Icy Dock Offers You Rebate Or Warranty, But Not Both

The fine print on this Ice Dock hard disk enclosure rebate (PDF) offered through Newegg says, at the very end, “Manufacturer’s warranty does not apply to ICY DOCK’s MIR Free Promotional items.” Our tipster cyberguy says he confirmed with Newegg that taking advantage of the rebate does in fact void the warranty. Has anyone else noticed this warranty-voiding language with rebate offers?

Newegg is selling an Icy Dock HD Enclosure for $26 with $22 rebate. Net cost is then $3.99 + shipping. It isn’t until you look very closely at the fine print of the Terms and Conditions that you see that submission of the rebate voids the manufacturer warranty. The language is (purposely?) obscure, but I confirmed with Newegg and left a Product Review to alert consumers.
 
This may not make much difference in a product such as this, and Newegg says they will offer replacement for a year as part of their very customer-oriented General Return Policies (though I haven’t analyzed the fine print of this policy). BUT if this is trend, I can see now that, in short order, WE WILL BE PAYING FOR OUR REBATES WITH VOIDED WARRANTIES! And they will be offered for products prone to failure. AND … it will all be hidden in the obscure language of the fine print of the Rebates for which we wait 12 weeks!
 
Take a look — link to product below, no mention of the issue (except MY review). Look at PDF of Rebate, last line of T and C. There you have it!
 
It would be interesting to get Newegg’s Corporate perspective, as I am sure they vet carefully their exclusive Rebates. And what is Icy Dock thinking here? I would MUCH prefer they come out and say: “We’ll offer you our product for cheap (after rebate), but don’t call us if it breaks.”

Comments

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  1. ahodes says:

    The language _appears_ to be saying that if the item is free after rebate there will not be a warranty. Since the item is still costing you money, I believe you still have a warranty.

  2. Blinker says:

    Well at $3.99 they are probably taking a loss on it probably to get some name exposure. I know Ive never heard of Icy Dock before now. Also its only $3.99 so if it breaks what’s the big deal. Just buy another one.

  3. Baron Von Crogs says:

    I’m confused… it’s not a free promo item?

  4. humphrmi says:

    I think the bigger issue here is whether other companies will start doing this – voiding their warranties when you take advantage of a rebate.

    I’ve already been concerned about the requirement to cut the UPC code off the box in order to get a rebate – which permanently flags your item as a rebated item if you try to return it.

    This is something that could be innocuous, like when a company offers something not prone to breakage like a hard drive enclosure for free or nearly free with rebate. Fine, I’ll accept that. But what about when you take a $50 rebate on a laptop – does that mean I lose my warrantee? Is that fair? I think at least there should be disclosure requirements prior to purchase: “If you take the manufacturer’s rebate you will void your warrantee” or some such before you buy it.

    Of course, not that it matters that much to me I guess… I’ve stopped buying things with rebates (unless the unrebated price is acceptable) anyway. But still.

  5. nequam says:

    I may not be the brightest bulb … but I just can’t figure how to make $3.99 equal zero.

  6. humphrmi says:

    I severely butchered the word “warranty” several times in my last post. Sorry.

  7. Buran says:

    @humphrmi: At least you realized that “warrantee” is not the right spelling. People that don’t drive me insane.

  8. coan_net says:

    Um… I’m confused also. It looks like you are still spending money, it is not free – so the warranty should still be good.

    I never thought about it – but I can understand why they would not want to honor a warranty for a free item – and I think that is a good policy. (I mean it was free – if it breaks, O’well – it was free and hopefully you got good use out of it.)

  9. NotATool says:

    Just when I thought I’d seen it all, some evil marketing genius comes up with a new way to screw the customer. Unbelievable.

  10. MBZ321 says:

    Who cares if a warranty is not valid with a rebate? A lot of times, you have to ship the item back to the company at your expense, which could end up being more than the cost of the item depending on what it is. (Now if this type of statement was on something like, a computer or tv or something, then I would be a little leery)

  11. thesabre says:

    Um, what? How did this make the Consumerist? It is completely asinine to think the OP’s $3.99 enclosure would not have a warranty because the warranty doesn’t apply to free items.

    That’s like saying 1+1=4. This is one of the worst cases of the “shopper biting back” that I’ve seen on this site.

  12. 8abhive says:

    Where’s the “Flag” button?

    /clicking wildly

  13. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Expecting a warranty on a $3.99 hard drive enclosure?
    Wouldn’t that be ‘disposable’??

    What you should be pointing out about NewEgg is how their return policy has changed. Now there’s a 10% restocking fee on everything unless it’s defective. I bought a Maxtor external drive that wouldn’t work with Vista, but did work with XP, and had to argue online (‘chat’) for fifteen minutes as to whether it was ‘defective’ or not, as the spec said it would work with Vista.

  14. barfoo says:

    @Buran: If misspellings drive you insane, I have news for you: you are already insane.

    Also, “people who don’t.” That is for inanimate objects. Hartman’s law confirmed.

  15. dumbwhore says:

    @doctor_cos: Well, I agree wholeheartedly with the fact that a $4 item doesn’t need a bloody warranty.

    And I really love newegg but am very disappointed to hear they’re making moves in this direction. Frankly, it’s not even the 10% that upsets me so much, but it’s the inevitable arguing with their customer service that I’m sure will happen every time.

