Yet Another Reason Not To Count On Rebates

Brook has waited since November for a $100 rebate from Buy.com. Each time she asks for the status of the rebate, she is told by rebate-processor Parago that the rebate is in the “final stages of processing” and will be ready, let’s say, next month.

I know the warnings about rebates, but I couldn’t pass this one up. Remember back in November when the Hanns-g 19″ monitors had that $100 rebate? I ended up getting it from buy.com, a reputable merchant whom I thought would deal with a reputable agency to pay their rebates. WRONG.

As a rule of thumb, purchase items expecting not to get the rebate. If the rebate comes through, great – treat it as a bonus. Always remember, rebate companies work very hard to deny your rebate. Parago has even admitted that most rebates are a scam.

Brook’s correspondence with Parago, and our suggestions, after the jump…


Dear ME: Tracking number: 2119XXXXX

Thank you for your rebate inquiry. We are pleased to inform you that your submission has been received and validated, and it is in the final stages of processing. Your rebate check should be mailed by 02/03/07.

We appreciate your participation in this promotion. If there is anything else we can do to assist you, please contact us at rebates@parago.com. We are always happy to help.

You can also track the status of your rebate, using the Tracking number above, at http://www.RebatesHQ.com.

Jaqui
Promotions Customer Service

From: ME
Sent: Feb 7, 2007 9:21:18 AM
Subject: Re: Rebates Customer Service
(Thread:1368494)

Good Morning -
I just checked the status of my rebate, and it is unchanged.

From your website:
Rebate: $100.00 Check
Rebate Information For: 2119XXXXX
Promotion: $100 Rebate with Purchase of Hanns-g 19″
LCD HC194D or HC194DP from Buy.com
Submission Type: MAIL-IN
Date Received: 11-17-2006
Status Detail: Your rebate is valid and is Scheduled for final processing.

Can you please let me know when I can expect my rebate check. Thanks!

Dear ME: Tracking number: 2119XXXXX

Thank you for your rebate inquiry. We are pleased to inform you that your submission has been received and validated, and it is in the final stages of processing. Your rebate check should be mailed by 03/17/07.

We appreciate your participation in this promotion. If there is anything else we can do to assist you, please contact us at rebates@parago.com. We are always happy to help.

You can also track the status of your rebate, using the Tracking number above, at http://www.RebatesHQ.com.

Matt
Promotional Customer Care

Matt (or Whomever) -

This is completely unsatisfactory. My purchase was 17 November 06. Your website has been telling me that I was in the “final stages” since the beginning of December. I was told (via e-mail): “We are pleased to inform you that your submission has been received and validated, and it is in the final stages of processing. Your rebate check should be mailed by 02/03/07″ after a January 12 inquiry. Now I get this update, further pushing out my rebate check. It’s now been 3 months since my purchase, and apparently my rebate has been in its “final stages” for over 2 of them.

The internet is a powerful tool, especially for consumers who are getting worked over in cases just like this.

I would like my rebate check mailed immediately, or I will be sure to share my “final stages” story not only with the site I purchased the item through (so they can see how well you are handling their customers) but with consumerist.com as well. Might be interesting to see how many other folks have been in the “final stages”. Do you believe that any publicity is good publicity?

Though Brook’s issuance date has only been pushed back twice, no rebate should simmer in the final stages of processing for two months. Brook should stay on top of the situation. Threats only get people so far. If they still won’t issue the rebate check, Brook should contact the Better Business Bureau. What else should Brook do? Tell us in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
(Photo: kylemac)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. cedarpointfan says:

    As an “amateur consumer”, so to speak I’m just starting to deal with this sort of thing. Was wondering, can’t you threaten legal action as a scare tactic?

  2. BillyShears says:

    It might be interesting to see how far a disput through her credit card company will go. She was ostensibly sold the item with the promise that she’d get $100 back through a company contracted by Buy.com. She wasn’t offered the chance to MAYBE get some back, and maybe a call from her credit card company or a notice from small claims court will light a fire under their asses.

    I’m shocked – shocked – that no one’s gone after these companies yet via a class-action lawsuit.

