Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FTC Tells CompUSA to Pay Up QPS Rebates

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the check's-in-the-mail dept.

The Almighty Buck 324

prostoalex writes "FTC told CompUSA they will have to keep their word on paying out rebates for QPS equipment purchased at CompUSA. QPS is currently bankrupt, according to the article, although it's not clear whether they went out of business before or after the promised 6-8 weeks deadline came. CBS MarketWatch says this should spur rebate re-evaluation among other electronic retailers. The habit of offering rebate incentives seems be especially notorious in the consumer electronics and computer hardware industries as a third of shoppers for such goods bought a product with a rebate offered. Reason for such popularity? 41% of shoppers never send in their rebates."

cancel ×

324 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Common sense (5, Insightful)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918483)

"41% of shoppers never send in their rebates."

Of course. It's too much hassle to sign a receipt and mail it to the company and wait a few weeks, in which they'll most likely forget all about the whole thing, and get a surprize $30 in the mail. Laziness costs more than cigarettes these days.

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918486)

Laziness costs more than cigarettes these days.

Addictive too.

Re:Common sense (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918492)

Moreso than sleep.

Re:Common sense (1)

Suburbanpride (755823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918507)

Well 14 weeks later and I'm still waiting for one from Fry's/viewsonic I wonder if the companies ever just "lose" stuff so they don't have to pay out. I'm too lazy to call up and try to track down my $30.

Re:Common sense (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918519)

That there is the reason why rebates work for the companies, it's a money maker. Now just times your statement by 100 and see for yourself, they are laughing all the way to the bank. Now ring them up and get your cash, DON'T be lazy!

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918923)

You cannot "Times" something. You cannot minus something or plus something. Is it so hard to figure out the English language or are people too lazy there too?

Re:Common sense (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918513)

Well considering the amount on peoples plates in modern life, remembering to send in a rebate to save $20, $30 when they have so much to consider doesn't seem unreasonable. The fact is offering rebates should be illegal because the reason they are offered is because they are burdening the customer with after sale Bullshit and schemes that amount to con-artistry.

The fact is they pump up the price and offer the rebate, and the rebate usually only brings the price of the item to 'market' value for someone who spends time looking for the lowest prices. Rebates are bait and switch, no bones about it.

I've sent in rebates I have not recieved. I also had rebates that "expire" by the company claiming that it "didn't get it on time" a month after the fact, when they should have recieved it within two days after mailing it.

There are actually 'expiry schemes' where they have expirations and the stores offering them continue to advertise 'rebates' knowing that the expiry will keep them from having to put out money, if they even do it at all.

The fact is, if you can't sell the item for the rebated price outright, you have no right to even offer the rebate in the first place.

Rebates should be illegal or legislated at the time of purchase (and advertisment of the rebate) the customer who bought it then does not have to worry about expiry.

Re:Common sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918666)

The fact is offering rebates should be illegal

I'm glad you're not in charge.

Re:Common sense (2, Interesting)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918710)

Why? Here in the UK they are, or at least the advertised price has to be the price you pay at the checkout. Doesn't seem to have done us any harm.

Re:Common sense (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918727)

Here in the UK they are, or at least the advertised price has to be the price you pay at the checkout. Doesn't seem to have done us any harm.

Same in the US. If you advertise that a product will ultimately cost you $100, but that you'll pay $150 at the register and can get $50 back on a rebate... well, that's exactly what happens unless someone is actually acting fruadulantly (and there are handy laws for that). Of course, there will always be some parties that will do what they can to make it hard to comply with some facet of the rebate transaction - but those are usually shady or fly-by-night-smelling retailers, and it seems pretty obvious. If enough money is involvd, one hopes that you know something about the retailer and manufacturer you're dealing with anyway... why buy a big ticket item from a someone you don't already trust?

Point is, it's illegal to lie about prices (rebate-related or not) in advertising or displays. Rebates, per se, have nothing to do with it.

Re:Common sense (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918850)

The point being that the product cannot be advertised as costing $100 in the UK (currency issues aside) - it must be advertised as costing $150. They can add a footnode about the rebate but few bother... in fact I've never seen a rebate here apart from £10 off a £200 printer once.

Re:Common sense (2, Informative)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918854)

Such a product would have to be advertised as $150 here. Because that's what you actually pay. It doesn't matter that you'll get some back later, if you're paying that much up front it needs to be advertised as that much.

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918681)

The fact is offering rebates should be illegal
That would be opinion, not fact.

The fact is they pump up the price and offer the rebate
Again not fact, at least not without a word like "sometimes" in there.

Rebates are bait and switch, no bones about it.
Not bait and switch, so I guess there are bones about it.

The fact is, if you can't sell the item for the rebated price outright, you have no right to even offer the rebate in the first place.
Most definitely not a fact.

Re:Common sense (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918682)

offering rebates should be illegal

Oh, please. What you mean is that fraudulantly offering an unredeemable rebate should be illegal, which it already is. Rebates are usually offered by the manufacturer, not the point-of-sale retailer. For the manufacturer, it's a form of advertising, and they usually let a third party handle the transaction, usually by snail mail. This takes time to process.

