Rebate Programs For Restricted Consumer Goods

Rebate Fulfillment & Customer Incentive Program Support

Rebate programs and sales incentives for retailers are among the most effective marketing techniques to drive more sales and gain more brand recognition. 

And while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has strict rules around rebate programs in general, there are even stricter rules in place when it comes to restricted consumer goods

These rules are in place to protect consumers and stop unfair marketing practices. And it’s critical that businesses in different industries fully understand how they are impacted and what actions they need to take to remain compliant. 

Not doing this could lead to crippling fines and penalties, as well as significant damage to a brand’s reputation.

What Are Restricted Consumer Goods?

From a rebate marketing perspective, restricted consumer goods are products or product categories where additional restrictions apply through marketing regulation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state-level regulators are responsible for managing these restrictions in order to protect consumers. 

The main categories of restricted consumer goods are: 

There are many overlapping regulations across these categories, and it’s critical for business owners and managers to fully understand their obligations when it comes to marketing their products in a compliant way.

Impacts On Marketing Efforts

Once you have identified whether or not you have products that fall into these restricted categories, it’s important to understand what that means for your rebate program and how you handle consumer data.

Consumer Privacy

Privacy regulations in all areas of life have become stricter in recent years. And it’s not just linked to medical and financial records. When it comes to planning rebate programs for toys and games marketed for children, there are additional privacy regulations.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) outlines very strict rules under which companies can collect data on children under 13 years old. 

But there are many other data privacy considerations that you have to consider before you start collecting consumer data.

Non-Deceptive Statements

The FTC also heavily regulates how businesses can word their rebate advertising programs. You have to make sure that it’s clear and easy to understand what the original price was, what the post-rebate price will be, and how much the rebate is worth. 

And you have to provide all of this in a non-deceptive way without exaggerating claims to trick people into buying a product.

Age-Appropriate Marketing

Every marketing campaign has to understand who the customer is in order to address them in a meaningful way. But regulations also dictate that you have to consider age-appropriate messaging for different products. 

For example, it’s not appropriate or legal to target under-18-year-olds in a rebate program for alcohol and tobacco. Similarly, when it comes to toys or video games, it’s important to avoid situations where age ratings are not fully accounted for in marketing campaigns.

Safe Use And Consumption

Restricted consumer goods also fall into the area of not promoting unsafe or unhealthy use of a product by consumers. You can’t run a rebate program and advertising campaign that encourages excessive alcohol consumption. 

Similarly, regulations restrict businesses from promoting excessive use of beauty products or supplements under the promise that the more you use them, the better they will work. 

Let me now show you what kinds of rebate programs we can help with.

What Industries Do We Work With?

Here at Incentive Insights, our team has worked with many clients that sell restricted consumer products on both local and national levels. That has given us the necessary understanding and experience to better handle rebate programs.


Learn more about the top challenges restricted consumer product manufactures face with their rebate programs on our blog.

restricted consumer goods

Toys And Games

Companies that operate in the industry covering children’s toys and games have to pay careful attention to general marketing regulations, as well as specific ones that are designed to protect children.

Common Issues

Before marketing any kind of toy, manufacturers have to be aware of their obligations under safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These particularly apply to toys designed and marketed to children under the age of 12. 

And there are many strict criteria manufacturers must meet.

Choking Hazards

This is one of the most significant dangers when it comes to toys and games for children, as small parts that can come loose may pose a dangerous choking hazard. Manufacturers have to ensure that toys marketed specifically for young children don’t have easily detachable parts that could get stuck in the throat of kids.

Danger of Poisoning

Young children are also far more likely to put toys in their mouths and even chew on them. As a result, it’s critical that toys don’t contain any toxic chemicals. Lead used to be a common part of painted toys, and it’s an example of how laws and regulations stepped in to stop such a dangerous chemical from being used in toys. 

But there are many other poisonous materials that are prohibited by regulations.