  3. amejr999 says:

    Here’s the problem- if Parago is saying that, it means that the manufacturer hasn’t paid Parago, and therefore Parago can’t pay you. Go complain to the manufacturer and tell them to pay.

  4. deweydecimated says:

    Rhode Island and Connecticut state laws require stores to sell you a rebated item at its post-rebate price, and to complete the rebate process themselves. While this wouldn’t work so well with web transactions, wouldn’t it be great if more states made this a requirement?

  5. I’ve played the rebate game a few times and just want to share that Costco has one of the simplest rebate procedures. Everything is done online – no mailing UPCs or anything. Twice now it has been hassle free.

  6. facted says:

    Amazon also has an excellent rebate system. Not only do they e-mail you tell you that you have a rebate, but you can log into their online rebate center and it will show you all the products you bought from them and link to their elgible rebates which can all be submitted online with no paper work.

    As for this situation, I’d wait a little while and then go the Better Business Bureau or Attorney General of your state route. The credit card is an interesting option, but highly doubtful to work. If you were a lawyer, and wanted to start a class-action lawsuit, then that’d be a good way to go as well :)

  7. stuckonsmart says:

    STAPLES eRebates are the best and easiest. Just bought an item this AM, came home and online in 2 minutes, completed rebate process and now 2 hours later, get notification via email that rebate qualifies and will be processed. SIMPLE!!!

    Also have to frankly state that in 5 years, have submitted (and documented just in case) 130 rebate requests and ONLY 1 did not come through.

    CAVEAT EMPTOR — FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS PRECISELY and you too can benefit.

  8. marike says:

    I’ll second Costco’s rebates – super simple and so nice to not have to worry.

  9. denied says:

    Brook, you’re not alone and you’re also waiting a lot less than many of us. Check the rebate tracking forum at fatwallet, all the addresses and information you need to escalate the claim to the state AG are listed there. I sent in the same rebate in August of 2006 (!!), and am still fighting for that $100 check.

    Remarkably this one isn’t all Parago’s fault. Slimy as they can be, they can only mail the checks for valid rebates when they get paid by the distributor which in the case of these Hanns-G monitors was a super shady company from Elkhart Indiana called Wintergreen Systems.

    If you do your homework you see that Wintergreen just doesn’t like paying bills (who does?), and they’ve been in trouble with the state attorney general before. You can complain to Parago all day but the source of this problem really is Wintergreen Sys.

  10. LuvJones says:

    I got suckered by Sears on a washer and dryer rebate. I sent it in but evidently I had waited to long to send it. I was in the middle of a move so I waited until our new home was set up to send it in. The crazy thing is they gave me the rebate on one item and not the other. They both had separate rebates. I guess someone at the processing center felt like being nice on the day they recieved my paperwork. Too bad that same person didn’t process my other rebate.

  11. lore says:

    My friend bought the same exact monitor from a different vendor and has received this information from Parago two different times:

    “Thank you for contacting Parago. We have been processing rebates for our client Wintergreen. They received an overwhelming response to their offer, and as a result, payment of the rebates has been delayed. They would like for us to extend to you their sincere apologies and to let you know that they will send you your rebate as soon as possible. Rest assured that they are working diligently to get you the money you rightfully deserve.”

    I’m not sure who Wintergreen is, but perhaps they are the parent company of Hanns-G?

  12. noorct says:

    I had the same rebate. Here is the newest information posted on myrebatehq.com.
    Please be advised: Parago, Inc. is a provider of rebate processing services for its clients. As a rebate processor, Parago works on behalf of Wintergreen Systems to receive mail, perform data entry services, receive customer service calls, print checks, and perform other services associated with its promotions. For the submission in question, Parago performed data entry on the submission, and forwarded the information to Wintergreen Systems for approval and funding. To date, Parago has not received such approval and funding from Wintergreen Systems. Until Wintergreen Systems forwards additional funding for the promotion in question to Parago, Parago will not be able to mail any additional consumers checks under the promotions. We apologize for any frustration this has caused, and will process the reward as soon as we are provided the required funding and approval by Wintergreen Systems. In the interim, we suggest you contact Wintergreen Systems directly, at:

    Wintergreen Systems
    2510 Sterling Avenue
    Elkhart, IN 46516
    (574) 295-9054 ext. 110

    It seems that Hanns-G (Which I think is affiliated with wintergreen) has failed to fund their rebate promotion. I feel your pain, Brooke! I have been waiting since November too… Hopefully they will get on it.