Rebates are bait and switch, no bones about it

No they're not. I've never seen a low price on a product that was low because of a rebate when that wasn't clearly marked as a factor in the price. True on tags, true in mailers, and on web sites. Someone who is shopping around for a low price on a competitve item should have the IQ to actually see and understand the words "after mail-in rebate."

Personally, I love the way that Costco [costco.com] handles it: you get a register receipt with a URL and code on it, you visit the site, spend 15 seconds keying in a scrap or two of info, and you get a check in a couple or few weeks, without fail. Another reason I spend every consumer dollar I can on worthy products there (I know, which means a lot of those dollars go to China - but unless you're looking for a $400 handcrafted New England birdhouse or something, that's where the commodity brands ship from these days).

I've never had a problem with a rebate from Best Buy, Circuit City (who sometimes redeem the rebates at the register), an allergy drug manufacturer, car parts vendors... come to think of it, I can only think of one that seemed to have gone un-payed, and it was from a local grocery store several years ago, and was hardely worth the stamp and the envelope.

If you think you've got a fraud problem with a retailer, go to the Better Business Bureau. If you think you've got a fraud problem with a manufacturer, talk to the FTC about that instance unless you know for a fact that they're scamming everyone (and five minutes on Google will tell you that). Otherwise, if you don't like rebates (and I understand - on the big ones, it's annoying to know that you're minus that cash flow for a month, but figure that lost dollar-or-so of interest into the price you just paid on that piece of hardware, and get over it), just don't buy stuff through those channels. Use eBay instead, or choose a brand that allows the retailers to take incentives off of their own costs, and represent that during the transaction (which is how car and most furniture dealers do it, but then you've got to know the scoop - with a rebate, the retailer can't pocket the difference if you weren't aware of the incentive).

But mostly, don't penalize honest retailers, manufacturers, and consumers with a body of regulation that won't have any impact on people who are already making the decision to operate outside of the law. When scammers are already using fake/impossible rebate schemes (which can be prosecuted), another regulation saying they can't isn't going to help unless you remove that entire marketing mechanism from the market. If your objective is to get more government involved in transactions between private parties, though, you're headed in the right direction.

Here's my beef (5, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918767)

"What you mean is that fraudulantly offering an unredeemable rebate should be illegal, which it already is."

Here's my beef.

Rebates in some theoretical sense are fine.

There's two things I have a problem with, one of them is philosophical, one of them is practical. Lets start with the practical.

I have in several cases, sent in rebates. I'm usually very careful. I have in several cases (a) not received a response ever or (b) The rebate fulfillment house claims I didn't send in enough paperwork (and well past the deadline for submission.

I have no recourse in these situations. I'm just out the money. And what's worse, nobody has an incentive to make this right, because the company is simply out money if its correct, and they get more money if I'm screwed.

On a more philosophical level, I have a beef with rebates. Lets go through this:

Merchant: Buy this widget for $2, and I'll give you $1 back in the mail.

Me: Why not just sell it to me for $1?

Merchant: Because I'm hoping you'll forget to send it in, and I won't have to pay you that $1.

You see? Its almost fraud but not quite. So from that viewpoint, I understand why people think it should be illegal to offer rebates.

But even if you disagree with my philosophical conclusion, how do you deal with the practical aspect of a system that has no ability to be corrected? Its like playing the lotto as to whether that rebate actually comes.

Re:Common sense (2, Insightful)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918697)

offering rebates should be illegal

We have too many laws already. We really don't need any more "protecting the stupid" type of laws. Really, have some faith in humanity. People can figure these things out for themselves. In the case that companies do things that are illegal, recourse is available in the courts.

Re:Common sense (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918785)

Who will protect the stupid? By definition, half of the population has below average intelligence. We don't tell mugging victims to shut up and learn Kung Fu.

The courts are the playground of the rich. Even if you had free legal help, you could wait years before your case came to trial. A small claims court, if available, is the only access that most people have to the legal system, other than being a defendant.

Re:Common sense (1)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918825)

Two words: Class Action.

Three words: (1)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918909)

Laywers get rich

Rebates are part of a flexible pricing plan (4, Insightful)

PenguinOpus (556138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918836)

I disagree with several of the posters here who say that rebates ought to be illegal and offer no value other than to return products to market value.

If the rebate is not paid, then that is fraud, otherwise:

Rebates are the equivalent of a flexible pricing plan that allow those people that care enough about the $20 to go through the hassle of completing the transaction. At this point most consumers are fully aware of the annoyance level and factor that in to their buying decision.

Poor/Parsimonious people who really need the product will follow through, get the discount and purchase the product. The rest will do so at some much lower hit rate (well below 50%).

This means that the price people pay varies based on need.

The result is that more people are able to buy the product so it can be manufactured and sold in higher volume (and therefore possibly at lower cost).

Regarding the cost benefit of rebates, I can state definitively that the best rebate deals at Fry's are usually selling products below cost of manufacture (eg 250G HDDs for $99, network hubs for $0). Sure, some products use rebates to return prices to the discounted price of their competitors but smart consumers can do the math, realize that, and decide if its worth the hassle.

