Many companies treat rebates & other after-purchase incentives like mail-in rebates: they hope you forget about them so they don’t have to pay. This applies to contact lens rebates, lab rebates, frame rebates, and more.
A lot of variance exists between each company’s rebate program (if they even have one), so this step can be kind of a headache to sort through.
Some of you reading this portion of the guide may quickly determine that it’s not worth the effort, and we understand if that’s the case. For some practices, shaking these trees will yield a lot of return. For others, not so much.
Here’s what we recommend if you decide this is a worthwhile undertaking:
- Create a list of all of your practice’s suppliers, including contact lens manufacturers, full-service labs, stock lens suppliers, and frame manufacturers.
- Reflect back to the negotiations with each supplier and determine whether you negotiated a rebate program OR discount with each one.
- Locate your most recent statement with each company that’s supposed to be providing you with a rebate or discount to see if they’re honoring their word.
- NOTE: Many suppliers who promise discounts don’t automatically apply them to your statement unless you keep a watchful eye and hold them accountable. You may have been overcharged in the past, and if you catch them red handed, they owe you money.
- Reconcile with bank statements as needed to see who has paid the rebates agreed to vs. who hasn’t. Take note of any discrepancies. Any recent statement that doesn’t reflect your negotiated incentive merits tracking down and double-checking the previous statement(s) to determine how long this has been happening.
- Determine the amount each company owes you and start making calls to hold them accountable.
We recommend initially approaching these conversations with a polite and understanding tone, as frustrating as that may be. It’s possible that a genuine clerical error was made and these actions were not malicious.
If a company makes excuses for not honoring their agreement, then you have every right to “go nuclear.”
Make explicitly clear that you’ll cease doing business with them if they don’t make things right. Don’t accept credits or any other form of compromise. They took cash away from your business. Anything less than cash returned to you is disproportionate compensation.