Ebates Review: Is it A Scam or A Legit Way To Get Paid To Shop Online?
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Update: EBates rebranded to Rakuten after merging businesses in 2014. Rakuten, Inc.; a Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing company based in Tokyo acquired EBates in a $1Billion takeover deal. They just recently completed the rebranding process. But don't worry; besides the name change, the cashback and rewards company still operates the same way as before.
I wouldn't consider myself a big shopper. But when I do shop, I tend to do most of it online because I want to find the best deals. Furthermore since I don't really like dealing with people, shopping online helps me avoid pesky things called human beings. So I'm a big fan of sites like Amazon because of this. Now imagine if you could actually get paid for shopping online? Well apparently you can and you'll learn how in my Ebates Review below. It's not perfect but I think you'll still like it!
What is Ebates?
Ebates is a website that offers its members the opportunity to earn cash back from their online purchases. ebates.com is the official website and it was started back in 1998 by two Deputy District Attorneys in Silicon Valley. Not what you'd expect but what's interesting is that these two attorneys used to prosecute online fraud and identity theft, before they started Ebates. So you should feel safe doing business with Ebates. But check this out. In 2014, Rakuten, Japan's largest e-commerce firm acquired Ebates for a staggering $1 billion cash! Ka-ching, ka-ching! Those attorneys are sitting pretty, that's for sure.
How does Ebates Work?
Ebates is managed as an affiliate marketing site, which has over 2,000 affiliate stores, including Ebay, Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, just to name a few. These stores pay Ebates a commission for sending customers their way and in turn, Ebates shares some of this money with their members for using their affiliate links to these stores to shop. So think of Ebates as the ‘middle man' between you and your favorite online store.
So instead of going directly to your favorite online store, you go to Ebates.com, find your online store, make your purchase and you'll get cash back. It's that simple. You earn cash back on your net purchase amount, and you can use in-store coupons as well. However, specific cash back amounts vary by store and product category.
What are the Ebates Stores?
As we mentioned above, ebates is just a middle man to you favorite stores. You don't actually buy from them. You just visit their site first and click on their affiliate links to your favorite stores. They need you to do this so they can get paid and track who they need to share their money with. That said, there are too many stores to list and they're constantly updating them. But some of the popular ones you may know are as follows:
- Bed Bath and Beyond
- Old Navy
- Dicks (Pause)
- Many more.
If you'd like to see all the latest stores you can click here to visit.
How to earn money with Ebates?
Well, apart from the cash back you receive from your online purchases, you can also earn money referring your friends and family to Ebates. You earn one referral bonus per individual person referred, providing that your referral keeps an active account. That means your referral has to make a qualifying purchase of at least $25 within ninety (90) days of becoming a member.
Another way you can make money with Ebates, is with the Ebates Cash Back Visa Credit Card. With this Visa Card, you can earn an extra 3% cash back when you use it to make your purchase, as well as an additional 1% if you also use it where Visa is accepted. Hey, and this credit card is absolutely free; no annual fee or anything. But you need to have a good credit score to apply for it.
How Do I Get Paid by Ebates.com?
Ebates sends you cash on a quarterly basis and offers three ways in which you can receive payment. Once your balance exceeds $5.00, payment options include them sending you a check to the address you have on file; depositing your payment in your PayPal account; or they can send your check to an individual of your choice, even your favorite charity.
How to Join Ebates?
Ebates.com is totally free to join. On the sign up page, select your sign up bonus; you have a choice between a $10 Walmart Gift Card and a $10 Ebates cash bonus at the time of this review. It may change by the time you read this. Step 2 is the sign up process. You can sign up with your Facebook or Google account, or you can use your email address and a password. Once you've entered your information, simply confirm that you are not a robot then hit the “Join” button and you're good to go. Anyone can join, even if you live outside of the U.S. or Canada; just make sure the store you're purchasing from, ships to where you are. Of course, members must be 18 years and older. If however, you are looking for more than a cash back every quarter, then you might want to consider my Top Free Work At Home Recommendation.