Even without rebates, the airline industries pricing model, convenience-store pricing, and apparel industry off-season discounts are all examples of flexible pricing to capture different consumers at different times with exactly the same product.

As a lazy consumer, I wish everything were flat priced so I would never have to worry about whether I'm getting "screwed" by paying more than the best (or even average) price.
Legislating flat-pricing would be nice, but I believe it would end up producing higher-priced products overall.

Re:Common sense (5, Interesting)

wk633 (442820) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918546)

I read the directions and send them in religiously. Got a card back from Belkin saying I hadn't sent in 'some required information'. Not enough info on the card to tell me what information, or what rebate, or when. So what the hell do I do? Stop buying Belkin is about all I can do.

I get 90% of my rebates back, but those that I don't- I really have no recourse, and it's a ripoff.

You can win sometimes (5, Informative)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918706)

I read the directions and send them in religiously. Got a card back from Belkin saying I hadn't sent in 'some required information'. Not enough info on the card to tell me what information, or what rebate, or when. So what the hell do I do? Stop buying Belkin is about all I can do.

What I did in a similar situation was phone and ask what information was missing. The person said that she could not tell me. I told her that I wanted them to return everything that I sent. She smugly informed me that the rebate says that they can keep everything I send. No, I told her, it does not. It says that they may keep it if they pay the rebate. Since they were not paying the rebate, I wanted it back. Suddenly a supervisor got on the line and said that he was approving payment. I had the check in under a week.

Re:You can win sometimes (1)

artson (728234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918863)

" Suddenly a supervisor got on the line and said that he was approving payment. I had the check in under a week."

That's a good tip, thanks. It would be even more useful and informative if you gave the name of the company.

Re:Common sense (1)

bhiggins80 (823525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918876)

The best thing to do is vote with your $$$. I bought an SMC router with a mail-in "rebate". Too freakin 8 months to get it! I called in 5 times to see what the problem was...each time they're missing my State, or Zip code....but I live in Canada! Ask to speak to mgmt...Oh, there aren't any managers in today...ask for the person's name and they'd hang up on me. I finally had to tell them I'd filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau. After I did they my cheque arrived 2 days later via air mail. The rebate company actually advertised on their site how many applications they reject....100% scam, they reject everyone unless you threaten legal action.

Re:Common sense (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918635)

They often will intentionally make it difficult to submit the rebate by imposing arbitrary rules and conditions. My favorite is when the official rebate form is the size of a postage stamp.

Just ban rebates (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918494)

Rebates serve 3 purposes. One is to take advantage of people who don't send them in. Another is to trick people by offering rebates that expire too soon for people to actually get them (see Tiger Direct - rebates often expire in a few days). And lastly, in a corporate environment I've heard of _people_ getting rebates for corporate purchases - this amounts to a way of bribing purchasers or other such corruption. If you want to offer a discount, just reduce the price. There's no ethically decent reason for rebates.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918529)

Rebates are sadly a progression from just offering a discount. How do companies get people into their stores if their competitors offer the same discount price for the same product they bought it for off the same company? They are victims of a mass market I would of thought and they are trying to be different from one another.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918667)

This whole rebate thing is very rare in Australia - I've only had it happen once and that was after buying an Icom hand held air-band transceiver at Canberra airport. After a few expletives, I got the discount then and there.

I guess it doesn't sit well with Australians, otherwise I suspect it'd be common place.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

wk633 (442820) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918557)

in a corporate environment I've heard of _people_ getting rebates for corporate purchases

Heard of? I've heard of people using airmiles credit cards to make business purchases, and then use the points personally. I've heard of people fudging their time sheets. I've heard of people raiding the supply closet for back-to-school.

I'd like to see rebates go too, but that some people use them as a way to steal from their employer is hardly a reason.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

Talez (468021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918598)

The worst is when your boss buys the company computers on his credit card for frequent flyer miles.

Buying them 1 at a time because he only has a $2,000 limit and then having to wait for the beancounters to reimburse him is teh suck.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

putaro (235078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918609)

Ha - tell your boss he needs a raise if he only has a $2000 credit limit.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918856)

LOL - no kidding - who the fuck has a $2000 limit on their credit card? This guy must work for a felon or something.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918758)

There's a discover card ad near where I work with a picture of some smug, self-satisfied middle-manager type with the caption "I'm expensing lunch AND getting cash back bonus? Is that legal?"

Not only is using your personal card with rebates common, the credit card company is encouraging it. Of course the unstated assumption is that the guy has a dubious reason for expensing lunch and he's "getting away" with a meal on the company's dime.

But hey, at a certain level of the corporate food chain, it really does become corporate welfare -- mileage reimbursements, meals, phones and other gadgets, parking, ad nauseum. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the rest of us.

Gotta go, room service is delivering my dinner; ahh, another 75 free miles.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918733)

And lastly, in a corporate environment I've heard of _people_ getting rebates for corporate purchases

In many larger sized companies its difficult to get the money to the company, as the "right" way to account for the income is complex and varies.

Re:Just ban rebates (1)

metricmusic (766303) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918812)

fourth one is getting your name, and address for statistics and sending out marketing info. Its another way for them to get consumers who slip through by not buying online or using credit cards and the like in stores.

