In recent years, cashback sites and systems have become one of the most common ways of moneysaving. RebateKey swims in the ocean of such websites. What singles them out is that they offer deals up to 100% off after rebate. Should you believe them? We’ve decided to take an in-depth look and dig out all the dirt before we recommend you to try it – or run away screaming.
Before we dive in, what’s the gist of their business model? In a nutshell, RebateKey gets a commission from their partners for advertising their deals and sending shoppers their way. You, as a buyer, get some of your cash back for buying stuff through their links. And the retailers get exposure. (Considering that they are typically new, non-established sellers on Amazon, they certainly need it.) And so everyone seems to be a winner here. Here’s their short introductory video.
Behind the Scene – Company Overview
They do, however, have social media presence – and very active at that. Their Facebook page has over 20,000 followers who have awarded them an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. That’s pretty darn impressive considering that social media users aren’t very easy to please. They are not very active on Instagram but still have over 45,000 followers.
Their Better Business Bureau entry shows a pitiable one star average rating, coming from a single user review. There’s no accreditation either, but that doesn’t have to mean anything.
By combing through Google some more, I also found this news article about the panel. Even if it’s sponsored by RebateKey (as I assume), there is still some interesting info about the company and its founder, who has been a long-time Amazon seller. In just over two years, their users have got over $20 million in rebates. This may or may not be true, but that’s what they claim. And we have no reason not to believe them.
How Does It Work?
The signup process is pretty straightforward, but is conditioned with a US residency. Immediately after entering your full name and email, they will text you on mobile to confirm that you are a US resident.
You can optionally install a Chrome extension to make the process more seamless. Once you’ve verified your account via phone, it’s time to start browsing through their offers and save some $ (in rare occurrences, even $$). Every offer will be valid for a few days only (which you can see in the upper left corner), or until it sells out. If you miss it, you can set up a notification to let you know as soon as it’s available again. The best deals tend to go away fast, so it’s recommendable to often check back on their offers.
Your dashboard will look like this.
Note, however, that you’ll have to confirm your rebate key (the order number) within one hour after each purchase. The seller is the one who approves your order and triggers the rebate. 35 days later, if you don’t return the product, they will email you a check containing your cashback, and that’s it!
Hear a word of warning though. If you see an appealing offer, don’t go and look for it on your own on Amazon. The only way to get the rebate is to take the offer through the RebateKey URL that you’ll find on their site. A way around it is the Chrome extension, which will integrate with Amazon and highlight the offers that are eligible for rebate.
Types of Offers – How Much Can I Save Here?
As you could see from the screenshot above, there are three types of offers:
If you are interested in getting specific products, you can also browse through a couple dozen categories like appliances, arts & crafts, automotive, baby products, beauty, clothing, electronics, and many more.
In my humble opinion, the best way to take advantage of these deals is to browse by highest discount. You’ll find that option in the upper right corner of your dashboard. Indeed, there will always be a few products at 100% off, getting you some goodies for free! As of this writing, these 100% off deals are mostly dietary and nutritional supplements. But you never know what they might be offering for free, so you should probably keep your eyes peeled most if not all the time.
Note, however, that you’ll still have to pay tax (unless your country doesn’t charge for that type of product) and whatever shipping fees may apply. So, technically, even the 100% off deals won’t be absolutely free. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
How to Earn $40 and Up With RebateKey
Saving money is all very fine, but here’s the best part. You can also earn some money via RebateKey, but only if you shop at least once. When you get your hands on the first check, take a selfie with it and post it on Facebook. You should get a $20 bonus!
But where are the other $20 from our subheading? That will happen if you choose to refer your friends. Their referral system is tiered though, but here’s how it works in a nutshell:
- Grab your referral link and send it to your friends directly or share it on social media. (Referral Program => Copy Affiliate URL.)
- As soon as any of your friends completes their first offer and takes their hands on their rebate, you’ll get $1.
- When they get five rebates, you’ll get $2.
- More than 10 of their rebates will get you $3.
- With over 25 of your friend’s rebates, you’ll make an extra $5.
- If they ever make it to 50 rebates, you’ll get another $9.
That’s up to $20 per person. It’s not a fortune, but it isn’t bad either, especially because you don’t have to do anything. Now, what if you refer 20 of your friends, all of whom are addicted to online shopping? That’s quite a lot of cash that you can earn by just sitting on your bottom.
What We Like About RebateKey
- It’s a 100% legitimate cashback site. Like I explained above, even the freebies shouldn’t raise any red flags. If you ran a new business with a non-established brand, you would be tempted to give away huge discounts and freebies too.
- You can not only save cash, but also earn some! You can get $20 bonus cash for free. All you need to do is take a selfie with a cashback check and post it on their social media.
- There is a referral program that will get you up to $20 after your referee redeems at least 50 offers. But even if they don’t make it to 50, you stand to earn at least $1 after their first rebate.
- They are affiliated with online retail giants, most notable of which are Amazon and Walmart. Who doesn’t shop with these? And some of you may even be members of their loyalty programs, which can bring you even more savings.
- You can buy products at 25% to whopping 100% off (the latter less often, admittedly). That makes this cashback site a quite nice place to save some money. Maybe even a couple hundred bucks each month, if you play smart.
- There are no strings attached to any of the offers. In other words, you don’t have to write a review in exchange for the discount. This behavior is prohibited and unethical, but some other sites still encourage it. So, if any seller ever asks you to write a review, you are absolutely free to refuse it.
What We Don’t Like About RebateKey
- The 35-day wait is a bit too long. Especially if you’re a new user who has yet to gain trust in them.
- Payments via mailed checks are… How can I say it… A bit like the 1990s? Unlike with many other rebate systems like Ebates, which also have PayPal as an option.
- The freebies aren’t really freebies. Like I said above, you’ll still have to pay taxes and shipping. The latter only if you’re not an Amazon Prime member.
- Best deals go out of stock before you say cheese due to the low amount of available items. While it’s absolutely expected, it’s still disappointing.
- There is a limit on the number of deals you can take. Up to five per day, up to 50 per month. I have to say, though, that I wouldn’t normally even count this towards the cons if it were for me only. Plus, I totally get it that the purpose of this limit is to prevent people from buying things just to resell them at a bigger price. But if you are one of the many Amazon shopaholics, it can be a bit of a con.
- Only US residents can avail themselves with these rebates. While it’s pretty expected due to their relationship with retailers, it’s still okay to rant about it!
- No phone support! If you have any questions or, god forbid, complaints, you’ll have to write them a message via contact form on their site. Or rant about it on their Facebook page and hope that someone will answer.
Final Verdict – What Kind of Place Is This?
Just like there are no perfect survey sites, there are no perfect cashback or money-saving sites either. RebateKey is no exception. While it rests on a very alluring concept, in reality you may end up with a bunch of junk you don’t even use.
That is not to say, however, that it’s a bad site to save money and get freebies. Quite the opposite! If you are patient and attentive, you can get some awesome deals. That is, of course, if you only buy stuff you really need. So, if frugal shopping is your cup of tea, feel free to sign up with RebateKey!