Ebates Hacks and Tips
Use the cash back button
The cash back button lets you know the items associated with the cash back, as well as the percentage being offered. So it can save you some time looking for cash back items. On checking out, it will also allow you to add associated promo codes.
Complete your purchase in the same shopping session
To earn cash back, complete your purchase during the same shopping session you start after clicking on the Ebates link. If you visit other sites before completing your purchase, your purchase might not be associated with Ebates. In such a case, you won't earn any cash back. Bummer.
Don't disable ‘cookies' on your computer
Cookies are used to authenticate the user and to make sure that cash back is assigned to your account. So if you disable cookies, you won't be able to earn your cash back on your purchases.
If you can, you may want to consider using PayPal as a payment option. Sometimes things can and do get lost in the mail, you know, and you don't want your quarterly check being one of those things now do you?
Ebates Complaints and Concerns
On the internet there is never a dull day when it comes to people complaining. As with anything else in life, some people will either like, love, or hate ebates. While more people report having success with Ebates, there are some who, well, let's just say, don't have as much success. So let's just check out some of the complaints associated with this opportunity.
Cancelled cash back
What? Yep. If the Affiliate store neglects to report a transaction or withholds affiliate payment to Ebates, Ebates reserves the right to cancel the cash back associated with that transaction. Translation? In a nut shell, your cash back is cancelled.
Oops. This is one of the more common complaints about Ebates. Payments are quarterly, and some people fall through the cracks, for one reason or another. It can certainly be disappointing missing out on your payment, when you've met the requirements and you really should have been paid. I feel your pain.
I thought you said 5% cash back?
Just because you see “up to 5% cash back,” that does not mean that you are going to actually get 5% back on your purchase. It's like when the car dealership says “up to 20% cash back!” There are conditions to satisfy to actually get that entire 20% back. It's no different with Ebates. You just have to know what those conditions are.
You know what they say about assuming…
Don't assume that every purchase you make within an Ebates affiliate store will count towards a cash back. If your transactions do not meet the cask back criteria, they will automatically be wiped from your account.
More Ebates Complaints…
Large purchases doesn't mean more money…
So check this out, ” there is a maximum of $50 cash back may be earned on any single purchase.” So if you thought purchasing a big ticket item like a mattress would earn you hundreds or thousands back you can forget about it. There is a cap of $50 per single purchase.
I never received cash back or the sign up bonus
Yep, there have been a few complaints about this as well. To be sent a gift card bonus, you need to have a valid U.S. or Canadian address. Even so, gift cards can take up to 4 weeks to be mailed, after you qualify; making that minimum purchase of $25 within the first 90 days of joining. So you need to play the waiting game here.
The customer service used to be so good
“I have sent at least three emails about friend referrals and why my account is reading $0, and I've had absolutely no response. I feel like I don't even exist to them.” Sounds familiar? There have been a number of complaints regarding customer service and we all know that not getting the customer service when you need it the most, can be frustrating, to say the least.
If you were looking at ebates as a way to make money on a regularly weekly or monthly schedule, you can forget about it! Because ebates is paid by affiliate networks there can a be a lag of 30+ days before they get paid. So that means you have to wait on that. So they have 90 day waiting period which I understand from their point of view. But it sucks if you want to see that money sooner.
So Is Ebates Legitimate or a Scam?
Ebates is absolutely legitimate. Despite the complaints, they've received an A+ rating with the BBB, so that may count for something for some of you. If you are a regular online shopper, it just might make perfect sense for you to use Ebates. Why not get some cash back for shopping online? Now, it might be tempting to you to join, as it seems like a really cool opportunity, but if you are not a regular online shopper, don't simply join and spend a bunch of money just to get some cash back. The math may not add up.
Furthermore you can't really use ebates as a way to earn consistent regular income. For that you may want to check out my Top Free Work At Home Recommendation and my Work At Home Courses. With multiple streams of income, you can earn way more than quarterly cash back.
So that's it from me. As always, I hope this was helpful to you and I look forward to hearing from you. What's your experience with ebates?
Feel free to chime in below. Until next time,
Eddy with a y