  13. Paul says:

    I had the exact same problem with Dell on a $100 rebate from August 2005. I sent in the forms three times and somehow they lost them all three times. Phone calls and emails were usually ignored, but sometimes I got somebody to promise that the check would arrive in 30 days. After 18 months of that nonsense, I finally contacted the Better Business Bureau and my state’s Attorney General. Surprise surprise, I had the money within two weeks. Bottom line: if the company doesn’t want to pay, talk to somebody who can make them pay. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

  14. ZonzoMaster says:

    I insist, a list of EASY and HARD rebate companies would be good. Specially on this site (many people seem to read this blog).

  15. SexCpotatoes says:

    I’m in the same boat, I sent in my stuff in early december (I got the online confirmation stuff Nov. 30th), for a 19″ Hanns-G through PCconnection.com, but no $100 rebate yet. Damn Wintergreen Systems all to hell, it looks like I’m going to have to do some research and/or take them to small claims court. Last time I checked it was only $25 to file a case in the local courts, I’ve got copies of all my info to show the judge.

    The better business bereau isn’t worth much, as it’s just an intermediary with no real power behind it, get thee to court. I will probably be filing by the end of the week. I’ve had every OnRebate rebate I’ve ever sent in for tigerdirect purchases work, hoped this company would be decent enough to me like the other guys were…

  16. SexCpotatoes says:

    Actually, I read in some complaint threads that PCconnection is refunding the $100 and billing wintergreen, so I may try that route first.

  17. lpranal says:

    Potatoes, I bought mine wayyy back in october… guess what the rebate status is?

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll check with pcconnection on this one… this is without a doubt the biggest rebate debacle i’ve dealt with so far.

  18. lpranal says:

    Just checked the rebate tracking link sent to my email, lo and behold, it’s finally updated:

    Please be advised: Parago, Inc. is a provider of rebate processing services for its clients. As a rebate processor, Parago works on behalf of Wintergreen Systems to receive mail, perform data entry services, receive customer service calls, print checks, and perform other services associated with its promotions. For the submission in question, Parago performed data entry on the submission, and forwarded the information to Wintergreen Systems for approval and funding. To date, Parago has not received such approval and funding from Wintergreen Systems. Until Wintergreen Systems forwards additional funding for the promotion in question to Parago, Parago will not be able to mail any additional consumers checks under the promotions. We apologize for any frustration this has caused, and will process the reward as soon as we are provided the required funding and approval by Wintergreen Systems. In the interim, we suggest you contact Wintergreen Systems directly, at:

    Wintergreen Systems
    2510 Sterling Avenue
    Elkhart, IN 46516
    (574) 295-9054 ext. 110

  19. testkahuna says:

    @lore:

    Looks like what I got back:
    Thank you for contacting Parago. We have been processing rebates for
    our client Wintergreen. They received an overwhelming response to their
    offer, and as a result, payment of the rebates has been delayed. They
    would like for us to extend to you their sincere apologies and to let
    you know that they will send you your rebate as soon as possible. Rest
    assured that they are working diligently to get you the money you
    rightfully deserve.
    Sincerely,

    Joseph
    Promotions Customer Service

    More crap.

  20. onetime1 says:

    Try going to the top. Ken Johnsen Parago CEO direct 972.538.7265 Ken.Johnsen@parago.com and cc: his Executive Assistant Leanne Freiberg direct 972.538.7297 leanne.freiberg@parago.com

  21. nels.anderson says:

    I’ve been dealing with a similar level of idiocy trying to claim a hard drive rebate from TigerDirect/OnRebate from last July. I have been told *14* times that my rebate will be released in “5-10″ business days, but I have yet to receive my rebate. Filing claims with the BBB and the Florida Attorney General’s office haven’t proved to be sufficient motivation. I’ve contacted TD directly, but they just pass the buck back to OnRebate. Suffice to say, I’m never buying anything from them again, but it still disgusts me think they’ll get away with stealing my money.

