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What are ibotta's real rules?

dramaspoiler
Core Shopper

So basically I got lock out recently. I submitted an offer for $2 at C-town for the suave shampoo. The ibotta system came back with a message "No rebate found". Following the message and instructions from help.ibotta.com I resubmitted the receipt. The result was not what I expect. I did not get the credit but instead was welcome with an account lock message and rejection email.  After putting in a ticket I was told I'm not getting my $2 because they define my resubmitted receipt as being altered even though the system found the item? I merely had folded crease marks on the receipt resubmitted. I don't think that is considered altered it's the same receipt as the first one they couldn't find the offer in. I can't possibly have an unfolded receipt after leaving the store (the receipt was long even though it only had one item). I'm lucky I was even able to submit receipt in the store the first time. So basically I didn't get my $2 rebate offer at the end of day. @LaraL  is it true that a folded receipt with crease marks can not be used to redeem an offer on resubmission and I lose rights to get a legitimate rebate.  I guess since I always try to scan my receipts at the store immediately this never occur me that folding a receipt is not allowed.  A loss for a lesson learned system resubmission comes with risk of being lock and not getting rebate.  So I'm sharing my experience. That or never make purchases at C-town. Obviously my first time purchase there was a bad experience

So below is a complied list of things I think would potentially cause an account to be locked based on what I read in the forums and some tips from other users  You can chime in to confirm or add your speculation. I assume this is ok to post this summary if not let me know and I will take it down. These are just my guesses

1) Do not resubmit receipt for "no rebate found" submit a ticket instead and just don't get offer count progress.  Potential lock result if resubmitting to system hopefully reviewer is understanding and will credit you.
2) New users(first time withdrawers) should wait at least 48 hours after reaching $20 before withdrawing
3) After withdrawal need to wait some time before withdrawing again. I'm guessing 1 week at most to be safe.
4) Not sure if there is a limit on how many times you can withdraw in a month. I know you can at least do 3x anybody did more?
5) Excessive redemption ( usually happens when chasing bonuses) might also be tied into your redemption habits? I'm guessing 10 receipts a day max?
6) Maybe funds have to be in account few days before you can withdraw it. But depends on user.
7) Don't withdraw balance to zero. Leave some money in it.
😎 Too many referrals will cause a lock that you will need to verify your referrals?
9) After being unlock wait some time to withdraw to avoid being locked again. I'm thinking there is lag time between when they tell you and when it's officially effective.

10) if you respond to a ticket you will be place back to the bottom of the queue

11) Anything returned from the receipt regardless if ibotta item or not will result in reversal of all ibotta rebates received in that receipt.


How can you tell your account has restricted access? Your gift card function on the home screen is missing. I think this is some sign account is potentially locked.

I like to thank @LaraL for being a great liaison for our community.  I would like to also thank @Dean  @Rickibotta  @OBSHOP  for the tips, advice and help.  Apologies for anybody I might have missed to give credit too.  Hopefully this will be a useful thread to prevent lockouts, I assume it's ok to post since it's just my speculation.  I'm still learning.  Thanks all and Happy holidays!

7 Replies

Re: What are ibotta's real rules?

Rickibotta
Deal Master

@dramaspoiler 

#11 seems ridiculous and not true to me..   I return stuff when needed, and I have certainly done so more than 10 times over the last few years with WM.  I have never had a reversal as a result of returning a non-ibotta item.  I may be wrong here, but I believe those who believe this has happened are somehow mistaken.  The only way it would happen is if WM passes a return receipt to ibotta that results in a manual review.  That is simply not likely.  ibotta simply does not have the staff to review all return receipts generated by WM in a given day, even if filtered by those TC# attached to ibotta.

However, I am not privy to the WM/ibotta return details:

  • I can't imagine WM sends return details for ALL returns to ibotta.  Perhaps WM keeps track of all TC# that are attached to ibotta, and they only pass returns associated with those TC# to ibotta
  • So either WM only sends ibotta-related TC# receipts to ibotta <or> WM does in fact send ALL return receipts to ibotta and ibotta does have to do a match of each TC# to a list in their system to determine if that TC# has been used in ibotta. 
  • I assume an offending TC# with a return does not result in a manual review of the receipt within ibotta.  It seems more likely that the item# returned rom the TC# in question is reversed in an automated fashion by ibotta

In my experience, only WM transactions result in reversals at this time.  If there are other stores that do, my assumptions would apply to those stores as well.  Also, ibotta will not generally give us all the details of the ins and outs of how ibotta works because it is part of their proprietary functionality, but also more likely because it may expose weaknesses or possible exploits

 

Returns of Items Not Attached to Ibotta

You bought some groceries whilst at WM that are attached to ibotta.  But you recently watched 'A Christmas 'Story' and decide to buy a hip ''Leg Lamp' for your living room.  After sleeping on the couch for a week, you decide to return said lamp to WM .  The lamp is not an ibotta-related item, so the return results in no reversals, and you are one step closer to being allowed in the master bedroom again.

 

Returns of Items Attached to Ibotta  (Normal)

You buy a stick of deodorant, and you receive an ibotta rebate.  You return the item to WM, and an ibotta reversal occurs as expected..  It does not affect any other ibotta-related items.

 

Returns of Items Attached to Ibotta  (Swap)

You buy a stick of deodorant, and you receive an ibotta rebate, but .you discover the scent is horrid,   You want to swap the item.  Generally WM will do a return/repurchase from your receipt, so you will get hit with an ibotta reversal due to the return.  Providing you get a receipt with the repurchase, If the ibotta offer is back in your gallery, you can just submit the 'swap' receipt.   (See below regarding no-receipt return if WM may allow it)

 

Returns of Items Attached to Ibotta  (Bought More Than Credited for by Ibotta)

The complications/limitations of the ibotta system are such that it does not know that you had received credit for 'X'  items AND there was an additional overage of  'Y' qualifying items submitted.   As such, If you buy more of an item than ibotta credits for, you should NOT return item without doing a non-receipt return. 

