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Incentives and Rebates

It is UC San Diego's policy to negotiate either quantity or trade discounts in lieu of accepting incentives or entering into rebate agreements with suppliers for all methods of purchase.

University employees are not to accept incentives or offers for rebates without the explicit advance approval of UC San Diego’s Chief Procurement Officer.

If you care to propose incentives or rebate agreements, you must *contact the director of Strategic Procurement who will review the conditions of the offer to determine if:

  • It is reasonable
  • More favorable prices are available from other suppliers
  • Either the rebate or incentive value can be applied toward the purchase price

See Also

Conflict of Interest Policy


Incentives are deliberate enticements offered by a supplier to encourage a purchase. Incentives are tangible non-monetary benefits to the recipient and include any value-added goods and services offered at no charge to either the buyer or UC San Diego.

Examples include:

  • Extra goods or services
  • Gifts
  • Tickets to an event
  • Free merchandise

It is inappropriate for UC San Diego, as a public institution, to accept either property or a service that is difficult to identify as tangible and administer to the benefit to UC San Diego.


Rebates are offers from the supplier either to return part of the cost of the order to the buyer or to provide additional consideration or compensation to encourage the purchase of goods and/or services.

Examples include:

  • Cash or credit based on total purchases
  • Value-added goods or services offered at a substantially reduced price
  • Checks to either the buyer or the university

If a manufacturer rebate is offered on a purchase, policy requires that the rebate check is made payable to the Regents of the University of California.

Rebates offered in the form of credits against future purchases or for goods or services at a substantially reduced cost are generally not accepted because of the administrative difficulty of tracking these credits and determining the sales and use tax associated with the resulting transactions.


The Chief Procurement Officer has the authority to review the conduct of any employee if it could involve non-compliance with the conduct & ethics, anti-kickback policy, conflict of interest, employee-vendor relationships, or incentives and rebates guidelines. In the course of a review, the Chief Procurement Officer may consult with Human Resources, the Office of Contracts and Grants, Conflict of Interest, department management, and any other appropriate source.

If the circumstances warrant an independent investigation, policy provides that Audit and Management Advisory Services be notified to conduct an investigation. The results will be reported to the purchasing director and/or other department management.