75-40. Deadline for mailing consumer rebates.

(a) Any person, firm, or corporation engaged in commerce that offers a rebate shall provide the rebate to the consumer within 60 days of the date of receipt by the person, firm, or corporation of the completed rebate form submitted by the consumer. If the rebate claim is submitted electronically, the rebate shall be provided to the consumer within 60 days of the date upon which the claim is submitted. However, a person, firm, or corporation shall not be responsible for delays in providing rebates to consumers caused by conditions beyond their reasonable control including, but not limited to, natural disasters, wars, terrorist acts, and states of emergency. As used in this section, the following apply:

(1) The term "rebate" means the return of a portion of the purchase price paid by a consumer for goods or services that is conditioned upon the consumer submitting a request for redemption after satisfying the terms and conditions of the offer.

(2) The term "rebate" shall not include any refund that may be given to a consumer in accordance with a company's frequent shopper customer rewards program.

(3) The term "consumer" does not apply to those individuals who are eligible for rebates as result of their eligibility under Medicaid.

(b) Rebate forms shall include the telephone number or e-mail address of the person, firm, or corporation that is offering the rebate. Rebate forms shall also include all of the following conspicuously printed on the rebate form:

(1) The terms of the rebate.

(2) Requirements for a valid claim, including any additional information to be submitted with the rebate form.

(3) The expiration date of the rebate offer, if applicable.

(c) A rebate offer shall provide a period of at least 30 days during which the consumer may submit the rebate form. The time period allowed for submission shall begin as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than six months, after the date of purchase.

(d) Nothing in this section shall apply to a rebate offer of five dollars ($5.00) or less.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create liability on the part of a retailer for a rebate offered by a manufacturer or liability on the part of a manufacturer for a rebate offered by a retailer.

(f) A violation of this section is an unfair trade practice under G.S. 75-1.1 and is subject to all of the enforcement and penalty provisions of an unfair trade practice under this Article. (2007-170, s. 1.)