Rebate Rip Off,
No Matter How You Spell It, It's Still a Rip Off!!!
Rebate Rip Offs, Rebate Rip-offs, Rebate Ripoffs
Perpetrated by Manufacturers, Retailers, and Rebate Centers
This Consumer Alert Page is Sponsored by Al Ruscelli Photography
League City, TX
Have Any Comments or Suggestions?
Manufacturers, Retailers, and Rebate
(The Consumer Rebate Rip-off Axis of Evil).
Like a growing number of people out
there who purchase consumer electronics, we are getting sick and tired of
the rebate rip offs being perpetuated by entities that issue rebates (or fail
to do so) on behalf of such companies as CompUSA and Fry's Electronics (to
name only a couple) and the manufacturers whose products they sell. We're tired of being ripped off! And we're
going to throw in our two cents right here and use the search engine
popularity of our website to advertise our disgust with the situation.
Whether these companies like CompUSA
and Fry's Electronics are to blame, or blame also lies with the companies
producing the products they sell (for instance, Microsoft and Thermaltake),
there is still what we feel an unacknowledged and near conspiratorial
cooperation amongst these entities that allows the rip offs to continue.
It seems as though the majority of rebate rip-offs are done in collusion
with those hard-to-identify, third-party rebate centers who are supposed to
actually issue the rebates. I'm sure it's the rebate centers
themselves who should shoulder the initial direct blame. After all,
they are the ones in the position of allowing or denying rebate claims. But hey, it's
a team effort here! They're likely all in it together, to at least a
certain extent. I mention both CompUSA and Fry's Electronics, as well as Microsoft and
Thermaltake, because I was recently denied rebates by all when in fact I had adhered
very strictly to their requirements for submitting the rebates. Yet
the rebate centers sent notices informing me that I had not properly
documented the rebate requirements or not made purchases within the rebate
deadlines (both false).
Specific instances where we
were personally ripped off include purchase of
the Microsoft Windows XP Upgrade via CompUSA (with a supposed $50 rebate) and purchase of
a Thermaltake Tsunami PC case via Fry's Electronics (with a supposed $30
rebate). While this does not sound like a lot of money, when you take
these kinds of nonpayments and multiply them thousands upon thousands of
times over, there is someone out there making a lot of money by rebates not
being paid. Sure, some rebates get paid. And some are
legitimately denied based on the customer not meeting the rebate
requirements. But many are just never paid and unjustifiably denied.
Make the rebate look easy to get. Make the reality of collecting a
pain in the butt. Keep the money yourself. Get rich little by
little. I'm not so much griping about the $80 in these two instances
as I am about the principles involved. At this point, I want to make
sure that they know I'm going to at least take small steps to make these
rip-offs end. The more bad publicity my small web page brings these
guys, the better.
Consumer Rebate Ripoff Strategies
A Few of the Variations Used by Retailers, Manufacturers and Rebate Centers
In the store, make sure the
rebate signs are very enticing and honest in appearance. Make the
consumer really feel they are getting a virtually "on sale" item rather than
a potentially rip-off level rebate. Dangle that rebate bait!
Promise the rebate so far in
the future that the consumer will forget it was ever submitted.
Make the paper trail too
complex to encourage proper tracking by the consumer.
Be vague about what needs to
be submitted, especially in terms of UPC label or proof-of-purchase tag.
If actually sending out a
rebate check, send the consumer the rebate in the form of an envelope or
card that won't be recognized as a rebate check. Make it look like
junk mail so that the consumer unknowingly throws it out as just another
piece of junk mail, thus never cashing in.
If rejecting a rebate, send
the consumer a vague notice on why the rebate was rejected.
Make it difficult for
the consumer to contact the rebate center unless they are willing to wait on
hold for long periods of time until a representative becomes available.
At all costs, make sure that
the degree of difficulty in submitting and collecting the rebate is so time
consuming that the consumer will value their own time more than they value
the dollar amount of the rebate. (If the rebate is denied at least
once, the consumer will not likely contest the decision.)
Consumers: Remember this About Rebates and Sales
An item with an associated
rebate is not an "on sale" item. You will still be taxed on the full
purchase price of any item that has a rebate associated with it, while an
"on sale" item will at least get you a sales tax break.
Buy an item for $100 that has
a $50 rebate, you'll still pay sales tax on the original $100 price.
Buy an item that's originally $100 but on sale for $50, and you'll only pay
sales tax on the $50 sale price.
So, when you go in and
purchase an item with a rebate on it, and the rebate center does not issue
you a rebate, you've essentially been enticed into buying an item at full
price, paying full taxes on it, and having insult added to injury when you
don't receive a rebate. And all the time thinking you're at least
going to get a rebate out of the deal.
The Retailer / Manufacturer/ Rebate Center Unwritten Rip-off
"We don't make profits by
issuing rebates. We make profits by NOT issuing rebates."
"When a loyal customer makes
a purchase in good faith, repay them with unethical actions as long as it
suits our puposes. Who'll know?"
"Customers are only numbers,
not real people. Numbers don't need money. We do."
"Screw the customer.
The screw them again. What are they going to do about it?"
"Do whatever you can to get
the customer to trust you. Then rip them off."
We Have Personally Been Ripped Off by the Following
This one on behalf of Fry's Electronics, Thermaltake, and
the associated Rebate Center
P.O. Box 15800
Scottsdale, AZ 85267-5800
This one on behalf of CompUSA, Microsoft, and the
associated Rebate Center
P.O. Box 42930
Mesa, AZ 85274-2930
Someone help me with this:
What's the deal with all these rebates going through places in Arizona?
Are the rip-off artists making their money then retiring to Phoenix
This Consumer Rebate Rip-off Alert Page
Sponsored by Al Ruscelli Photography
League City, TX
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or send us pertinent information to add to this page?
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