomplicated pricing. I hope it works out for all of us.

  3. Any chance we Linux users could have a merry Chistmas too, and get the Right PC for Us for a change?

    I mean, the tour around the factory in the little cart was nice, and the purple gorilla is great, but as soon as I mentioned the word Linux, klaxons started to blare, red lights started flashing, the assembly line immediately stopped, and the friendly purple gorilla threw me out on my ear!

  4. I agree that rebates are dificult for some.  Personally, I don’t have any issue with them as I have done thousands of dollars in rebates and never had an issue that a simple phone call couldn’t fix.

    Here’s the problem, when eliminating mail in rebates, prices no longer become competive.  Since mnufactures count on half not submitting rebates, they can advertise the price even lower, but when everyone is getting a savings, the savings isn’t as good as it would be with the rebate.  For example, Best Buy used to offer middle of the road computers for $500, but  since they too have eliminated rebates, the computer regualrly costs about $$650-$700.  I would gladly take the rebates to save the additional $150-$200.  Sometimes they do get close to their old prices but maybe two or three times a year (such as holidays, etc.). Considering the needed boost Dell needs in sales, I would hope that prices still remain competive and perhaps get even lower as we head into the holiday season.

    I know one things for sure…Dell’s cheapest Home Division system with a monitor is $400.  This week on Black Friday, Best Buy will have computers with an LCD for half that price at $200.  Laptop wise, you advertised this week a $500 basic Celeron laptop, well stores will be having them for $250-$300.  The $250 one is actually out-the-door pricing at Best Buy, so I would hope Dell can get prices in that bracket eventually. A couple months back I got a laptop for $400 out the door from my local Best Buy – no hassles – but by Dell not offering systems at that spec level and pricepoint, you guys lost that sale.  I can only think about the hundreds of thousands of computers that wil be sold on Black Friday from stores and not from Dell since you do not offer anything competivly priced in the lower priced bracket.  I hope to see change in Dell’s future as you have demonstrated it was possible in the past.

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that Staples recently got rid of rebates.  Amazon too.  I applaud this as I think it sucks having to junp thru hoops and waid 6-8-10-12 weeks to get my money.  I guess the question is:  Will the prices be slashed just as low as when there was a rebate?  Or, as suggested above, do we just miss out on that discount altogether? 

    Personally, I ignore adds that list prices as ‘after rebate’.  Many times those rebates have so many strings attached – cell phone plans, AOL internet service, short time-frames (must be done by the day after purchase) – or are just so difficult to redeem by the terms being misleading, that it just isn’t worth my time.  I’d rather the deal be done than to be sitting around waiting for a check that *might* come in the mail. 

    Clarity is always good.  Cheers, Dell

  6. I can almost bet the farm that Dell, after stating that its new pricing structure will benifit us all, that it really won’t, and the prices will be slightly higher than what we would normally see with a promotion or coupon.  Bet the Farm on this. 

    As we have seen over the years, the following has happen from Dell :

    1.  30 day return, is now 21 days

    2.  No return stocking fee, now there is one

    3.  Full support with the software, now only the hardware will be supported during the warranty period.

    4.  US support, now Off Shore

    5.  Now this end to the promotions, and coupons coming up.  Unless Dell can give us a firm, out of this world garantee, that this won’t happen, it will happen.  Again.  Bet the farm on this one

  7. I think those that have bought computer hardware and are familiar with the processes it can entail will appreciate the simplicity of doing a buy without the complexity of a rebate.

    Ive read a comment about buying desktops for $200, and laptops for $250.  That sounds like a pretty good deal, but in the same vein, I know of a place where I can buy shoes for $7.  Its not a brand that youll see any pro-athletes wearing, but its a good $7 shoe.  It may not be for everyone though. 

    Having purchased computer hardware myself personally and professionally for the last 19 years or so. I would be the first to agree that rebates are time consuming and usually not resolved as quickly as people might indicate.

    For those of us with enough money to not be concerned about when a $100 or $200 rebate check shows up (if ever), I might argue that the sub-$500 price point might not be the class of PC hardware you really want.

    But for Young enthusiasts and students putting together money from mown lawns, flipped burgers, and babysit children… I think the clarity and simplicity of a no-nonsense, no rebate low cost deal should be greatly appealing, and should be strongly considered.

  8. Agree with the idea to remove rebates/e-coupons. Especially in AP, e-coupons (esp SNP e-coupons ) are not very popular with customers due to the difficulty in applying them at the store. We see drops in revenue when e-coupons are used.

  9. I guess we won’t be completely happy until everything is free.  Remember this, everything that is free or low priced is almost always low quality.  Ex: a $9.00 dollar “Rolex” in Chinatown, NY.  As a long time tech buyer, I consider two things:  Quality products cost money, and, dookie is free. 

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