Here’s a good article about the rebate game. Whether you believe in rebates or disdain them, never forget that they don’t want you to get them. The process is intentionally difficult and fraught with error, and you don’t stand a chance if you treat it casually. If you don’t have the patience to take rebates seriously, then don’t consider them when you evaluate prices.
An interesting insight from the article: “Here’s a rough breakdown of how rebates work in most situations. The manufacturer works with a company that specializes in administering rebates. The manufacturer figures out how many more products it could sell by advertising a good rebate, then pays the rebate company a set amount of money to handle the rebates. It’s in the rebate company’s best interests to give away less money than it’s getting paid. That’s why they make rebates so hard to apply for.”