Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More rebate complaints

This article summarizes some past rebate fiascos:
The history of rebates is replete with programs that have been, to put it kindly, less than consumer-friendly.

Microsoft once offered a $300 rebate on a software upgrade but required customers to send in a UPC code from the box for the original software.

Cell phone maker Samsung paid $200,000 to settle a case in New York involving 4,100 residents of apartment buildings whose rebates were wrongly rejected. It turned out the rebate system only allowed one rebate per address but couldn't account for apartment numbers.

And consumer electronics retailer CompUSA was charged by the FTC for failing to promptly pay rebates.

The government alleged that CompUSA advertised rebates from one of its suppliers even after it knew the company was failing to pay rebates, Gold said.
This item details two more actions by the FTC:
  • "The Commission’s complaint against the InPhonic alleges that, in connection with its advertised rebate offers, among other things, the company failed to provide promised documents needed to obtain rebates, to send out checks in the time promised, and to disclose adequately certain material terms and conditions prior to purchase."
  • "The Commission’s complaint against Soyo, Inc., alleges that most of Soyo’s rebates were delivered late – in some cases, consumers had to wait a year or longer for their checks to arrive."
And this one details another problem -- a manufacturer has failed to give their processing firm funding for the rebate checks, with Office Depot ending up making the rebates good.

The whole rebate business has such a bad reputation no that I wonder why manufacturers continue to associate their brand with it. Well, okay, I do know -- it pumps up sales. Sales up, brand image down.

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