    I suppose this is the risk of a company always selling at the lowest cost. Newegg almost always beats the competitors and their customer reviews are extremely useful. Their profit margin is probably hurting, so they’re going to try to make up for it in restocking fees. It’s an awful idea as their nice restocking fee has always comforted me. And I’ve NEVER had to return anything. Now they’re just like any other online retail place.

  16. topgun says:

    @barfoo: Sweet.
    I notice Buran spends most of his time nit picking posts. Jeez I hope I used proper grammar & spelling.

  17. Concerned_Citizen says:

    This is definitely wrong. Sending in the mail in rebate should not negate the fact that you still paid full price for the item from the store you bought it from. If they want you to have no warranty, they need to sell it up front with no warranty. Or sell it for zero dollars with some kind of instant rebate or sale. But than again, this is why credit cards are good. The rebate has nothing to do with the 26 dollars you put on the card.

  18. Buran says:

    @barfoo: Only ones that appear everywhere. But I was exaggerating a bit. Like how that phrase is often used.

  19. Buran says:

    @topgun: Actually… I don’t. This is the first time that I can recall that I’ve said anything about anyone’s spelling. I spend most of my time actually debating the topic at hand. You know, what we’re here for. And if sometimes disagreeing with other posters, and other times agreeing, is “nitpicking” then I suggest you direct your criticism at everyone.

    And I guess you managed to miss the posts I’ve made in which I’ve denied being male. So… this nitpick of imagined nitpicks needs a very large handful of salt.

    I also don’t sit around whining about what I think other posters do and don’t do for no apparent reason. (I’m responding to this one because it’s full of BS and is directed at me).

  20. petrarch1608 says:

    where’s the babysitter!

  21. bigroblee says:

    That’s why I shop at http://www.cyberguys.com. I have found their customer service to be superior to Newegg, with the same in house warranty coverage for a year on anything they sell, and best of all no rebates; their prices are sometimes higher and sometimes lower than Newegg, but you never have to deal with any rebates.

  22. EricaKane says:

    They can try to do that, but disclaimer of an express warranty in small print is not enforceable.

  23. bravo369 says:

    this seems like somethin a lawsuit would settle. seems asanine to me that a company won’t honor a warranty becuase a product was bought with a rebate. i don’t see how you can put language like that into a rebate and have it be legal.

  24. Jacquilynne says:

    It sounds like they mean that if they offer a ‘Buy an iPod, get free headphones’ type promotion, then the headphones come with no warranty.

  25. Scuba Steve says:

    I agree with the above poster that 3.99 plus a couple hours of labor + 6-12 months of interest is hardly equivalent to free.

  26. kable2 says:

    so what, the company gives you something free/ almost free with no warranty.

    You should just thank the company for the gift.

  27. linoth says:

    I’m glad that everyone else immediately popped the “but it’s not free?” point. Come on, Consumerist. That’s a major hole in the logic of the entire article.

    If I had to guess, I would assume that the language means that if a free item is included with the purchase (combo deal for free thumbdrive for example) they’re saying that the thumbdrive wouldn’t be covered. Either that, or they’re telling you that the pictured carrying case isn’t covered.

    I’m seeing no problem, other than a rather blatent attempt to stir up controversy…

  28. cyberguy says:

    @linoth: CYBERGUY here — I provided the original tip on this issue to Consumerist. To clarify, ORIGINALLY, the item was listed by Newegg @ $22 and was FREE after the Manufacturer $22 rebate. I did confirm with Newegg at the time that the language of the Rebate Terms and Conditions DID in fact mean that SUBMITTING THE REBATE VOIDED THE MANUFACTURER WARRANTY. The Newegg rep indicated he would pass my comments along to Newegg Execs. ONLY THEN was the price increased to $26, making it no longer a FREE PROMO. So maybe that is how Newegg solved their problem (which may have slipped by their rebate vetting process). Again, the original promo was FREE, and DID VOID WARRANTY. What concerns me, and as others have pointed out, is that if this is a trend, next thing you know we will be voiding our warranty on that new laptop for that $50 Rebate! It seems to me that consumers may indeed knowingly and happily agree to buy something that is a very good value after a rebate that voids the Warranty. BUT this arrangement should be HEADLINED and spelled out clearly and unmistakenly, not buried in obscure language at the end of the fine print of Terms and Conditions on the Rebate Form. Furthermore, lets not forget the potential for manufacturer abuse of this new arrangement, offering rebates on items with known high failure rates to avoid support hassles. And let’s not forget that when an item we rely on fails, the cost is usually not only the replacement value but as well the value of our time and inconvenience!

  29. cyberguy says:

    Based on this Consumerist thread and other complaints, the newest Rebate Form from Icy Dock MAKES CLEAR, IN RED, that full Warranty applies. See below link:

    [images10.newegg.com]

  30. Anonymous says:

    Yep. I bought a Motherboard and it came with a $20 rebate that REQUIRED the original s/n, upc label, not a copy. The label had written on it, “Warranty void if removed”

    I don’t really have a problem with it though. People can decide if they want some extra money, or a warranty instead of some extra money. I do have a problem with not knowing that it voids the warranty until AFTER I bought it.