We recently let our Better World membership lapse. I like Better World and recommend them to anyone shopping for an auto club, but our insurer offers roadside assistance at a price that can’t be beat.
I heard about Better World through Car Talk back when I used to listen to NPR. (Another Katrina casualty. After the storm I was only interested in local news. Though lately I’ve found myself sneaking surreptitious listens to All Things Considered when I’m in the car.) Better World is supposed to be an eco-friendly alternative to AAA, and I suppose they are.
But there’s one aspect of the Better World program that always mystified me. Actually I don’t know if it was offered by them directly. It might be a side benefit.
I’m talking about their gas rebate program. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You get rebates on the gas you buy. Every year they send you a sheet of four little forms, one for each quarter. The forms can be returned, along with receipts proving gas had been purchased, to a shadowy outfit somewhere in Florida. For each form returned you get a check for $10.
What’s especially weird, to my way of thinking, is they didn’t even require a minimum amount you had to spend, or minimum number of purchases, and in fact they accepted receipts which couldn’t even be clearly identified as being for gasoline. I mean, one time I sent in a generic receipt for a cash purchase without any identifying information of place or time or product — they accepted that, and sent me a check for $10.
Does that make any sense at all? I couldn’t figure it. Still can’t. Who would pay people to consume gas? Or does this actually have anything to do with gas? Where does this money come from? Is it some sort of nefarious scam, or perhaps a super-rich crazy guy who loves to collect receipts?
There was precious little explanation on the forms themselves. Nothing to explain the rationale.
I’ve got my final check for $10 sitting in front of me now. When I cash it, I guess I’m off the gravy train.
Or am I? There appears to be some sort of program at GasRebate.net though I’ll be damned if I can figure it out either. Their FAQ doesn’t answer the most glaring and obvious question: Who’s paying for this and why?
So why all the mystery? Can someone please explain this to me? It’s making my brain hurt.