Re:Just ban rebates (2, Interesting)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918905)

fourth one is getting your name, and address for statistics and sending out marketing info

Exactly the reason I don't do rebates. My friends call to tell me about "great deals" they found in computer gear. Then say "That's right, you don't do rebates. Nevermind." If a company wants to give a good deal, give it. Don't make me jump through hoops and get put on your marketing list. When comparison shopping, I always just ignore the rebate.

Slipping a bit off topic... The last rebate I did wasn't for electronic gear, it was for allergy medicine. I really think the company was perpetrating insurance fraud. With prescription allergy medicine co-pays going through the roof, they offered to reimburse the patient's co-pay. This after they are refusing to have their medicine available without prescription (which would make customers pay full price for it without insurance). I sent in the rebate offer with a note on the slip saying "Do not put me on any marketing lists." They did anyway and I started getting mailings from them encouraging me to buy more of their medicine and send in more rebates. I called them and stated point-blank that because of their practices, I will not be purchasing their product again and I'd better not get another flyer from them. People have to do this or these corporations' business practices will just keep getting worse.

Retailers also like rebates because... (5, Informative)

GLowder (622780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918501)


Retailers generally get to report earnings based on dollars brought in at the register, _then_ they pay out rebates. So even if 100% of customers send in their 50% off rebates, ACME gets to report $100,000 in widget sales, when really they only sold $50,000 in widgets.

Re:Retailers also like rebates because... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918661)

salesmen like them as well as their targets are based on the dollar sales as well... as well as their commission...

it's more likely (1)

Vash_066 (816757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918502)

"41% of shoppers never send in their rebates." no, it's just that the company finds some little thing like "well part of your UPC code was gray and not the black that is required. Your rebate is now invalid" that people just buy it thinking they will do it but decide to hell with it when they get home.

Glad I don't have to deal with that. (5, Insightful)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918505)

I'm glad rebates of that kind doesn't exist over here. Here rebates are pretty much unheard of besides for groceries, and those are handled directly at the checkout, no mail-that-in-later stuff.

Doesn't take a genius to figure out that all that handling just makes it more expensive for the customers in the end.

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918565)

Where is here?

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918704)

Where is here?

Dunno, since you left out the clicky [slashdot.org] .

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918577)

We don't have that stupid sales tax they have some places there too. I mean, why can't they just add the bloody thing to the prices, and nobody would notice, but nooo; they have to add it when you're checking out so it's 96% impossible to calculate how much you're going to spend and find the money before checking out (and when you spend about 5 minutes finding out which money is which that *is* quite annoying.. whoever decided to make all your money so damn similar should be shot too!)

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918638)

>I mean, why can't they just add the bloody thing to the prices

Don't know what countries you're thinking about, but I'm in Sweden, and the price must be stated including tax -- that's the law.

The only exception is in business-to-business transactions.

>and when you spend about 5 minutes finding out which money is which

Are you talking about the euro, or what?

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918804)

Parent post talked about not having rebates over "here".. and referred to the US as there. I did the same.

I did the same. The laws are the same all over Europe, and the euro is a damn nice currency imho (still not as good Norwegian kroners ofc, because that is *my* currency).

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918858)

Alright, I'm sorry. I was under the impression that the US, with the exception of one or two states, didn't have sales tax (VAT).

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918883)

The US doesn't have sales tax. Most of the individual US states do.

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918918)

He was talking about the US. Please try to pay attention.

And yes that stupid sales tax is damn annoying, especially since as a visitor you *never* know in advance how much the stupid thing is and the sales people seem to think you're obviously a cretin for not knowing by heart the list of all the sales taxes in all of the US.

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. OT (1)

thesolo (131008) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918685)

Off Topic. Just wanted to mention that I love your signature. PoS has been a favorite of mine for a long time.

Re:Glad I don't have to deal with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918772)

Oh if only dentists offered rebates...

Rebates should be illegal (3, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918531)

Seriously. It's borderline fraudulent. There are laws to protect consumers, this should be added to it.

I have personally mailed in dozens of rebates in my lifetime. I have received less than half of these back. Sure, some probably got lost in the mail. But even though the USPS does suck, their success rate in delivering an envelope to its destination is still well over 90%. So what happened to the other 40% of my rebates?

Now I'm not gonna hire an attorney over a $20 rebate I never got, and they know this, so they can sit there and go "eeny meeny miny moe" and pick out every other rebate request and toss it in the trash.

They (the gov) don't even have to outlaw rebates. Just make it false advertising to put prices in ads or store displays with the rebate amount already subtracted.

USPS does not suck (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918572)

I have never had anything "lost" in the mail ...ever.

The problem usually lies in either end - before or after the USPS part - as inthe sender never sent it, or receiver lost it, etc.

The 13 years when I rented various houses, I mailed out the rent check every month and it always got there. That's 156/156 perfect deliveries. The USPS is awesome, and no I don't work for them :-P

Re:USPS does not suck (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918615)

You may just be lucky. While I usually get good service, sometimes the carrier never shows up, and sometimes he delivers the mail to the wrong address. Most carriers do a great job, but there are the exceptions.

