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Appliance Rebates Half Gone On First Day

The Government-Funded Rebate Program For Applicances Kicked Off Today And Runs Until April 25, Or When $6.5 Million In Funding Runs Out

WGN News

April 16, 2010

CHICAGO - The Illinois Cash for Appliances program kicked off at 8 a.m. this morning and has already gone through half of its $6.5 million in funding.

Shoppers showed up early, lining up to receive their discounted appliances as early as 3:30a.m. at the 670 Illinois stores offering the rebate. Mike Abt, president of Abt Electronics said shoppers showed up at hsi store in Glenview starting around 4:15 a.m., even though the store doesn't open until 7.

By 10:30, the retailer had reached its biggest volume sales day ever, he said. "There was a line around the building of people waiting to get in," said Abt. "I haven't seen that since 1975 when (Blackhawk players) Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito were here signing hockey sticks."

"By late afternoon, we could be out of money," said David Vite, president of the trade group administering the program.

Some small downstate independent dealers reported selling a week's worth of appliances in the first two hours, Vite said.

Arizona and Iowa went through their cash-for-appliances money in a matter of hours.

Illinois is one of the few states that is putting the onus on retailers to front the rebate money to customers and then get reimbursed by the state later. That strategy makes it easy for consumers but hard on merchants. No retailer wants to be stuck offering a discount after the cash-for-appliance till is empty.

Today's eligible products include:

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Room air conditioners

In addition, many stores are offering other incentives such as extending the period for discounts on appliances. Check your individual retail outlets for more information.

One more thing from the DCEO--To receive new product rebates, consumers must purchase from "participating" retailers. Consumers who purchase a new refrigerator (mini-fridges excluded) or freezer, can receive an additional mail-in rebate with proof that their old appliance was hauled away when the new one was delivered.

Here are a few things that Abt is doing differently regarding the appliance rebate program:

  • Abt will continue to offer the 15% off Energy Star appliances even after the money is gone. Some appliances will even be marked down as much as 40%.
  • Abt will be opening early on Friday, April 16th at 7:30am. They will have police directing traffic.
  • Abt will have every manufacturer (Maytag, Sharp, etc) at the store to answer any additional questions that the sales staff can't handle.
  • Many people may not know that there is a $400 limit to each item.

© 2010, WGN-TV, Chicago

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