FTC Cracks Down On CompUSA Over Bogus Rebate Program

from the ah,-that-again... dept

The rebate scam used by consumer electronics firms is fairly well known. Basically, the retailers advertise a very low price, but the only way to get it is to pay a much higher price and send away for a rebate (which many people forget to do). However, most of these retailers contract out the rebate programs to firms who have the incentive to figure out ways to deny or delay your rebate. This includes common tactics like denying the rebate for some random reason or waiting until you called to send out the rebate (and then telling you "it just went out yesterday..."). While it's always done by third party firms, it looks like the retailers are finally getting in trouble for the practice. Last year, the state of Ohio cracked down on Best Buy for rebate failures, and now the FTC and CompUSA have settled charges concerning false rebate info, including delaying payments (promised in six to eight weeks) for many months.
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  1. identicon
    J. Owens, 14 Dec 2006 @ 9:51pm


    Staples, Hamilton, Oh advertised Rebate Offer Number 2016097 to purchase a HP Laser Jet 3390 10-8-06 through 11-4-06 and receive $350.
    back. We did so and have a copy of the receipt. The rebate was properly submitted through the mail as the "easy rebate" online would not work. Fortunately, we kept a copy of the completed rebate form. Approximately 5 weeks later, I checked on this rebate. Initially, we called the Staples number and subsequently received three numbers
    to call starting with: Staples--1-877-266-6483; the representative there told me that Verizon at 1-888-826-4932 was handling the rebates. I spoke to a supervisor there who said that was not true at all. I
    then called Staples again and was given the HP number of 888-385-5410 and spoke with KIM ID #4745. (In checking with the HP site concerning
    our rebate, the automated form that HP has on their site that there is a problem with our submission. It does not say what the problem is. This is when the telephone contact was finally made and Kim ID #4745 stated that the printer was not purchased in the right time frame. I explained to her that it was the correct time frame and and that I had a receipt to prove it. Her next excuse was that our
    rebate offer number was different from the one she had on file.. I then explained that I had kept a copy of the completed mailed rebate formand that the offer number was printed on this form and that I could send her a copy of this. She said she would need "a couple of weeks to work on this." I also received several e-mails in response to my inquiries
    at Staples. This e-mails made contradictory statements and basically ignored my information and then asked that for the same information
    that I already submitted. I was also told that
    this was a mail-in rebate program and to mail it in--this was requested even though I had already explained all the previous circumstances and that it had been mailed and denied. I was also told that an "outside fulfillment" company was handling these rebates requests and to contact the phone number printed on the redemption form--there is no phone number on this. One excuse after another. I have filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney
    General's Office.

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