As part of the town's perceived obligation to protect its residents from getting fleeced, the town should have a program to accept donations of unpaid claims (such as unpaid manufacturers' or retailers' rebates) to the town, by assignment together with copies of the underlying documentation. The documentation should consist of the rebate offer, the purchase receipt, any related advertising, rebate instructions, proof of payment, and correspondence relating to the rebate application, together with a statement in writing to describe the events. The donor would receive a receipt from the town for the donation, together with a valuation of the donation. Such valuation, it could be argued, should be more than the unpaid rebate itself, to reflect the donor's right to other damages, including punitive damages. However, this should be done with great moderation, because of the vagaries of litigation, and the amounts and costs of recovery. Perhaps a valuation of $100 to $300 would be appropriate for rebate claims under $100. In due course the town will gain experience working with claims of this type and be able to calculate a fair market value of a rebate claim.
The town, hopefully through its town attorney general, would bring suit against the manufacturers, retailers and rebate processing firms responsible for fraudulent rebate offers. This litigation would probably be settled by the defendants for a reasonable amount, making it quite profitable for the town to be involved in such collection activity. When a defendants decides to play hardball litigation and go all the way, the town may well wind up with a major windfall in very substantial punitive damages, together with 100% of its legal fees, thus giving the town backbone or a willingness to purchase these claims and demand top dollar for their settlement.
The donor would receive a tax deduction amounting to a multiple over the actual rebate amount involved, which for most taxpayers would provide a value to the resident donor of more than the amount of the rebate, which in many instances (but for the town's rebate collection program) the resident might not even have taken the time to try to obtain.