Re:USPS does not suck (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918676)

While I usually get good service, sometimes the carrier never shows up [...]

I recently found out that the mail carrier doesn't go to our mailbox if there is no mail to deliver, so outgoing mail won't be picked up until I get new mail. Could this be what was happening in your case?

Re:USPS does not suck (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918739)

No. My mailbox is in a large group of mailboxes. The chances of none of us having mail to deliver is very small. My guess is that he had the day off, or was sick, and the post office couldn't get a replacement.

Re:USPS does not suck (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918870)

While I don't think the USPS is that bad considering the task they do when you stop and think about it, you've probably just never noticed anything lost in the mail. Based on the number of wrongly delivered items I get at my house (at least 1 a week), I conclude that 100% delivery is not achieved. Direct evidence is hard on this one. I send these miss-delived items back to the mail-carrier, but I'm sure many people open them or throw them away.

Your numbers are bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918625)

"even though the USPS does suck, their success rate in delivering an envelope to its destination is still well over 90%."

Dude. I've probably lived probably 2-3 times as long as you, and in that time, I can't remember the post office ever losing a letter.

That's not to say they don't.

But I'd guess their success rate is probably closer to 99.999%

Re:Your numbers are bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918745)

not the Parent but,

We lived in Oxnard,CA before the incorporation of the USPS and my parents had the mail delivered, including utility bills and phone, to my father's work in Santa Monica. It was because the local postal workers were notorious for dumping mail. Frequently, there would be stories in the newspaper of garbage workers discovering whole mailbags.

Nowadays mail is very reliable, but stuff still gets lost and good neighbors are valuable, because even the best carriers misdeliver. Once recently I had a knock on the door; it was a neighbor down the block with a rebate check.

Re:Rebates should be illegal (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918630)

After being burned a few too many times on rebates not paid, I always now send them in by certified mail. STILL had refusal to pay on some, with the claim it was never received. They know no one will take them to small claims court over a $20 rebate, so they just keep on scamming. Worst offender is some outfit in Florida that uses an NY state PO drop. For some reason, a wide variety of Fry's rebates are handled by this outfit. My guess is Fry's knows it is a scam and probably makes money this way.

Re:Rebates should be illegal (1)

bfields (66644) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918747)

My guess is Fry's knows it is a scam and probably makes money this way.

Or, just as likely, doesn't know it isn't a scam and doesn't see any incentive to actually investigate.

Which amounts to the same thing in the end.

--Bruce Fields

Re:Rebates should be illegal (3, Informative)

mjh (57755) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918831)

I have personally mailed in dozens of rebates in my lifetime. I have received less than half of these back.
Wow! This is really surprising to me whenever I read it, because it's so counter to my experience. I've mailed in (literally) a dozen rebates since November 2004, with most of them going out at the end of December. So far the only ones I haven't received back yet are the ones that aren't due back yet (the ones sent in February). And this has been my experience for years. Every rebate I've ever sent in, I've gotten back.

Of course, I'm pedantic about tracking this stuff. And I make a copy of everything I send in (including the stamped envelope). And I hand date the copy. Over the last 6-7 years of sending in rebates, I've received every single one. This is somewhere on the order of 50-60 rebates.

I don't really understand why my experience is so different than many other people's experience.

Re:Rebates should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918849)

Exactly my sentiments too.
Received 100% of rebates (> $3000.00 worth) over this past 5 years.

Some required followup work though. Just keep diligent records.

I usually photocopy everything and then write on the first page the date of submission and the expected $ amount. When the rebate arrives I just remove it from my pending file to my received file.

In the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918538)

I just hope that rebates don't come over to the UK. We hardly have any compared to the US but I find them so annoying! Leave them in the US for everyone's sake (ok, maybe not the companies..).

I deliberately don't consider rebates when buying (4, Interesting)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918541)

The article said 41% of consumers don't send in the rebate paperwork. Well I send in close to 100% of mine, and I fail to get the checks for about 41% of them. So they will maintain their 41% non-payment rate one way or another.

Now I stop thinking about rebates before purchasing and only buy based on the full price. If one thing is plain $50 and a similar product is $60 with a $20 rebate, I'll buy the $50 one.

If I do buy something with a rebate, after buying I'll send in the papers and hope to receive the money and if I get it, it's a bonus. But I won't factor it into my purchase decision because I don't trust that I'll actually get it.

Re:I deliberately don't consider rebates when buyi (4, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918620)

I had similar problems with some retailers.
From: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/8138630.htm

After being extremely diligent in filling out the paperwork and making sure that I adhered to all the requirements of the offer, my rebate was still denied by Maxtor (a digital storage manufacturer) because the paperwork ''wasn't received in time.'' If true, it would have meant that it took the postal service more than two weeks to move a letter about 20 miles from my home to the Miami rebate center. It was only after contacting the Better Business Bureau that was I able to get my request honored.

After doing an informal poll of some of my co-workers and associates, many of whom work with information technology, I was surprised to learn that almost all of them had had rebate requests denied. Unfortunately, many didn't send their requests via certified mail because the rebate amounts, often $5 to $25, didn't seem to warrant it.

