Who doesn’t like freebies? We all love getting free stuff, right? Can it be real, no catch, no strings attached?
Recently, I saw an ad on Facebook offering free Amazon Products.
Whaaaaat? Really free??? I was curious and decided to check this out.
The ad was from the RebateKey.com website and looked very promising. The comments below suggested that many people use it and enjoy the free items from Amazon.
Hmm, I’m a skeptic, you know. Is Rebate Key a scam, as many others on the web? I looked up for more information: FAQ on their website, online reviews, Amazon seller’s communities and more. Finally, I tried it.
Now I’m almost addicted 🙂 It’s a great feeling to click on the “Buy Now” button, knowing you’ll get all your money back.
In this Rebate Key review, I’m going to share all my findings with you. Read on and decide for yourself whether the ability to get free items from Amazon makes life a bit brighter for you.
Spoiler: you can even MAKE some MONEY on top of getting free stuff. I’ll save it for later in the post, be patient :-).
Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What Is Rebate Key?
RebateKey.com is a website that helps Amazon sellers launch new products or boost the sales of existing ones. The company is based in San Diego, California.
The sellers are interested to push the ranking of their products up and get them to appear on the page’s top when a customer searches for the keyword on Amazon (for example “prenatal vitamins”).
Amazon prefers products with a high volume of full-price sales and good reviews. To eliminate manipulations, Amazon banned paid reviews since 2016, so this is no longer a legitimate option for sellers looking to promote their products.
RebateKey doesn’t require buyers to submit a review. You only need to buy the product for its full price and get the promised rebate by check or PayPal.
Think about the coupons you get by mail. Rebate is just a modern digital way to give a discount (sometimes of 100%) to new customers, as part of the promotion campaign.
The benefit for the sellers is derived from the registered sales volume. In addition, many customers who like the products would leave a review or spread a good word to their friends.
RebateKey handles the process for both sellers and buyers. Let me explain it in more detail.
How Does RebateKey Work?
First of all, let me walk you through the lifecycle of a rebate on RebateKey, so you can understand how it works.
The seller creates a listing
The seller creates a listing on the Rebate Key platform and prepays the amount equal to expected daily rebates and the $2.95 fee per rebate. This way the buyer is fully protected, as the money is already set aside and secured.
The amount of the rebate items released daily for each offer may vary, usually in the 10-20 range.
The buyer looks for offers
There are dozens of listings available on RebateKey.com at any hour. New items come out all the time. The most attractive offers are claimed fast, especially the ones with the full rebate. You have an option to set a notification for the next time the item is released.
Here is a sample from the offers with 100% rebate (the offers change every day):
The buyer makes a purchase on Amazon
When you see a product you like, click on it to get more details. For example, let’s use this BBQ grill brush I’ve bought for my husband, who always spends hours cleaning our heavily-used grill.
The brush was almost free as you can see. The full price on Amazon was $19.95, the savings from Rebate Key are $19.70, making the net cost only $0.25 plus tax.
You can expand the window for full product description. Once you are ready to purchase, click on the “Buy Product” button. It will open the pop-up window with the terms and instructions, like this one below:
Make sure you understand the rules. It’s crucial in order to make the rebate process smooth. After accepting the terms, you’ll be redirected to the product’s page on Amazon.com.
You will have 1 hour to complete the purchase and submit the order number.
Here is my order. Note that the tax was added to the total amount (we’ll talk about tax and shipping costs later on).
The buyer submits the order number
Once the purchase is completed, you should submit the order number to Rebate Key. It’s very easy and convenient as the format is provided in the same open window from where you clicked “Buy Product”.
The rebate amount is deducted from the seller’s account and transferred to the buyer’s account on Rebate Key.
The rebate is held for 35 days
The rule is that the rebate would be released after 35 days. The reason is that during this period the customer can return the item and request a refund on the Amazon platform. Once the return option expires, your rebate is processed and released.
You will be able to see the list of pre-approved purchases and how long they are going to be held.
I know it’s annoying to wait more than a month to get your money back, especially for the first time, when you have yet to establish full trust in the Rebate Key system. I felt the same. To make it easier, start with one small purchase and see by yourself that the money will be sent in time.
If you purchase with a credit card, there should be plenty of time until the actual payment of the card balance. Having the rebate pending for 35 days shouldn’t be a burden on your bank account.
Rebate Key sends a check to the Buyer
After 35 days, Rebate Key will issue and mail you a check. Here is my first check. I was so excited to receive it!
Starting on May 14th, 2019, the PayPal option is added as well, without any fee for weekly or monthly payments.
Here is a short (1 min) video that explains the whole process:
Why The Sellers Give Away Their Stuff On RebateKey?
The first question anyone asks after hearing about RebateKey is “Why would someone give away their stuff for free? It must be some sort of scam”.
I totally understand the suspicion. There are so many scams online and this offer just sounds too good to be true.
