I am impressed - Staples Easy Rebates is a web application from a retail outfit that works and is not overly flashy. Not to mention a really good idea.

It is tax-time again and I needed to buy tax software. Pretty much everyone is offering mail-in rebates.

I hate mail-in rebates. The one time I tried claiming a mail-in rebate was just too much of a hassle to be worth the partial amount that came back. Staples makes rebates really “easy”. Where you see this button - untitled - on their site, you can skip the “mail-in” part and claim your rebate over the web.

Not only that - the web application they use to process the rebates is quite well done. The web interface is easy to use. They send an immediate follow-up email, and a progress notice the next day. None of this is exotic - just seldom done as well.

I will bet the suppliers are a lot less enthused. They make money when rebates are seldom claimed, so “easy” rebate processing means more money going back to customers.

Update 2/21/2005 – the rebates showed up in today’s mail. Guess this really works :).

untitled Once I’d sent in my taxes, Quicken made it easy to take a look at where my money has gone in the past year. Pretty straightforward story - I pay taxes, own a house (in over-priced southern California), and am divorced with three kids. That accounts for pretty much everything :( .