When Palm Pre's pricing and availability was officially announced earlier this week, one thing looked particularly unusual for a high-end mobile phone launch these days: an annoying mail-in rebate. But savvy shoppers can avoid the rebate roulette and can get better prices by shopping around.
If you want to buy the Palm Pre for the advertised $199 price (after a two-year Sprint contract) you will actually have to shell out $299 at the register and then redeem a $100 mail-in rebate. It will take you generally between four to eight weeks to get your $100 rebate on your Palm Pre. That's unless you don't want to go through the tedious process of claiming your rebate, which is something many retailers using this marketing technique count on.
Fortunately, you can save yourself the pain of buying your Pre from a Sprint store. If you go to a BestBuy or Radio Shack store, this mail-in rebate will be deducted instantly at the register, it has been confirmed.
BestBuy is preparing a big push for the Palm Pre by training some of its employees for a Walk Out Working program, which aims to get Pre customers using their new phone before they leave the store.
But this rebate affair is not the only pricing annoyance that may plague the Palm Pre when it ships June 6. A $199 8GB Palm Pre would go head to head with a new 16GB iPhone for the same price (as per yesterday's iPhone 3.0 rumors). That might have some potential Palm Pre customers hesitant to pull the trigger on buying the Pre.
As for call and data plans, my colleague Ian Paul compared the hefty contracts to come with new iPhones and the Palm Pre yesterday.
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