The idea behind RebateKey is marketing. Every company has a marketing budget that can be spent in various creative ways – advertisements, discounts, social media campaigns, engaging celebrities (they get A LOT of free stuff).
For new sellers who try to build a brand on Amazon, giving away several items per day is part of their marketing strategy. In return, they get a proven volume of full-price sales on Amazon, customer reviews and spreading the world to buyer’s friends.
You probably can guess that the real cost of giving a free item to you is a fraction of the listed price, as most of these products are sold with a high margin.
Don’t feel bad that you’ve got a bottle of vitamins for free. The seller didn’t pay $12 to make and ship it.
What Products Can You Get For Free With Rebate Key?
Amazon sellers use Rebate Key to help them with the launching of new products. You won’t find any big brand offers on this website. The products come from small and/or new brands that are fighting to be ranked on Amazon. This doesn’t indicate that the products are of bad quality.
The most popular category is probably food supplements (Keto diet anyone?) and vitamins. After discovering Rebate Key, I stopped buying vitamins from my local store. Why spend money on something I can get for free?
Here are some products I have personally got with 100% rebate:
Hair, Skin and Nails Vitamins – 60 capsules. It’s a two month supply for me!
Vitamin D3 5,000 IU Supplement – 60 soft gels. We used to buy a similar product in the supermarket anyway.
Here are more examples of the items I’ve received via Rebate Key offers:
Inflatable Airplane Pillow for our upcoming trip to Europe.
iPhone 7 Plus Glass Screen Protector. I have to change the protectors on my phone every several months. Somehow, I’ve managed to drop it on the floor several times.
Two Eye Masks with earplugs. I needed a new mask, as I can’t sleep when the room is not dark enough.
FACE serum with 4 essentials for your face. It’s really good for my mid-aged skin! The rebate was 90%, not free, but it’s worth it.
Are The Products On Rebate Key Really Free?
Not all the offers come with a 100% rebate. It’s up to you if you want to check out products with 50%-95% discounts as well.
The sales tax is an additional caveat. It could be added to the price by Amazon, according to the tax rules in your state. The rules vary for different categories in each state. For example, New Jersey doesn’t charge sales tax on clothing, unprepared food, and medicine. RebateKey will NOT refund the tax amount, only the original price of each item.
Shipping is usually free for Amazon Prime members. If you don’t have a membership, be careful and check the shipping costs before submitting the order.
If you are not willing to pay anything at all, you can do the following check, before accepting the rebate: go to Amazon first, add the desired product to the cart and start the checkout process. You’ll see how much tax and shipping you will be charged if you complete the purchase.
Is There A Limit Of Rebates?
I know, it’s exciting to get free products from Amazon. You might want to grab as many as possible. Unfortunately, there is a limit, protecting the platform from abuse.
The daily limit is 5 rebates. The monthly limit is 50 rebates. If you reach it, the count will be reset on the 1st of the following month.
Can I Resell The Items From RebateKey?
The rules are clear: you can only have one RebateKey account per household and reselling the items is strictly prohibited.
If you end up with a product you don’t use, consider donating it.
How Rebate Key Makes Money?
As I explained before, Rebate Key charges a $2.95 fee per each buyer claim. This is the main income.
I think they also make some interest on the money held for 35 days period.
Is Rebate Key A Scam?
From my personal experience, Rebate Key delivers exactly what it promises. You order the items you like on Amazon and pay the full price. RebateKey pays you back via check or PayPal after approximately 35 days. No hidden fees, no gimmicks.
The first check I received is the proof I was looking for before writing this review and it arrived in time.
How To Make Money With Rebate Key
I’m glad you’ve made it to this point. Here are the FIVE secret ways to MAKE money from getting free stuff:
#1 Post Social Proof And Get $20 From RebateKey
When you get your first check from Rebate Key, you’ll have an option to make an additional $20. All you need to do is publicly share a picture of yourself with the check on Facebook and submit the post to Rebate Key. You’ll get detailed instructions along with your first payments.
Here is my $20 prize:
#2 Amazon Prime Refunds
If you already have Amazon Prime account and Amazon Prime credit card, you are getting 5% cash back for all your Amazon purchases. Most of the items will also ship for free.
Other credit cards may offer some cashback as well, but usually less than 5%.
It means you’ll actually make money on all the products you buy via RebateKey that are not taxed in your state. For example, I live in New Jersey and get all food-related products without paying any sales taxes.
#3 Rebate Key Affiliate Program
You can invite friends to Rebate Key and get paid when they claim rebates. Win-win! Your unique affiliate link can be found under the “Affiliate Program” tab in the top menu.
For the first rebate claimed by your referral, you’ll be paid $1. When the referral completes 5 rebates, you’ll get an additional $2 and so on till the maximum of total $20 after 50 rebates claimed by your friend. The payment will be issued once your balance reaches $50.
