Yesterday’s post about Newegg honoring a failed rebate request prompted this email from another reader, who had a similar situation with Buy.com but with a very different outcome. If you’ve ever dealt with Buy.com—known for having some of the worst customer service in the industry—this won’t surprise you.
This story is very similar to an unfortunate experience I had with buy.com, dating back to January 2007 when I purchased a Connect 3D 2GB USB Drive. The price was $50 with a $50 mail-in-rebate. It was certainly expensive (probably twice the price it should have been), but I am always diligent about sending in rebates, so I went ahead and purchased the drive. After receiving the product on 1/31/2007, I mailed the rebate out on 2/1/2007. A number of weeks later, I received an e-mail from Connect 3D stating that the rebate processing had been handed over to an independent company, as Connect 3D could not handle the volume of rebates. I should have received my $50 rebate by 4/15/2007 but did not. After visiting the rebate processing site, I decided to allow one month more and checked again on 5/20/2007. Still no rebate.
At this point, I became very suspicious – I had never gotten burned on a rebate before (clearly I’m not a frequent Best Buy shopper). A quick Google search on the issue revealed that Connect 3D had gone under and was not paying out these rebates. Many people had purchased free after rebate items from Connect 3D through buy.com and did not receive payment. Attempts to contact their US office were unsuccessful. Well, after months of stewing over this, I decided to call buy.com to see what they had to say about it. I feel like retailers have an obligation to themselves and their customers to verify the stability of the companies they do business with, so I was hoping for a positive result from buy.com. Anyway, I called general customer support and was quickly told (clearly they had encountered this issue before) that a $10 buy.com gift card would be issued to me, but that buy.com was currently legally pursuing Connect 3D and a full rebate would not be issued. This was very frustrating to say the least, and I felt (and still feel) that buy.com is partially culpable and should have been more sympathetic. I then called CEO Neil Grover’s office (thanks for the phone number, Consumerist!) and spoke with a nice assistant who unfortunately spat back the same generic line. So much for executive customer service. . .
So, it’s been a good 5 months since I called buy.com, and over one year has passed since my Connect 3D purchase. I have not made another purchase at buy.com, despite their “generous” offer of a $10 gift card, and I can’t say I intend to. They have lost my trust; who is to say that this won’t happen again? If they don’t care to protect and retain their customers, I don’t need to offer them any further business.
What do you suggest I do? Is there another avenue I can pursue with buy.com?
Buy.com wants it both ways: they want to entice shoppers to make purchases by discounting 3rd-party rebates from the “final” sales price, but when the rebates fall through they claim the rebates are outside their responsibility. But Buy.com hasn’t honored the terms of the sale. You should point this out to them and demand a full refund of the purchase price upon return of the drive. You may also want to look into whether you can still file a chargeback for the purchase, although since a year has passed it may be too late.
(Thanks to David!)