Sometimes, an offer looks too good to be true. And this is often the case online, especially. That’s why one savvy consumer wrote to TrustDALE to ask about an online program called Rakuten. Rakuten claims to offer rebates to consumers on everyday purchases made online, with no apparent catch. So is it too good to be true, or is it just a great deal?
A Great Deal
We’re glad to see consumers being careful about their online activity. In this case, we are happy to report that Rakuten is legit. In fact, they used to have another name, which consumers may know better. Rakuten was once called Ebates. They changed their name to Rakuten, which means optimism in Japanese, but they are the same company offering the same service.
It works like this: From the consumer side, all you have to do is join Rakuten and then shop through their portal. There’s nothing fishy about it. You start at the Rakuten website and then follow a link to a company’s real homepage. From there, you shop as you normally would. Rakuten keeps track of your rebates, and once a quarter, you get a check. Sounds simple, right?
From the business side, Rakuten offers businesses something of value: a dedicated purchasing community. Rakuten offers to bring consumers to a business if the business will offer them a rebate, most of which goes to the consumer. Rakuten also takes a small portion of each rebate for themselves, which is how they make money.
Is There a Catch?
As with everything online, there’s got to be a catch, right? In the case of Rakuten, there isn’t a big catch, but there are a few things to know if you plan to use their service. First, you must start at the Rakuten portal for your purchases to qualify for rebates. Second, not all purchases qualify for rebates, so you need to be mindful of what you buy. Also, as with most services online, Rakuten is collecting your data. As you shop, Rakuten keeps track of what you search for and what you buy. After all, if they didn’t know what you are buying, they couldn’t get you your rebates. Some consumers who are particularly sensitive about their data may want to skip Rakuten. But for many consumers, the rebates are worth sharing a little information.
We want to thank the consumers who asked about Rakuten, as it is always a good idea to look into companies that seem to offer benefits with very little input from the consumer. In this case, we think that Rakuten is legit, and you can use it safely to save a little cash, as long as you go in knowing that you are giving up some data and privacy.