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How to make the most of rebate cards from companies like Duke Energy

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ASHEBORO, N.C. — When Bill Palmer bought a high-energy HVAC system for his house in Asheboro, he qualified for rebate programs through American Standard, Piedmont Natural Gas and Duke Energy.

He says American Standard and Piedmont Natural sent him checks that he cashed, but Duke Energy mailed him a Visa card for $525. That’s not what he wanted.

You might have received a rebate in this form too. It probably arrived in the mail in a nondescript envelope that you could easily overlook.

FOX8 On Your Side explains how to make the most of a rebate card.

Pay attention to the expiration date! With most of them, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

If you can, use the entire sum at once.

This is a prepaid debit card. You can’t make a purchase over the balance.

Many of us never use all of the money on the rebate card and it goes back to the company who issued it.

There’s a simple solution. Write down the amount remaining on the card so you don’t forget the balance.

Then when you are ready to use the remainder, tell the cashier you’d like to do a split-tender transaction.

Let’s say your total is $10.00. If there’s $5.57 on your rebate card, use it to pay that amount and then use another form of payment for $4.43.

The CARD Act, a federal law, gives you some protection with gift cards. They can't expire before five years, but rebate cards are exempt from that law.

As for Duke Energy’s Home Improvement Energy Program rebate cards, you are notified that you will received a Visa pre-paid card.

Duke Energy told FOX8, their card funds are active for two years.

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