After my experiences, I would suggest a few steps:

Read the rebate requests thoroughly. Many times, they require the actual register receipt and not a copy. Some will require that the rebate item is circled on the receipt even if it's the only item listed.

Keep physical and digital copies of your paperwork and receipts, including the envelope used to send the forms. This makes it easier to forward copies to the state consumer affairs department, Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau.

Submit the paperwork immediately. Retailers count on customers to lose receipts or forget to request the rebate.

Use certified mail to prevent the convenient excuse of ''late mail.''

If you're denied your rebate after complying with the offer, make sure to send your information to your state Attorney General's office. It can't take up your case directly, but it can help establish a pattern of activity.

The State Goverments likes it that way (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918556)

They really have no incentive to change it. Since the rebates NEVER refund the taxes, the states get a extra windfall in taxes.

It just another conspiracy to collect more taxes.

Re:The State Goverments likes it that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918889)

So why are there still rebates in states that don't have sales tax?

Hey CowboyNeal, RTFA (2, Interesting)

KarMann (121054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918579)

If you paid attention at the link [itfacts.biz] , 41% is how many forgot to send in rebates, amongst all those that didn't get rebates. The relevant amount you ought to have quoted (though it isn't as prominently place in the title) is, "Half of consumers never even try to get the rebates."

Re:Hey CowboyNeal, RTFA (1)

KarMann (121054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918586)

Oh, that goes for prostoalex, too, naturally, and maybe even more so.

Staples too (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918603)

i bought a 160 gig maxtor harddrive from staples that included a 35 dollar rebate, this was just after christmas (early January), i have yet to see it, i did see Staples spend a bunch on marketing these rebates in television commercials, seems to me that if staples would spend less on television advertising then they could afford to hire more manpower to handle these rebates...

Re:Staples too (1)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918810)

seems to me that if staples would spend less on television advertising then they could afford to hire more manpower to handle these rebates...

Fewer advertisements = fewer sales. If a store is selling less, how can it afford to hire more manpower?

Re:Staples too (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918847)

do you have any idea how much it costs to put one 15 second television commercial on the air??? probalby more than you make in a year...

Re:Staples too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918921)

And it brings in enough money through extra sales to pay for itself.

This is why (2, Insightful)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918616)

You know why 41% of people don't send in rebates? Because most of the time you never get your damn money. It's not worth the $10 or whatever to fight with customer service when your money never arrives. I even signed up for a recurring rebate for a drug prescription, and they sent me all the materials and a rebate card with my name on it; shortly thereafter came a letter saying that they had no record of me and couldn't issue my rebate. Then how did they issue my personalized rebate card?! This sort of fraud seems standard practice with rebates. It's no wonder nobody sends them in. I've given up.

Re:This is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918898)

I think it's a combination. Both the people who say they only get half their rebates back and those who say they get nearly 100% of them back are probably both telling the truth. The thing is, if there is any little detail wrong in your rebate, they won't pay you. Those who get 100% back are just more careful.

CompUSA Payments (0, Troll)

pinkfloyd43 (671712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918619)

WTF, CompuUSA is the seller, the mfg is responsible for the rebates! That is unless it was a CompUSA rebate, we are not getting the whole story here!

BTW, to the guy who posted he only received 41% of his rebates back, get a life. I get 100% of my rebates back, I think!

Re:CompUSA Payments (2, Informative)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918679)

WTF, CompuUSA is the seller, the mfg is responsible for the rebates!

CompUSA was advertising the rebates, as in "$XXX after rebate" pricing. They continued to do that even after they became aware that customers were not receiving the rebates and that the company offering them (QPS) was in bankruptcy. It's not like people went to CompUSA and plopped down $100 for a DVD-R drive only to be surprised to discover a $45 rebate in the box. These people were, by and large, enticed by CompUSA's advertisement, which promised a rebate.

Re:CompUSA Payments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918819)

The authorities call this aiding and abetting. They are co-conspirators in perpetrating the fraud.

Re:CompUSA Payments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918763)

we are not getting the whole story here!

You are getting the whole story. The problem is you have to actually read it to know the answer.

Do not forget those who live outside the USA... (4, Interesting)

InvalidError (771317) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918628)

1) Mailing the claim can cost as much as $10 with reception confirmation and other such options... make that $2 for plain enveloppe and international postal charges.
2) Cashing the refund can cost over $5 for people without USA-funds banking accounts.
3) Most rebates I have seen have a disclaimer that says they will be honoured at the manufacturer's sole discretion.

Because of this, I only buy into rebates when the base price suits me - FutureShop having a $110 CDN Audigy2 sale plus $45 mail-in is nice when the next lowest regular price around is $115 - this is how I discovered that USA rebates cost about $10 to claim... so that $45 rebate barely covered taxes, postage and cash-in costs so the card cost me about $110 net.

All in all, rebates are annoying and doubly so when they are in some other funds, not worth bothering with if under $20 - I prefer waiting a little longer until the "rebate" price becomes the regular price since rebates usually mean pending price adjustments and new models.

Professional writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918659)

for allegedly failing to pay rebates as promised to thousands of consumers in a timely manner.

