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Don't require rebates to be selected first

Don't require rebates to be selected first

The selection of rebates in Ibotta should be a way to create a shopping list, not a requirement for redeeming the rebate.

When the selection process is used as a requirement for the rebate, it just makes it more difficult.  When most of us go shopping, we can be lured into buying something not on our list.  Whether it is a great deal in the store or skipping a meal before shopping or the smells in the store, we all are tempted to buy additional items.  Why should we also feel bad that there was a rebate and we missed it.  So, I for one, select ALL the rebates, which is very time consuming.

Someone recently suggested a button should be added to select ALL, but I maintain that no rebate should require it be selected.  If I buy something and I am an Ibotta user, I should be able to submit my receipt and save on everything.  Just my thoughts.

Former Ibotta Employee
Status changed to: Investigating

Thank you for bringing this to our team's attention. I've passed this along to our internal team to further investigate.

Deal Master

I am throwing in my two cents partly as a systems analyst for over 30 years.

ibotta seems to be backlogged on tickets and they obviously are just launching a lot of new things.  They have been taking these suggestions for months and none of them have been implemented that I can see.   I would imagine they are in rough shape from the technical side with all that is going on.

What you are asking them to do is to somehow  check every receipt that is submitted for each and every item on that receipt.

Most receipts don't include UPC codes. 

And stores all word the same product differently on their receipt.  Some don't even include the brand name.    .And if they do, they generally would not include the size or flavor on the receipt.

Ibotta is largely, or entirely, based on verification based on UPC matches from products scanned by and submitted by users against their database of qualifying products for each offer, 

If you remove the initial step of the user driving the selection, then you would somehow expect ibotta to do a ridiculous amount of effort, likely an impossible amount without enough information to do their job.

Let's just assume there are 1,000 people who buy an average of 25 items per trip, with an average of 2 offers per receipt.   You increase match attempts from 2,000 total (1,000 people times 2 selected offers per receipt) to 25,000 total to attempt to match each and every offer.  Depending on the languages used for their computer processing, there are some that would be somewhat less, but my point stands overall.  And all of this is based on 1,000 receipts.   What if there are 25,000.   That is much worse.   

And I am sure ibotta would like to increase the user base.   If they want to double their customers, then this will roughly double processing time.  Doubling is fine in some cases, but not if you have to check every item on a receipt.   

And what if the receipt is light.   Nothing will scan that.

Even if they somehow did this, it would probably result a 700,000% increase in their tickets submitted by users who didn't get their rebate.

There are about 25 other issues I could see from a technical perspective  that would make this highly unlikely at best, but I just wanted to toss out a few thoughts. 

tl;dr:    This sound awesome in theory for the customers, but it likely would NEVER be possible for ibotta to do this, especially if you don't even want to select them ahead of time.

Shopping Enthusiast

As a programmer for over 40 years, I would think they would look up each item on a receipt and see if it exists in Ibotta.  If the UPC is available, it would be used as a key.  I would think, on average, a receipt would have 25-30 items.  Other receipts, like Target and Walgreens, have other ways to identify the exact item.  I suspect they have a template for each store.  For stores that don't have a way to identify the items, then you would have to select and scan the UPC of each item.

Since I select ALL rebates for the stores I shop, it wouldn't increase my time scanning a receipt.

One of the suggestions that has been implemented recently is adding the camera light to more store receipt scans.  I don't know about any other changes.

I agree that Ibotta gets a lot of tickets and it does take a long time to get something resolved.  I have a ticket open for almost a week for a missed rebate on oranges from Walmart.  I received an email indicating they got it and would route it to the right person.  That was three days ago.

Deal Master


My main point was that it is impossible across the board because not all stores provide UPCs on receipts.

And stores make up their own wording and description for receipts.

Walmart includes UPCs, and that is why WalMart works pretty much perfectly for me even unlinked.   I only have to scan the QR, and since all the UPCs are on the receipt, I don't even have to take pics.

ibotta can't just dictate standards of receipt handling unilaterally.  Not all stores (e.g. Kroger) are just going to change how receipts are formatted just because ibotta asks them.  And what will happen with the smaller stores; they just get tossed out?

And depending on what operating system and languages are used by ibotta, scanning every field of a receipt between spaces to check if it is a UPC  to check would be pretty much impossible unless every store has the same format and same number of lines.  Then you don't know where the dollar amount would be for that item.  Some have three or four amounts for every product; the original price, a discount, ultimate cost; all on separate lines.    Impossible.

I imagine some stores such as Walmart has their own formatting worked out with ibotta so they can work together.  And for those who don't do that, everyone has to scan the codes.

In a nutshell, stores who use UPCs on a receipt are in better shape.

But I think there are different UPC issues with packaged meats as well.

For stores without UPCs, I don't see it.


Shopping Enthusiast

When I submit my receipt, the first thing Ibotta asks is what store is your receipt from.  My thought is that Ibotta has a template for each store chain.  If knows exactly where descriptions start and where prices are.  You are correct that Walmart includes 11 of the 12 digits of the UPC of the product.  The 12th digit is a check-digit and can be calculated.

I have never had a problem with Target receipts, but the UPC is not on the receipt.  Target prints their DCPI number on the receipt, which identifies the exact item.  Ibotta probably has a list of all the DCPI numbers for their rebates and can easily look it up.

You are correct.  Many store chains only print the description and it may not be specific enough to identify the product, let alone the size or flavor.  In those cases, we have to tell Ibotta what we bought by scanning the UPC.  I have to do this for my local chain, Publix.  Ibotta can't tell (and shouldn't) a store to change its receipt.  Ibotta tries its best and we have to fill in the blanks when it can't.

Basically, I agree.  It would be impossible to have Ibotta know EXACTLY what you purchased, based on just the receipt for every store.


Deal Master

Yeah, I think we agree on most everything regarding the how-to.

But.... at the end of the day, ibotta is a cashback site, and the way the traditional cashback sites work is you must click-thru.   That is what companies value.   If nothing else, the illusion that we buy the item because we found it on a cashback site. 

 If we don't actually click the offer and load it to ibotta, and if we didn't even know there was a reward in it for us, then the merchant probably sees no reason to further pay us.

In these arrangements, I think you will agree that ibotta must show some good faith way that they are the reason why a customer bought a certain product.  And they do that by us adding the offers.  At the end of the day, corporations use these sites, hoping to lower customer acquisition costs.  It is a much more direct form of advertising than a TV spot.