For example, you buy 5 boxes of Pop Tarts for an ibotta deal, but you discover it was a limit=3.   If you return the other two, you will be met with a reversal for 2 of the 3 you were credited.   And that is if the return is done properly by a manager 

If a WM associate does the refund by returning all 5 in the system, and then repurchase 3, refunding you the difference of 2,  you will have a reversal for all 3 of the ones you were credited.  And they won't let you know they did it this way, and you won't get a receipt.   You won't have any idea until the reversals hit and you get the nasty ibotta email insinuating you may be a thief and if you do this again, your account may be deactivated.

This is where the no-receipt return comes into play.  Explain to the manager exactly what the problem is, in as much detail as possible/necessary, and ask if they can do a no-receipt return, but show them the receipt so they know you bought it there.   Explain that you will lose your rebates if they do a return transaction with a repurchase. My experience is that the manager will do it this way for you, but YMMV.   

“2022 New Year's Resolution: It’s time for me to be doing what I have been doing and that time is every day .”
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Re: What are ibotta's real rules?

Dean
Moderator
Moderator

@dramaspoiler 

You have some valid observations but I would caution new users from considering those as the "real" rules. Many problems could be avoided by understanding how to use Ibotta. There are problems that have to be addressed by Ibotta, and some things like number 10 have recently been revealed to all. But users should educate themselves to help avoid problems and being surprised when something unexpected happens.

https://blog.ibotta.com/savings/a-step-by-step-guide-to-ibotta-in-store-purchases/

https://blog.ibotta.com/tips-tricks/using-ibotta-answers-to-common-questions/

https://help.ibotta.com/hc/en-us/articles/225450727-What-are-receipt-qualifications-for-in-store-red...

https://help.ibotta.com/hc/en-us/articles/223788308-What-are-the-different-ways-to-withdraw-my-earni...

https://help.ibotta.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000248708-Why-am-I-locked-out-from-withdrawing-my-earni...

 

 

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Re: What are ibotta's real rules?

LaraL
Rewards Whiz

There should only be a reversal for whichever items were returned, not the entire transaction.

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Re: What are ibotta's real rules?

dramaspoiler
Core Shopper

@Rickibotta @LaraL @Dean 

Thanks all for the detailed explanation and links.  Obviously my summary list is just a speculation list and I try to note it as such since some I never really experience directly. So users hopefully are aware. As you all mentioned if users learn more they can certainly avoid problems and not be surprised when things happen. 

I hardly return stuff so touch wood I have never gotten an ibotta reversal.  If anything I just eat the loss.  I never shopped at Walmart so I guess maybe that reversal was more impacted to those users. But I have to love those examples you give.

Update - got unlock email Friday, account unlocked Saturday based on gift card function availability, submit withdrawal to bank Monday late evening, got money Wednesday.  So overall it can be said that from being lock to unlock is 1 week.  And the account review was really 5 days if you did get an email mentioning it and sort of put in ticket same day but I did give tons of support for anything I thought might have caused it before they asked?  This is just my recent experience so it may be different for others.  I did feel lucky that unlock didn't take too long and I was able to successfully withdraw by year end.  That was my Christmas gift from ibotta. 😂.

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Re: What are ibotta's real rules?

Rickibotta
Deal Master

@dramaspoiler 

Glad you got it resolved.

My personal suggestion would be to only withdraw once a week at most.  You can certainly do it daily if you have money, but I just think weekly will avoid a lot of problems.   And don't do a small withdraw to test and then do a large one to empty your account.  That also would probably be more likely to get a lock.  None of this is how it should be, but I am only offering suggestions that should help avoid getting locked again.

I know many people say wait 48 hours, but there are scads and scads of people who did that and then got relocked.

“2022 New Year's Resolution: It’s time for me to be doing what I have been doing and that time is every day .”

Re: What are ibotta's real rules?

dramaspoiler
Core Shopper

@Rickibotta 

All in all I only lost $2 that they refuse to credit me.  I still don't understand how a resubmission with the same receipt gets rejected because my receipt has crease folded marks.  They couldn't find a match the first time but the second time found it but rejected it claiming my receipt was altered or a duplicate? Going forward  I'm just going to stick to putting a ticket in when I get no rebate found like I always do to be safe.  It was this receipt that trigger the lock anyway in my perception. 

Agree.  I normally try to withdraw at most 1 x a week for frequency if amount is high and I'm not chasing a bonus.  Nearing the milestone, and aggressively doing many offers I did sort of anticipated a potential lock but just fail to withdraw before the lock so that when they were reviewing I wouldn't be worried if I can make it by year end to withdraw.  Any other time of year I would have cared less considering it would be a matter of time before they unlock the account.

Actually the I think the 48 hours is from when the account is actually unlock not from when they say it is unlocked.  Folks probably press when it has not been actually unlocked which cancels the unlock?.  The app actually gives you clues when you actually have full access aka true unlock.  At least that's how interpret it.

Nevertheless thanks for all your help and advice over the year and wishing you and your family a Happy holidays!

 

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Re: What are ibotta's real rules?

123Save
Skilled Saver

FWIW- I’ve cashed out to PayPal on average once every 12 days.

I’ve never been locked out. I’ve never referred anyone but I understand Ibotta needing rules and security protocols to protect against fraud.

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