All parts of toys have to also be assessed for how easily flammable they are. For example, a doll with fake plastic hair should not burst into flames with the slightest contact with a heat source.

Sharp And Pointy Parts

There are also restrictions and regulations in place that force manufacturers to assess whether their toys have very sharp edges or pointy parts. Kids will inevitably have accidents and are more prone to fall. 

And having a toy become a major hazard in such situations is simply not an acceptable business practice.

Rebate Options For Toy Manufacturers

Toy and game manufacturers have several options when it comes to running rebate programs. These are the main ones our team has helped clients with: 

  • Mail-In Rebates: In these instances, parents of children who bought a certain toy have to fill out a form that comes with the toy. They send this along with their receipt to the company or a rebate management agency in order to receive a check payment. 
  • Online Rebates: These are a lot more popular as it’s easier and faster for parents to fill out necessary details and submit a scanned copy of a receipt. It speeds up the collection of necessary data and also makes rebate programs a lot cheaper to administer. 
  • Retailer Rebates: These programs are not directed at the end consumer of toys but rather offer incentives to retailers to promote a product in an attempt to sell more. Collecting such qualifying sales data can involve a lot of incoming information to process the right rebate amounts.
restricted consumer goods alcohol
Learn About Open and Control StatesAlcohol As Restricted CPG Can Have Unforeseen Pitfalls

Alcohol And Tobacco

The alcohol and tobacco industry is one of the most heavily regulated when it comes to marketing products. Most countries no longer allow active advertising of cigarettes, and there are many restrictions when it comes to marketing campaigns for alcoholic beverages.

Common Issues

These are just some of the most common issues in this industry, and because of the very strict regulations, companies in these sectors will require legal advice on their marketing programs.

Age-Related Restrictions

When it comes to age, restrictions and legal regulations around alcohol and tobacco products are extremely strict. It’s also important to note that the age restrictions are set at the state level. 

Not only is it not legal to sell these products to underage people, but it’s also illegal to create a marketing and advertising campaign that appears to target young age groups.

Marketing Placements

There are also a lot of restrictions on how and where companies can place their alcohol and tobacco products for advertising. Many states don’t allow these products to sponsor sporting events, and family-oriented activities are also off-limits. 

There are similar restrictions when it comes to offering rebate programs, and it’s important for companies to get legal advice before launching such programs.

Health Warnings

Especially for tobacco products, any product placements have to come with varying degrees of warnings about the health implications. This needs to be on the packaging as well as on any materials for market incentives and rebate programs.

Advertising Bans

It’s also important to note that states have imposed complete advertising bans on tobacco products, with many restrictions on alcohol advertising as well. These restrictions don’t just revolve around age-appropriate times for advertising but also around the message being sent with the advertisements and rebate incentives.

Rebate Options For Alcohol And Tobacco Producers

Before you plan to launch a rebate offer or sales incentive program for retailers, make sure you get full legal advice so that you avoid any compliance issues that could end up with serious fines. 

Here are some types of rebates you can consider: 

  • Mail-In Rebates: This is still one of the most common ways to offer consumer rebates (What is a Consume Rebate?). At the point of sale, customers receive a form they need to fill out and send in to receive a rebate check. 
  • Online Rebates: Rather than fill out and post a physical form, online rebates are a much faster and easier way for your customers to provide all the necessary details to receive a rebate. 
  • Retailer Rebates: You can also offer sales incentives to retailers to encourage more active promotion and better placement of your products in stores.


The beauty and cosmetics industry also has to consider the impacts of strict regulations around advertising and rebate promotions.

Common Issues

Before even considering a rebate program to boost sales, cosmetic companies have to navigate many restrictions. Here are the most important, and it’s vital to get legal marketing advice for offering incentives.

Consumer Safety

All cosmetic companies have to ensure their products are safe and advertised in a way that doesn’t encourage unsafe or damaging use. That means the products and ingredients have to be tested and labeled accurately. 

Cosmetic companies also have to stick to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines to ensure a safe product.