The promises were made in a timely manner? Duh. I guess we can't complain too much about slashdot writing skills, when even the "professionals" are incompetent.

Percentages on second link confusing (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918668)

Half of consumers never even try to get the rebates. [...] Most who missed out on the rebates forgot to redeem them (41%). Others lost the forms, receipts or product bar codes (25%), didn't feel the rebate was worth the effort (20%) or thought the redemption process was too complicated (14%) [...]

The above is unclear to me (or incomplete). Does it mean the following?

  • 50% successfully claimed
  • 50% unclaimed
    • 41% forgot
    • 25% lost required materials
    • 20% didn't bother; not worth it
    • 14% didn't bother; too complex to figure out

If so, the first sentence is confusing because it only includes the last two categories. This would also mean that only 20% of consumers forgot their rebate (41% of the 50% who didn't get the rebate)

My rebate story (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918715)

I recently purchased something at Frys, they PRINTED OFF my rebate form. I sent it in, after filling it out. I was notified that I had not purchased the product in the proper time period. The only reason I purchased the product was because it was free (a book). Anyway, I'll not be a customer of that fraud anymore. More people should do the same if they are cheated.

I've had fairly good luck so far.. (1)

lennywood1 (571226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918716)

as a matter of fact, I've received almost $200 in rebate checks in the last 3 weeks alone.. $100 for my cell phones from Cingular, iomagic, intuit, etc.. Sure, it takes more like 12-14 weeks instead of the 6-8 they promise. the IOMagic rebate was more than 4 months old.. Only rebate I ever had a problem with was a $100 rebate on a laptop from Tiger Direct, but after a few emails and irate phone calls, they're processing the rebate now.. The big thing is you need to keep copies of EVERYTHING. receipts, completed rebate forms, etc. I even date the photocopies and store them in case I either dont get a rebate, or I get a letter saying I "forgot" something. usually sending copies of everything I sent them with a sternly worded letter clears that right up.. I've also found that if you go someplace like Office Depot or officemax, they'll offer a substitute item if they're out of stock for the price AFTER the rebate, so, sometimes it pays to wait a day or 2 and not be there banging on the door sunday morning..

Staples Rebates (5, Informative)

shancock (89482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918717)

If we must have rebates, I have to admit that Staples is the way they should go. You get instant online verification of your rebate, no waiting 6 weeks to get a postcard that states you supplied incorrect information.

The rebates at Stapes are handled online very quickly and you have a tracking number to follow. Everything is upfront and out in the open.

I had one item that was disallowed this past Christmas and since it was online and there was recourse (email), the problem was cleared up within days. I had records on my computer and everything worked. Very nice.

Re:Staples Rebates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918743)

Or... they could just knock the amount off the cost and be done with. I hate seeing

[super large font] Only $82.99 [/super large font]

[super tiny font] After $299 rebate [/super small font]

If only 59% of the customers return rebates why not just fit that into the bill? Gonna give a $100 rebate? Just knock $59 off the price and you're back to square one. Except now you don't have to handle accepting rebates [*] and mailing out cheques. So you actually save money.

[*] Though rebates a big scam anyways. My LG super drive came with a $30 rebate which I mailed in 2 months ago and haven't seen word-one from since and I don't expect to. So even though only 59% of the custmers send in their rebates I doubt anywhere close to 59% actually get the rebate.

The only reason stores don't just do "traditional" sales *IS* because they screw the customers on the rebates.

I typically don't buy anything "because of a rebate". I waited for my laptop to go on a "real" sale before I bought it for instance...

Tom

This is too familiar (4, Informative)

bblazer (757395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918748)

About 6 years ago I did a stint as a low level manager at a CompUSA in the northwest while I was between jobs. Rebates were a constant thorn in my side. Every weekend a flyer hit the paper offering about 10 different items that were "free after rebate." People would line up out front waiting for the doors to open. Then they would rush in and grab up all of our stock of that item. Then the fun began. Those people who came in after the rush would get belligerent that we didn't have any more and start big scenes in the store. Or, we wouldn't have enough rebate forms for everyone. I was also always dealing with customers that never got their rebate, or got a card telling them that they didn't handle the process correctly and were not going to receive their money. What most seem to not understand is that 99% of the rebates that were offered were given buy the manufacturer, not CompUSA. Our sales agreements forced us to offer these rebates, then we were forced to deal with inventory and coupon shortages caused by the vendor, and the customers that never got their check. VERY, VERY, rarely did CompUSA offer their own rebate. But since we were the retailer those with problems came to use for resolution. I felt bad for them that I was not able to help. Corporate policy forbade us from giving them anything as compensation (the thought was that WE did not own them, the vendor did, so why does it have to come off our bottom line). My thought is that we possibly made money off the transaction, so we should do something. But in the end it was a lose-lose situation.

Well guess what.. you have to now! :) (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918869)

Corporate policy forbade us from giving them anything as compensation (the thought was that WE did not own them, the vendor did, so why does it have to come off our bottom line

Well, I guess the FTC just changed that corporate policy! (and it's about time!)

