Sunday, July 20, 2008

rebate madness

I was dazzled by the promise of the rebate high. Yes, I'll take it, I told the cocky, condescending little (he weighed less than me) salesman. Yes, I'll copy my receipt right away. I'll mail in the rebate form without delay. All of the promises of redemption solemnly made by the rebate addict.

Of course, I didn't copy the receipt right away. It sat in my appointment book where the dreaded smudge occurred.

What is it with today's receipts? Printed on soft, shiny paper, the fragile figures smear and fade, so that come tax time all the important numbers have disappeared. Its a conspiracy, but by whom? And for what purpose, exactly?

The store logo is there, however. Indelible, for the world to see. How is that? They've somehow figured out how to leave their permanently legible, fireproof, will survive in a nuclear holocaust advertisement.

But I digress. The rebate form, also printed on this shiny paper, has two critically smudged numbers: the rebate number and the P.O. Box number where the form gets mailed for processing. I've heard it said, if one tiny number is incorrectly copied, NO REBATE FOR YOU, SUCK-UH!

So I spent the better part of my Saturday afternoon with my strongest reading glasses on, under the brightest reading lamp, trying unsuccessfully to deciper the smudged numbers. Got my son involved in the investigation with his perfect vision. Together we pieced together a few more numbers with a bit more clarity but not the whole series.

Panic rising, I then follow the "What to do if you have questions" portion of the form. It directs me to to the Office Despot website. Click on the supciously cheery link, "If you're looking for a mail-in savings form, you're in the right place."

More hard-to-read numbers are required: Product SKU, Model Number and Offer Number, none of which are labeled as such on the receipt. But I make a determined effort, tentatively plugging in scads of alpha-numerics. Press "SUBMIT" and .... The webmaster's reply: "No records were found that matched your request." Again and again, failed attempts to deliver the website generated mail in form. Arghghgh.

"This is exactly why they offer these %$^#$! rebates!" Says SAM.

"That and the corporate powers intend to keep consumers confused and sleep deprived so we'll hand over our credit cards without hesitation." Say I.

This image lifted from Tobiasly’s Blog, a fellow cynic who thinks Office Despot has a scam going.

So I've given up for now. Will follow SAM's advice to call the store and demand assistance from the rebate pusher.

And when I recover from yet another hangover? Rebates Anonymous for me. This time I really mean it.


laurie said...

grrr. it's a scam. don't get me started. we ran into the same problem with Sears, when we bought a major appliance. the rebate offer was what decided us between sears and somewhere else.

i did everything right, mailed in everything, and then never got the rebate. follow up calls were no help; they claimed i hadn't mailed the receipt in as well. BUT I HAD. and stupidly i hadn't xeroxed it first.

so it was my word against theirs, and they won.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This is why I love Costco--they give you the rebate at the register and take care of the paperwork for you.