Fair Advertising

Marketing and advertising regulations restrict what cosmetic companies are allowed to say and claim about their products. All claims have to be backed up by evidence, and making unrealistic claims about the efficacy of products is deemed an unfair advertising practice. 

These rules also apply to any kind of materials that are part of rebate and sales incentive programs.


The other important factor for cosmetics and beauty product manufacturers is that everything from the label to the advertising and rebate information has to provide transparency about what’s in the product. 

These are products that come in direct contact with the human body, and people have to be able to tell in advance whether they might have a reaction to them.

Restricted Ingredients

Manufacturers also have to ensure that they don’t include any ingredients that might be medically restricted or because they are known to cause health issues. While this should happen during the development of products, it’s vital that businesses don’t run rebate promotions on products that don’t comply with such regulations.

Rebate Options For Cosmetic Companies

Here are some of the available options that cosmetics companies often implement for their rebate promotions. 

  • Retailer Rebates: This kind of program can be highly effective for running large-scale sales promotions where retailers have the incentive to promote a product through more dominant store placement and sales staff encouraging them over other products. 
  • Mail-In Rebates: Customers essentially receive a form with their product purchase, and if they fill in the details by a specific date and mail in the form with a copy of the purchase receipt, then they will receive a check for the rebate amount. 
  • Online Rebates: Such rebate promotions are becoming more popular, and they are a cheaper and more efficient way to gather data and process rebate payments.
restricted consumer goods food dietary suppliments

Food And Dietary Supplements

This is another business sector where regulations for marketing and rebate campaigns go a lot further than just establishing common advertising standards.

Common Issues

The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) is primarily responsible for regulations on such products. And while not every food or supplement product has to receive FDA approval, like medications, there are certain regulations to be aware of.

Consumer Safety

First of all, supplements can only contain ingredients that are classed as generally safe for consumption. And it’s not permitted to use any kind of controlled substances like prescription-only medication or substances that are known to cause health problems.

Proper Labeling

It’s also critical that products and advertising materials are properly labeled and that detailed information about ingredients is easily available for people to look up. This is a critical step to ensure people can make an educated decision and avoid products with ingredients they are allergic to.


The other important factor for cosmetics and beauty product manufacturers is that everything from the label to the advertising and rebate information has to provide transparency about what’s in the product. 

These are products that come in direct contact with the human body, and people have to be able to tell in advance whether they might have a reaction to them.

False Or Misleading Information

Whether in website marketing, product packaging, or rebate program information, you have to ensure that you don’t make false or misleading statements about the effectiveness of a product. You can’t exaggerate results or promise things that are simply not possible to achieve.

Good Manufacturing Practices

It’s also important for supplement products made and sold in America to conform to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines. This ensures certain safety and quality standards and, ultimately, a safer product for the end consumer.

Rebate Options For The Food And Supplement Industries

Running rebate programs for supplements can be a highly effective way to drive sales, especially for new products, to achieve a wider audience and critical brand and product recognition in the marketplace. 

These are some common forms of rebate programs: 

  • Online Rebates: Many supplement companies sell directly online through their own web stores. And this provides the opportunity for integrating rebate incentives directly online for a cheaper and faster processing approach. 
  • Mail-In Rebates: These are still very common and involve customers filling out a rebate form and sending it off along with the purchase receipt.
  • Retailer Rebates: For such rebate promotions, companies offer incentives directly through retailers. Customers can provide their details in-store and even directly receive a rebate before they leave.

Pesticides And Herbicides

When it comes to chemical products to deal with pests and weeds in the garden, there are many product safety regulations, especially in light of the Roundup lawsuits that have proven a lack of warnings on labels.

Common Issues

Chemical companies that make industrial and consumer products for dealing with common pests have come under a lot more scrutiny from regulators, and here are just some of the key areas of consideration before launching a rebate program.

Accurate Product Claims

All product labeling and advertising materials have to accurately state what a product will do. You can’t overpromise just to make your rebate program a bigger success, and the message has to convey a safe and responsible use of the product.

