Posted by: winteridge | September 9, 2007

NO Soup for You!


Don’t you just hate rebates? I used to wonder why the manufacturer or retailer didn’t just deduct a rebate from the selling price, but then it was explained to me that over half of buyers don’t bother to apply for a rebate, especially after a couple of bad experiences, then half of those that do apply have them “lost” or rejected, then if the retailer can issue you a cash card instead of actual cash, it is only costing them 10% or so of the face value. And of course, the rebate program is always “outsourced” to India or Pakistan or somewhere. I think those folks get paid not by the number of customers they service, but the number of rebates they can refuse.

My latest experience was with one of those big-box stores, I call it Lowdepot. We needed to replace our kitchen cooktop, and appliance stores have pretty much gone the way of the hardware store. These guys (we actually found someone to wait on us) had an offer for free delivery, but -uhoh-only if we sent in all the papers for a cash rebate. I filled out all the forms, copied receipts and packing slips, and sent it away to Arizona. Why are those folks in Arizona or Idaho all named Mahak and Raju and Livina? I tried their website, but that option was not working. Uh-oh.

After waiting the usual 60 days with no reply, I started trying to track the rebate by email, phone, whatever. Of course, they had no record of my submission, did not seem to be aware of such a program, even though it is still on their website. However, as I am a good customer and they don’t wish to make me unhappy, they would send me a Lowdepot gift card for the $55. One has to wonder if there ever was a rebate program at all. Now I have to go back and find something else to buy. Crafty!

Of course, I have been the route before, having done computer rebates with Dell and Apple, and lots of software programs with Staples. Staples finally have organized their online rebates so they work most of the time, and they even do some instant ones when you buy the product. That’s the way it should be. Apple came thru with a bit of urging…Dell is very disorganized. I once fought them for 6 months on a computer rebate. Raju and Mahak refused my $200 because they had not noted on the packing slip that a rebate was due (and that’s my fault?). Luckily I had printed out the offer from their website. They offered me $50, then $100, then finally their “customer service” person came thru and paid me, after I threatened the NY Attorney General and Better Business Bureau. All that is totally unnecessary, and creates much ill will, but they still keep doing it. And of course, some stores have perfected their rebate processes so you never get anything. No soup for you!

I just hate the way retailing is going in this country. It’s a good thing I don’t have to buy much anymore.  The best approach, in the long run, is to walk away if a rebate offer is involved.

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Responses

  1. I thought about this a lot when I worked in the call center. Now we buy things from national stores that are just like every other store in the country. When we need to call them, we call a central number that goes to a call center that is outsourced to another company. Could be in Iowa, could be in Texas, could be in a prison in Georgia, could be in Singapore. Those people don’t actually work for the store and only know what’s on their computer.

    Lately I’ve been going out of my way to only buy things from local stores run by real people. For some things it’s impossible.

  2. And now finally all these retailers are getting their just desserts, it seems, for their bad customer services. Unfortunately, many of us are going to go down with them!


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