Retailers Suck

I hate mail-in rebates. I bought a computer at Best Buy last week with a tickets price of around $769. But look closely and there’s a tiny little number above it with a price of $1,069. THAT’s what you pay at the counter. Then they print out all of these rebate forms and it’s up to you, the consumer, to submit them.

So, I spent an hour yesterday compiling the necessary rebate information. There were four rebates totalling $300. One went to Best Buy, three went to Hewlett-Packard. What complicated things was that I had to complete each form individually and mail them in separate envelopes. I had to cut the UPC codes off the printer, PC and monitor boxes. I had to photocopy the receipts, rebate forms and UPC codes. Then, I had to sort them all out. This place wanted a copy of the receipt, the original rebate form and the copies of all three UPC codes. Another one wanted a copy of the receipt, the original rebate form and the original printer UPC code. At the end of the compiling efforts I realized that all of the Hewlett Packard rebates wanted original UPC codes…yet there was only one original UPC code available for each product.

I called the HP Rebate Center to explain my dilemma. She said to submit the forms and reciepts with copies of the UPC codes. She said they’d then reject them when they arrive there. They’ll send me a letter refusing my rebate, but will include another form to fill out explaining why I had no original UPC codes. Then I resubmit that form with additional information and then they’ll send me a rebate check.

…in 8 weeks (TWO MONTHS)!!!!

Now, maybe I”m being simplistic here…but couldn’t they just charge $300 less for the product? I mean, how much money are they spending on postage, people to man the phones, office space, etc…? I’m sure their assumption is that the daunting task of preparing the rebate will prevent some consumers from submitting them in the first place. But come on – there must be an easier way to handle this.

Merry Freakin’ Christmas.


  1. Comment by jeff on December 18, 2004 1:04 pm

    They figure most people won’t even bother to complete the rebates – and thus they end up making more money while their products look cheaper. Damn retail bastards!

  2. Comment by Anthony on December 19, 2004 10:17 am

    I too am fed up with this rebate crap. What is the purpose of it? It can only be, as others have said, that they hope you’ll either gorget about it or simply give up chasing after it. Perhaps if we all refuse to buy products that have rebates, and let the store manager know why we aren’t buying, they might eventually change this policy. Or, fight to have laws created that prohibit it.

  3. Comment by Erica on December 20, 2004 12:20 pm

    Ugh. That’s totally their evil little scheme. I hate rebates. Especially because I am forgetful and always in danger of not submitting them.

  4. Comment by karyn on December 20, 2004 1:56 pm

    Honey Bunny, Jeff is correct. It’s a marketing ploy, an evil one, because so few people have the tenacity, memory, diligence and stamina to jump through the rebate hoops. Coupons & rebates and all that; designed so they can legally advertise for less, draw you and hope you forget about it. Sad but true. 🙁

  5. Comment by ellen on November 22, 2006 8:30 am

    Good luck actually getting your HP rebates. I bought a computer for my parents in August. Did ALL the right things in ALL the right ways – spent over two hours driving to Kinko’s to make multiple copies of receipts, forms, UPC codes, and then driving to the post office to mail each one certified mail, return receipt requested. I got the Circuit City rebate no problem, one of the HP rebates late and after several phone calls, and the third – well let’s just say I’m about to file fraud complaints with the Maryland State’s Attorney and the Federal Trade Commission. They claimed they never received the rebate forms. BS. I have the signed postal receipt. They said fax it, and it would be 8-10 days. I did, it wasn’t. They said it was mailed 11/2 and allow 10 business days. HP – Time’s UP.

    We all know from reading the newspapers that HP has not ethics whatsoever (spying on their own board members by hiring phony reporters and searching their phone records).

    Well, HP apparently doesn’t understand consumer power. Look what happened to Dell when word got around that Dell service was terrible. Sales fell through the floor. There are plenty of good computers out there. We don’t need to buy HP and we don’t need to buy Dell – or buy from any company that doesn’t give a shit about its customers, or, in the case of HP, is out to actively screw the customer.

    Happy T-day

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