Ebates.com Review: Get Paid for Shopping Onlne

Review of: Ebates.com
Shopping Rewards:
$5 Bonus

Reviewed by:
On July 24, 2006
Last modified:September 9, 2012


Ebates.com lets you earn rebates when shopping through their online portal. Rebates are paid as cash, either via Paypal or check. Once you become a member of Ebates.com, you can earn extra bonus by referring your friends to the website.

My Ebates.com account was created nearly three years ago. However, I haven’t used it for a while (for more than two years) until recently I re-discovered this site and decided to use it whenever possible. I already spent the money, why not get some back?

So early last month, I opened two Sharebuilder.com accounts, one for myself and one for my wife, all through my Ebates account. The reward from Ebates is worth $20, meanwhile, there are $50 promotions from Sharebuilder as well. That made the total free money to $70.

So I went ahead and opened the two accounts and was patiently waiting for my cashbacks from Ebates and Sharebuilder for a month. After making an initial deposit and a stock purchase at Sharebuilder, the $100 promotion reward from Sharebuilder finally got into my pocket last Monday. Then, there came the fight with Ebates.

It’s a long story, so read on.

After the 30-day period has passed and no sign the Ebates cashbacks will appear in my account any time soon, I contacted Ebates, asking about the status of my cashbacks while providing the Sharebuilder account numbers on July 7th. Ten days later, I was notified that my acount has been credited. Indeed, but only one $20 cashback. Where was my other cashback?

When I questioned Ebates the cashback, I got a reply saying:

We do apologize for this misunderstanding. However ShareBuilder $20.00 cash-back offer is only a one time offer. Since you have already been credited for a ShareBuilder purchase you are ineligible to receive cash-back from this merchant.

Where’s the misunderstanding? When I opened the accounts, there was no condition whatsoever about the “one time offer.” I then challenged them to give me the exact like to the “one time offer” condition. I am 100% sure I followed the rules. To prove what I said was true, I even made a copy of the Sharebuilder offer from Ebates. Well, later on, it turned out this copy indeed saved my cashbacks.

From another CSR, Ebates reiterated the claim they made in the last email:

Please note that only one Ebates account can earn cash back from a sharebuilder.com purchase. You may review our FAQ page for more information. Unfortunately, sharebuilder.com does not issue cash back on multiple accounts created by a link from one Ebates account. This is part of our Affiliate Agreement with Sharebuilder.com.

We apologize for any confusion and appreciate your understanding.

They again failed to provide the link and there was nothing in the FAQ regarding the Sharebuilder offer. I hope they knew what they were talking about before they talked. On July 18th, one day after I demanded the exact terms on Sharebuilder, I was directed to the Sharebuilder offer page on Ebates website. However, this was not the one I saw a month ago when I opened the account, not even the one I copyed 24 hours ago. The new page reads the following:

The difference? One line was added:

(Only new paid Sharebuilder members will receive the one time rebate.)

Now they really tried to make things happen, in the wrong way though. And this was not the end of it.

Outraged by their little play, I sent back the two screens I saved and demanded an explaination of what happened on their website and this time my message got into the hands of a manager. In the reply, I was asked to provided the confirmation emails from Sharebuilder after the accounts were opened and proofs that the accounts were both funded, which I have provided already. Added a little twist to the problem they were dealing now, the manager accused me of having two Ebates accounts, in the first apparent attempt to deny me:

Please let me know the email address you use for your two Ebates accounts. Also, please let me know why you would need two Ebates accounts, and two ShareBuilder accounts. Currently, Ebates does not allow any member to have two Ebates accounts.

I don’t know where this impression was coming from, but it was absolutely not true. Rejecting the manager’s claim, I told Ebates there is always one account. The manager then said

We are currently investigating with ShareBuilder to find out why Ebates did not earn commission for either of your registrations with ShareBuilder.

After two days of silence, during which I assumed they were really doing the investigation, the manager brought up a new issue:

Can you please let me know the amount that was funded into each of these ShareBuilder accounts that did not earn Ebates cash-back?

What they were doing? Why should they care how much I made the initial deposit if Sharebuilder didn’t care? Were they trying to come up with a new excuses?

Well, since they asked, so I told them I deposited $5 into both accounts, which caused absolutely no problem with Sharebuilder. What really shocked me throughout this event was the reply from manager following my latest email:

Thank you for your reply. I think we now understand this issue. ShareBuilder does not consider any new account “funded” unless at least $20.00 is added upon activation. Therefore, neither of the two Share Builder accounts that you started qualified for Ebates to earn commission. We are glad to leave the $20.00 credit that Thomas gave you in your Ebates account, however, the other Share Builder registration will not qualify to earn cash-back in our program. We are very sorry for any misunderstanding.

Thank you for using Ebates every time you shop online.

Meanwhile, the Ebates website was updated to

with the new addition:

(One time only. Requires new ShareBuilder account to be initially funded with at least $20.00)

You can never underestimate the creativity of a sales person! In the matter of 3 days, Ebates manipulated their website twice, desperately trying to deny the cashbacks I deserved. Not just that, all of sudden, I became the bad guy try to steal 20 bucks from them, and they were doing me a favor by giving me $20!

I shook my head in debelief of they said. How could they be so dishonest? Where is the integrity of doing business?

In my furious reply, I attached all three screen copies and threated to use them, together with the emails exchanged, as evidence for further action against them if I didn’t get two $20 cashbacks and let everybody shoppes online knew what they did in the past three days.

In the end, Ebates backed off:

Thank you for your reply. We certainly understand your point. It turns out that we did not know the rules for the ShareBuilder offer prior to your complaint. Based on your emails to us, we were able to find this information out during our investigation. Due to these discoveries, we have been updating the rules on our site over the course of the past few days. In all cases, if Ebates does not earn any commission then we have no funds to pass along to you as cash-back. However, we do value you as an Ebates shopper, and today I have added another $20.00 to your Ebates account.

Looks like I might just help them fixed a loophole as well.

Lessons I learned from this incident:

  • Sometimes, you just have to fight for your right;
  • Always keep the evidences.
Ebates.com lets you earn rebates when shopping through their online portal. Rebates are paid as cash, either via Paypal or check. Once you become a member of Ebates.com, you can earn extra bonus by referring your friends to the website.

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