#4 Submit e-receipts to CoinOut app
#5 Submit e-receipts to Fetch Rewards app
The Fetch Rewards app pays for ANY grocery receipt from the US. You need to scan the receipts, the same as with CoinOut.
However, they also pay 2.5 cents for every electronic receipt and you can process all the receipts once in 7-10 days, so it requires less effort from you. The process is automated once you connect your email address. You only will need to tap on the blue button on the “Scan” screen.
Read my detailed Fetch Rewards review to better understand how it works and get my sign up code for free $2 for you.
Similar Sites Like Rebate Key – Get More Free Stuff!
There are more rebate websites like Rebate Key that offer similar business models.
Rebaid has the same process as RebateKey and doesn’t require reviews. It’s a newer site, so the selection of available items, especially with a 100% rebate, is relatively small. Some of the items are exactly the ones you can find on Rebate Key.
The second site I use, Extreme Rebate, has a broad selection of available items, including clothing, toys and more. The sellers on this site need to confirm each request from every user and they don’t approve all of the requests. It can be a bit frustrating. In addition, to get more requests, you are asked to review the products on Amazon.
Here is a wonderful kid’s bucket sun hat I’ve got from them:
Another disadvantage of the other sites is that the rebate is paid via PayPal and you have to pay a transaction fee (4.4% of the product price plus a small fixed fee). It makes the products not really free, especially when you pay sales tax as well. The deal still can be low-cost and worth it, just take it into consideration. RebateKey doesn’t charge fees for weekly and monthly payments.
What I like about Rebate Key is that the process is super simple, there are no fees and you are not required to review anything.
What I Don’t Like With RebateKey
While it sounds great, RebateKey.com has some flaws.
1. Some products are released with a very small daily amount of available rebates. Even when I set a notification and get an email about the product release, many times it’s already too late. No more rebates are left for the day when I reach the item’s page on the site.
2. Some of the notifications are sent during the night time by EST. I’m not going to jump out of bed to buy something on Amazon, even when it’s free.
3. The quality of the products can be questionable at times. From my experience, skincare items were very good. However, with food supplements, it can be hard to say whether they work or not.
The process of getting free stuff with Rebate Key is very simple.
- Chose the item from the list of available products
- Buy the item on Amazon for its full price
- Submit the order number to Rebate Key
- Wait 35 days and get paid back by check or PayPal
I still see many people joining RebateKey but not buying anything. I guess that they can’t find anything they like available on the first visit and give up.
Here is a tip: if you see a product you want but none is available right now, check in the top right corner of the listing for the EXACT time new rebates are released for this item. Put an alert for 5 minutes before this time in your calendar. When the time comes, be ready to open the item from the RebateKey website. If it’s still not available, close and open again (I don’t think it will be refreshed automatically, so better do it yourself). About 10-20 seconds after the time (let’s say 10:36 AM EST), several rebates for your chosen item will become available and you have a good chance to be among the lucky buyers.
Yes, you need to put a small effort into tracking it, but look – IT’S FREE! No complaints from me here.
As I mentioned above, you even can make a little extra money, but it’s not the main point here. Rebate Key is not for making money, it’s for saving it on stuff you might need to buy otherwise.
All in all, I enjoy RebateKey a lot. I’ve stopped buying vitamins and facial care products, such as serums and creams, from regular stores. New useful items arrive at my home all the time. It’s so much fun!
I’m planning to stock up on cool stuff before the holidays and “White Elephant” games at my office.
Check RebateKey out and you wouldn’t regret it.
Don’t be selfish – share this post with your friends and family! I’m sure they don’t mind some free stuff as well.
Additional ways to get free stuff from Amazon
If you want to choose what to get from Amazon without paying for it with your credit card, there are several easy ways to get free Amazon gift cards.
Start your online shopping from Ebates or a similar website. Personally, I like TopCashback (read my full TopCashback review here). The rebate rates can go high up to 20%, but usually will be in the 2% – 10% range.
Both sites allow cashing out with Amazon gift cards.
Grocery Shopping Apps
I use six receipt scanning apps, making some money from any receipt, not only grocery. All of these apps offer Amazon gift cards as a payment option.
Fetch Rewards – pays you for scanning any grocery receipt plus bonuses from participating brands. Yes, I wrote a review of Fetch Rewards as well, so you have all the information.
Makeena – this is an app for healthy eaters. It offers rebates for buying organic (or actually any) fruit and vegetables. Makeena pays for any grocery receipt up to 3 times a week as well.
Personal Capital software
You actually need this great financial software to keep track of all your accounts. It’s FREE and you will get $20 Amazon gift card just for signing up and linking eligible accounts. Win-win!
Read more details in this Personal Capital review.
Paid Survey Panels
There are many survey websites where you can share your opinions and get paid for it. It’s not a full-time job but can make you some extra money in your spare time. Amazon gift card is a popular payment option on these sites as well.
Check out these 11 best survey sites for 2019.
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