Daily Archives: 15 Sep 2006

The kybard and rebates

The kybard is nice. I like it. Everyone is jealous of me, at least in my imagination. I’m pestering the management at work (i.e., my dad), to buy me one for the office. But it gets better!

I bought a Linksys wireless router about a month and a half ago when I was preparing to move in to my new house, as there no cat-5 run through the house [nor is there coax, nor even grounded electric wiring, but that’s a story for another day (or is it?!)]. The day after I ordered the router, a $10 mail-in rebate became available, starting for purchases made, naturally, that day. Bugger that. I hate mail-in rebates (see below), but I would have liked that $10.

So imagine my feeling when just a few minutes ago I found a $10 MIR form for my new kybard, just two days after I bought it. WHY ME? I asked. (Not really. I know why me. It’s Steveism at its finest.)

And now imagine my feeling when I read the form to further my depression and discovered that the rebate has been valid since July 2 and goes through the end of this month! I even saved my receipt and the box (and no, Ben, I don’t always save those. I threw away my Super Nintendo box last week). So–here’s hoping–I’ll get my $10 back. I’m skeptical, and it’s because mail-in rebates are a crapshoot. I’m confident that companies hire teams of people whose sole job is to find ways to avoid actually giving you the rebate. Some are more logical (though still stupid) than others. Allow me to share two bad rebate experiences I have had.

Firstly, three years ago I bought a desktop computer from Best Buy. It had a $150 MIR from Best Buy and two rebates from HP: one for $20 and one for $50. I got my $150 back pretty quickly, which was nice, but I never saw the other $70. I got a letter back from HP regarding the $20 rebate, saying I had not submitted the correct UPC from the box, or something like that, along with a request to send the correct information to receive my rebate in a timely fashion. I promptly mailed the items, and never heard from HP again. They never sent me anything regarding the $50 rebate.

I’m still bitter.

The other rebate is more recent. From January 2005 to June 2006 Warner Bros. had a TV-on-DVD rebate program celebrating 50 years of TV, or something. I bought four seasons of “Smallville,” which qualified for a $30 rebate. I held on to the rebate form until near the end of June, just in case I happened to my some more Warner TV DVDs. I ended up buying first season of “The Closer.” It wasn’t on the list of eligible titles, but the list was printed before “The Closer” was released, so I called the toll-free number on the form to ask if it was eligible.

The ever-so-helpful person who answered the phone said that it wasn’t on the list she had, but it wouldn’t hurt to send in the proof-of-purchase, just in case, so I did.

At the beginning of August I got a letter back from Warner Bros. saying that my rebate submission was ineligible because I had submitted an invalid proof-of-purchase. They even sent me back my rebate form, copies of receipts, proofs-of-purchase, and even the original envelope I had mailed to them, with the words “CLOSER NOT A ELIGIBLE SEASON” written on it in red. Yes, the person could spell “eligible” but not preface it with the correct article.

I had to resubmit correct information by the end of August. Submitting the correct information involved removing the tape that held “The Closer” proof-of-purchase to the rebate form, sticking the form, receipts, etc. in a new envelope, finding another stamp–which in turn involved trying to find a post office (stamps? What for? I pay my bills online. I email people. IT’S 2006!)–and mailing it. What, the person processing the rebate couldn’t remove the offending proof-of-purchase? Warner Bros. paid someone to write on my envelope, attach a form letter, and mail it back to me. And for postage. Here’s hoping I get my $30.

I’m glad that Office Max has nearly done away with mail-in rebates. I read that Best Buy is doing away with them sometime next year, as well. I applaud that. I think mail-in rebates are one of the stupidest things in the universe, right up there with tofu smoothies. If a manufacturer has a rebate, the reseller should cut the price by that much for the customer and then recoup the money from the manufacturer. None of this make the customer do it crap.

I don’t have a good ending though. It’s 1:40 a.m. and my brain just shut off. I really like the new Barenaked Ladies single, “Easy.” “Maybe You’re Right” is also stuck in my head–probably because I am.