Autozone: Free After Mail-In Rebate (Except Not Really, Just Kidding)

Matt writes about some shady business going on at Autozone. It seems they have a “Free After Mail-In Rebate” deal going on, and while they have the product and the sign that says “Free After Mail-In Rebate” they don’t actually have the rebate forms. And they’re not interested in providing them.

I asked whether I needed a rebate form, I was told no, and went home.

The next day, I checked my receipt and the Autozone website to look for a rebate form, not finding one, I headed back to the store. A completely dis-interested employee begrudgingly looked through some rebate forms and then picked up the flyer and said “See, it says not available in all stores”. My reply was that the shelves have signs about the Free-After-Rebate product, right under where the product is sold. “Well, I guess its back there then” was his response. I searched again, and still no rebate form.

Matt never got his rebate form, so he returned his purchases. What’s the deal Autozone? Guess this is one more reason not to fall for mail-in rebates. —MEGHANN MARCO

Matt’s full email inside.

Matt writes:

This doesn’t exactly live up to the level of multi-thousand dollar
rip-offs, but little things like this add up.

I went to my local Autozone (Fort Collins, CO at Manhattan Ave and
Horsetooth Ave) to return some motor oil and buy some radiator fluid.
Autozone sometimes has specials, so I checked their flier and they were
advertising “Free After Rebate” on Gum-Out Complete Fuel System Cleaner
(reg $5.99 each). I use this product on occasion, so I figured, if its
free, I may as well buy two of them (one for my wife’s car and one for
mine). As I checked out, I asked whether I needed a rebate form, I was
told no, and went home.

The next day, I checked my receipt and the Autozone website to look for
a rebate form, not finding one, I headed back to the store. A
completely dis-interested employee begrudgingly looked through some
rebate forms and then picked up the flyer and said “See, it says not
available in all stores”. My reply was that the shelves have signs
about the Free-After-Rebate product, right under where the product is
sold. “Well, I guess its back there then” was his response. I searched
again, and still no rebate form. At this point, I left the store and
called Autozone Customer Service. I ended up leaving a message for the
regional office in Denver, Colorado, requesting them to contact me.

Since I still haven’t heard from them this morning, I returned all my
purchased items to Autozone. They seemed relatively unconcerned about
the process, even after I explained the reason for the resturn. The
“Free” sign is still up on the shelves and the flier is also still on
the counter. I am attaching a scan of the flier and although I took a
picture of the in store signage with my phone, I found out today that I
need a picture-mail account to email the pictures to myself… You will
have to trust me that it is in-fact still there, and says FREE in large
red letters.

I wonder how many other people this has happened to?

Matt

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/fraudozone001-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=769

Comments

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  1. Stepehn Colbert says:

    may I suggest you take a chocolate bar, write “SCHEISSEN” on the flier, then re-attatch it to their shelves and, or, window. people will get the picture sooner or later. I’m in a playful mood today, I donno why.

  2. Antediluvian says:

    I had a comparable experience w/ an utterly disinterested Autozone employee. Bought some item, paid for it, saw cashier filling out some sort of discount card. Oh, nifty — could be useful.

    And then he kept it.

    When asked, he rather reluctantly said I could have it. Golly, that’s awful nice of you mister. I figured he was collecting them himself and either buying stuff, giving them to buddies, or selling them.

    Made me really wary about shopping there again.

  3. RandomHookup says:

    A complaint to the nice attorney general’s office for misleading advertising might get their attention.

  4. tadowguy says:

    Matt here…

    Too bad they didn’t use my headline: “Fraud-o-zone”… I am also emailed the AG here to let them know. The good news for me is that there is a NAPA across the street and an Advanced Auto Parts close by.

  5. structurepolo says:

    Im going to O’Reilly’s from here on out and will never shop again at Auto Zone because of this and will tell my family to do the same. THANKS FOR THE INFO!!

  6. ugly says:

    When I see that “Not available in all stores” I naively believed it meant the product wasn’t available in all stores, not that the rebate was only available in selected location.

    You live you learn I guess! (learn not to shop places that try and rip you off that is)

  7. Skeptic says:

    Well, in California I believe the merchant is responsible for fulfilling a rebate offer if the manufacturer falls through.

  8. not just autozone. i got a hydraulic jack and jackstands a pep boys a couple months back with a promised (and also MIA) rebate. i didn’t care enough to fight because the sale price was low to begin with. but what are the odds that it was an isolated case…

  9. SexCpotatoes says:

    you could’ve taken pictures, scans, and sued them in small claims court for the price of the product, plus your time, plus any “emotional damages” the court saw fit to award. You would win, and it wouldn’t be like handing money to lawyers like a stupid class action bullshite.

  10. zonerman says:

    welcome to autozone my friend, ive been employed at a local store for about 3 years part time for extra cash. What should have happened is that the manager on duty (the guy in the grey shirt) should have known how to print you a rebate form off of the computer, but as youve experienced autozone often employ’s people who have little experience with autoparts or computers. Go to the store and demand to talk to the district manager, there is also a phone number on the doors for complaints. Best bet to talk to district manager because he will surely be pissed to find out one the managers is so clueless he doesn’t even know how to print of a rebate form. My preference in parts stores changes as their employee’s change, ive run into idiots at napa, advanced, and autozone. But for sure you have a legit complaint, hope it works out for you.

  11. caiquefan says:

    what the manager should have done if they didn’t have the forms, is done a price override on the product and given it to you. that is what the DM or RM will tell them to do. it would be nice if all employees would just do the logic, smart thing. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen sometimes