Health Impacts

Whenever you’re dealing with herbicides or pesticides, there are harmful chemicals involved. It’s vital that health impacts from wrongful use or accidental exposure are clearly identified and easily accessed by customers.

Environmental Impacts

It’s not just humans that are at risk of exposure to chemicals. But everything from pets to plants and wildlife could end up being seriously damaged through the wrong use or disposal. And such risks have to be clearly identified to consumers.

Product Safety Warnings

Ever since the large-scale lawsuits over the health risks of Roundup, companies have been under more scrutiny to highlight safety issues in a clear and understandable way. And the same is the case for rebate marketing material, where businesses have to highlight such concerns.

Rebate Options For The Pesticide Market

Pesticide manufacturers that have dealt with all regulatory compliance requirements and have carefully designed a rebate campaign can avail of some different options for running such promotions. 

  • Mail-In Rebates: These are still very common for pesticides and involve placing a rebate form inside the packaging material. Customers then fill out the details and send the form off along with proof of purchase. 
  • Online Rebates: These can make collecting purchase details a lot faster, easier, and cheaper, and they can allow companies to issue rebate checks a lot quicker. 
  • Retailer Rebates: Gardening and home improvement stores can also be involved in rebates by offering incentives and discounts for improved product placements and recommendations in stores.
Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD)

The CBD industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors, and for a long time, it was in a gray area of not being classed as medication or a supplement. However, the FDA and FTC have taken steps to implement strict regulations when it comes to advertising and selling CBD products.

Common Issues

Here are some of the most important factors to consider before planning any marketing campaign for a CB product.

Consumer Safety

Similar to restrictions in the food and dietary supplement space, CBD products can only contain ingredients that are classed as generally safe to take. It’s not as strict as with medications, where you have to prove efficacy, but you can’t include ingredients that are known to cause issues. 

CBD manufacturers in the U.S. also have to abide by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines to ensure certain production, packaging, and distribution standards

Fair Advertising

There are also strict regulations about what manufacturers can say in their marketing materials about the health impacts of CBD. The FDA has not approved CBD as a drug for treating medical conditions, and therefore, manufacturers can’t claim that their products will help heal or cure diseases.

Age Restrictions

When it comes to marketing CBD products, manufacturers have to be careful to ensure that any advertising messages are not targeted at people under 18. And there are also restrictions on placements of CBD advertisements in media that would specifically target minors, as well as making it clear on the packaging that it’s only for adults over 18.

Quality Standards

CBD products also have to meet certain minimum standards for quality and purity. The difficulty here is that there are both federal and state regulations when it comes to purity and concentration, and it’s important to assess these before bringing a product to certain markets.

Rebate Options For CBD Companies

Manufacturers who ensure that they comply with all CBD industry regulations have multiple options when it comes to running rebate programs. And with the right approach, this can lead to increased sales and improved brand recognition. 

Here are some effective options for rebate sponsors in the CBD industry: 

  • Mail-In Rebates: Customers receive a rebate form with their product purchase and send off a few personal details along with the purchase receipt. 
  • Online Rebates: Rebate sponsors can also make this process a lot easier and more effective by providing a website or a QR code that allows customers to apply for the incentive rebate online. 
  • Retailer Rebates: There is also the option of running rebates through retailers by offering incentives for promoting products in a more prominent way. By ordering and selling more products during the rebate timeframe, they can achieve higher rebate amounts.

Find Out How Incentive Insights Can Support Your Rebates

Here at Incentive Insights, we have worked with many companies that deal with restricted and heavily regulated consumer goods. As a result, we know how important it is to handle all the necessary data accurately and in a time-sensitive way.
If you’d like to find out how we can simplify your consumer goods rebate management and make your marketing projects more effective, then call us today to find out more.
We can guide you through the process of how we handle local and national rebate programs and collect all the data using a tried and proven process.