    Anyone have any suggestions/information on the right people (e.g. TD high-ups) to bark at to get this resolved?

  22. Type-E says:

    Hey, without this post, I completely forget that Hanns-G is owing me $100. I called up Wintergreen and the answering machine say you can only email them. I called up Office depot (where I purchase from) and escalated the issue. I am still waiting for them to call back. I read in fatwallet that people get $100 back to the credit card when you buy from office depot or PC Connect.

  23. ne0shell says:

    Wow I guess I’m not the only one who got screwed on the HansG monitor rebate scam. Same exact issue as the article, no updates, no progress and then finally, no rebate. They said they can’t find my information now even though they managed to pull it up just fine before.
    That HansG is a real POS too. It’s sitting on my other desk as an auxiliary display for media center. I bought a 19″ wide screen Viewsonic for the same price as the “after-rebate” HansG. It works great and looks fantastic. I do need to follow up and email PC Connection to let them know how their rebates work out and how it’s going to have a definite impact on my future business with them.

  24. Type-E says:

    Office depot didn’t call me back today, I’ll check w/ them again tomorrow.

  25. rms94549 says:

    I went to the top at Buy.com after waiting since last October for my $100 rebate for a HannsG monitor. It took a “guide yourself accordingly” letter to the president on my law firm letterhead to get a response from customer service that a $100 credit would be placed on my Buy.com VISA card. I wonder how many other Buy.com customers are getting a favorable response. It is unfortunate that consumers have to be or have a lawyer to get what they are entitled to receive. Last week Office Depot was still advertising HansG monitors with $75 rebate. They have to know it’s a scam. Each of my telephone calls to Buy.com took over an hour to be answered by someone in India. All they could do was apologize-no authority to deal with the issue and a supervisor was never available.

  26. mucat says:

    I’ve contacted Buy.com FOUR times via email and twice buy phone, always getting the same run-around and transferring of calls. They keeping saying that they’ve “escalated” my request, but have yet to actually do anything.

  27. petiolaris says:

    Perhaps they should change the name from Buy.com to Buy.con or maybe Scam.com, because that is apparently the real nature of their business. The rebate offers are not made by manufacturers, but are made by Buy.com on their website. However, you are then required to send it to a fulfillment house, which then refuses to honor the rebate.
    In February of this year I purchased a Hannspree LCD television, with a $150 rebate, offered on the Buy.com website. I sent in the rebate and required documentation to Connect3D – the fulfillment house. Six weeks after I submitted the rebate form I received an e-mail which acknowledged receipt of the materials and told me to expect a check in 6-8 weeks. After 8 weeks had gone by, I checked their website, which had another acknowledgment which said that the documents had been received and the rebate was being processed, with a phone number to call, with any questions. After waiting another week, hearing nothing, I called the number, but could not get through, on several tries. Waited another week, called again, the number was disconnected! Then I made numerous calls to Buy.com, which always resulted in lengthy holds, and a then conversations with a customer service rep. In India, who would claim that they could do nothing themselves to help, but they would “escalate it” I finally called the executive offices at Buy.com and the General Counsel’s office at Buy.com (1-919-389-2000 then hit 0#) and asked to speak first with Greg Girardi, the G.C. and then to the President, Neel Grover. The receptionist “Janine” said that they were aware of the problem with Connect 3D, but there was nothing they could do, other than offer a $10 coupon for another purchase at Buy.com, which they sent out in an e-mail. She refused to let me speak with anyone else at the company.

    It looks like the only recourse is to file a complaint with the FTC – which has filed complaints against Buy.com in the past for unfair and deceptive practices with regard to their rebate practices, which resulted in the entry of a consent decree, and to file a complaint in court, asking for damages, including punitive damages, for violation of the state consumer fraud statutes as well as for the commission of common law fraud.