How can the way rebate systems are run be legal?
If a company offers a rebate and punts customer service, it’s in their interest to pay out as few as possible without being sued. It doesn’t matter why they deny your rebate, you have no recourse. There’s really no place to go to complain that they ripped you off.
For instance. When I bought my beloved Mac laptop months ago, I was eligible for a ton of rebates, and I applied for them all, what with being unemployed. So I sent in all the stuff, and I was super extra-careful because I was leaving for my vacation and wouldn’t be around to answer mail for a while. One of them was denied for failure to enclose some random piece of information – which I did. So I called Apple up.
Me: Hey, I just got this denial notice that said I didn’t include the receipt, but I did, and I sent all that stuff in.
Them: Well, we don’t have it, so you need to send in a new one.
Me: I don’t want to be a pain, but this really is someone’s fault on your end, and it’s a ways for me to my nearest Apple Store to get a duplicate receipt… is there any way you can just check my submission? You got the other two things I know were in there…
Them: Nope, the only thing you can do is get another receipt.
Annoying, but whatever. So then I got a shredder with some rinky-dink rebate at Staples that I totally, entirely qualified for, this time thinking “Okay, 50% chance I get denied on the rebate, it’s still a decent price”. Denied, for essentially no reason: I looked it up and it said “invalid rebate parameters” or something.
Then I got to fight with their people, where I had to point out
1) It was within the date range for the rebate
2) It was submitted within x days of the purchase
4) You need to give me my money
I understand why companies give out rebates: if x% of the purchasers don’t remember to redeem it, they make a huge profit. But my experience with these things is that they’re pushing the boundaries to the point where it’s
1) Offer rebate
2) x% of people eligible apply = profit
3) Deny rebate to applicants
4) y% of x% fight the blanket denial = much more profit
It’s fraud, really, on a massive scale, and I’ll spare everyone the rant about law enforcement priorities, but it boggles my mind that Staples and all these other companies you can google to find thousands of complaints about their rebate policies can keep at this. It’s depressing.