By the way, I got stiffed on a 60 dollar rebate for a Seagate hard drive by Comp USA. Seagate claimed they never received it, even though it was sent with tracking (which proved it had been delievered)

Company expense - personal rebate (3, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918782)

I used to buy supplies (monitors, printers) on company expense and make a copy of the receipt before turning it into accounting. Then mail in the rebate myself and have it sent to my home. Cha-ching.

Re:Company expense - personal rebate (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918852)

Many companies would consider that theft.

There have always been problems with salesmen who offer "gifts" to purchasing agents in an effort to make the sale. Buy a case of somewhat overpriced toner cartridges and get a cheap prize. It's one step away from a kickback.

41% sounds low, especially for CompUSA (1)

krygny (473134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918811)

Several years back, CompUSA used to have so-called "Power Buys" on the back page of their circular, where you would buy an item and get rebates for the full purchase price, resulting in the item being free except for the tax. I took advantage of these often and got all kinds of free stuff like speakers, floppys, sound cards, mice, keyborads, etc. It was all junk but it was free.

But actually collecting on the rebate required extreme vigilence. I would follow the instructions to the letter (difficult enough and sometimes impossible). I'd have about a 4-day window to make the purchase, another 10 days in which to mail the rebate, then I'd wait 8-12 weeks for the check. It would never come. Then, I would call the 800# and they would say they never got it. I would have to fax the copies of everything I sent. Then, and only then, would they send the check. The check would show up weeks later looking like a postcard or other piece of junk mail just begging to be thrown out.

I always wondered:
What % ever send in the rebate at all?
What % send it in on time?
What % remember they even sent it?
What % made copies they could fax in to prove they sent it?
What % dipose of the checks as junk mail?
What % deposit the check within the 60-day period before it becomes invalid?

The rebate company is always a 3rd-party that probably contracts from the store or manufacturer for, say, $100,000 worth of rebates for which they get paid $50,000. I can't imagine them paying out more that 10% on most rebates/promotions. The rest is their profit.

Re:41% sounds low, especially for CompUSA (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918887)

The whole rebate scam seems like a great piece for one of those sensationalist TV investigative journalism shows to do - they have the resources to buy lots of shit, document everything, follup, then make every American scared. Anyone know if it has been done?

Damn statistics ... (2, Informative)

tajan (172822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918821)

41% of shoppers never send in their rebates.

If your read the very poorly written article, it appears that 41 % of those who missed out on the rebates just forgot to redeem them. There is no figure about how many people actually send the rebates, and no figure about how many of them did receive their payment.

Beside, the quoted article seem to be based on another article, whose link is broken ...

More info about the study behing those figures can be found here [npdtechworld.com] .

What a load of Bull**It! (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918842)

Despite the FTC's action, the case is an anomaly among stores' rebate programs, said Mike Gatti, executive vice president of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a division of the National Retail Federation, a trade group representing 1.5 million retailers.

Rebates are one place where I believe a LOT MORE federal govt. oversight is needed!

I used to do a lot of rebates and have found that over the past year, a much greater percentage of rebates are NOT being fufilled.

I think that GETTING a rebate is an anomaly these days!

What I'd like to know is how come the postal service loses so much mail that's supposed to go to the rebate processors (so they claim), yet all my other mail seems to arrive everywhere else without problem.

Do these lying sacks of S**T really believe that we buy their crap?

100% of the time I... (1)

shoppa (464619) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918846)

I never buy any product that has any advertised rebate offers.

Filliing out the form and sending it in with the hope of getting money is like sending my E-mail address to a spammer to "opt out". They're already in a scummy industry, why should I trust them with anything in the hope of getting something?

I'd love to see rebates go away (1)

Phil Karn (14620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918875)

Having had my fill of Fry's "rebates", with all the little deadlines and requirements for original UPC codes, etc, hidden in the fine print, I'd love to see them just go away. You know that most rebates must never be claimed; the cost just to process each rebate claim probably rivals the face value of the rebate.

I've stopped buying much stuff at Fry's anyway. Nowadays if I need something generic like a hard drive and I can wait a day, I'll usually just order it online from Newegg or some other nearby e-tailer for the same or an even lower price as Fry's, and there's no paperwork hassle.

Rebates are a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11918897)

Never got anything back. Avoid companies that offer you mail-in rebates.

Another rebate story (1)

mr.gson (458099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918917)

I sent in the rebate form for a Maxtor hard drive in October 2003 and promply received a confirmation e-mail. Now, 17 months later, despite three e-mail complaints and one complaint to the FTC, I still haven't received a check. The rebate tracking page [trackmyrebate.com] has been promising it "in 10 to 15 days" for 15 months now. Guess what brand of hard drive's I'm no longer buying?

Costco does it right (2, Informative)

today (27810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918928)

When Costco has rebates, they print a URL on your charge slip plus a rebate code. Go home, type in the rebate code, and it tells you right then and there whether or not the rebate info is good. Takes a couple weeks to get the check after that. You can check status on multiple rebates you might have.

Best Buy/eMachines are pretty good with this (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11918929)

I've done several hundred dollars in rebates on eMachines through Best Buy and they work. They take so damn long you forget but they work. Just be prepared to wait about 6 months.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>