Fear For Your Rebates: Largest Mail-In-Rebate Processor Missing $9 Million?

Allegedly, the largest rebate processor in North America, Continental Promotions Group (CPG), owes about $12 million in consumer rebates, but only has $3 million available. According to an insider tip received by [H]Enthusiast, CPG is telling its customers, among whom are some of the largest consumer electronics retailers, to regive it the money necessary to pay out all these rebates. Otherwise, all your little rebate checks might start bouncing. Assuming, of course, you were ever able to get them in the first place…

Your Mail in Rebate May Be In Jeopardy [[H]]Enthusiast] (Thanks to xskeweredx!)

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  1. Bladefist says:

    I hope the mail-in rebate system in America dies. Unfortunately, it’ll take some people getting screwed, but whatever it takes to get rid of it.

    • Fatty Shcock says:

      @Bladefist: Amen. Biggest piece of rubbish system that many individuals try to take advantage of, only to suffer, and then some.

      Good thing I never attempted to mail a rebate. I’m too much of the impatient type. :P

    • Segador says:

      @Bladefist: I say just change the regulations so you can’t advertise the “after mail-in rebate” price of a product as the actual price.

      • TCTH says:

        @Segador: That’s what changed me from a Tiger Direct customer to a Newegg one.

        TD plasters a fantastic discount or sale price on something and it’s only after it’s in your cart that you find out that the advertised price is only after a mail in rebate.

        Newegg on the other hand lists the full price and informs you that it’s eligible for a rebate. World of difference as far as I’m concerned.

      • strathmeyer says:

        @Segador: “I say just change the regulations so you can’t advertise the “after mail-in rebate” price of a product as the actual price.”

        I say we allow some government entity to prosecute companies that promise services they have no intentions of delivering.

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @Bladefist: I agree. Get rid of it, and good riddance as far as I am concerned. I got ripped off by one MIR, and I have never done another one since.

    • ackquarius says:

      @Bladefist: I am currently a believer in rebates from office depot, staples, rite aid, longs drugs, and walgreens. I receive 100% of the rebates I turn in. Now that I’m aware of Continental Promotions Group (CPG), I will be on the lookout or read carefully on who is giving out these rebates.

    • IrvCrapper says:

      @Bladefist:
      Finally, I agree with you about something.

  2. Hastin says:

    I love the challenge of MIRs, but the fact that the check that I have to call for might bounce is scaring me. I’ll be sure to cash those checks I have lying around.

    I’m going to finish up these 12 rebates, and then hold off on the MIR for a while.

    • Saboth says:

      @Hastin:

      You love the challenge? I send in everything they want, exactly as listed, and will get rebates bounced back at me simply stating “something” is missing. How about pointing out what I did wrong, because….it doesn’t exist?

    • BeeBoo says:

      @Hastin: Well, you may have to pay a $20 bank fee for depositing a bad $3 rebate check so check with your bank about possible fees before depositing or cashing any suspicious checks.

    • Hyman Decent says:

      @Hastin: Gotta love the rebate requests you can submit online, such as for Rite Aid Single Check Rebates and Staples Easy Rebates, just by entering the information printed on the receipt and your name and address.

  3. jdmba says:

    Just one MORE reason not to buy products based on rebates.

    They would probably not have paid out more than $3M anyway … some people may have forgotten the periods in “P.O. Box”, thus disqualifying them!

  4. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    uh oh, just got an email from sprint saying my blackberry rebate has been processed and should be mailed within 3 weeks…

    • EarlNowak says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: Sprint rebates are processed by Parago, not Continental. Parago is one of the most respected rebate houses (and the easiest to get stuff fixed from). You should be fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      @EarlNowak: @Cat_In_A_Hat:

      I bought two Blackberrys from ATT around 5-6 months ago. It was a buy one get one free deal (free after rebates). I thought it was a good idea. My fiancée and I filled out all the forms correct and we were told we would receive the rebates in 7-10 weeks. Ok. whatever.
      I called last week (still haven’t received them) and the girl on the phone said, “oops, we sent them to the wrong address. Good thing you called because they were going to expire at the end of the month.”
      All in all, I got the rebates yesterday but makes me never want to do MIR again.

  5. BeeBoo says:

    I haven’t bought a product based on the price after rebate since I got ripped off on some floppy disks I bought in 1994. Hell, I even got screwed when I sent in those Marlboro Miles.

  6. thebluepill says:

    Always photocopy your Rebate Paperwork and ALWAYS send them Certified Mail. You will get them back if you do.

    • grunt2008 says:

      @thebluepill:

      I think you’re missing the point… you could have hand delivered your rebate wearing a ballerina tu tu and this company will STILL send you a bad check… they blew through the money they billed the electronics manufacturers… and not for rebates to consumers.

      So, regardless of how meticulous you are in filling out your forms in triplicate, keeping copies for yourself, your accountant, and the executor of your will, this company is going to FAIL to send you your rebate when they go bankrupt next month.

  7. fjordtjie says:

    i hate the rebate system and would much rather have the item on sale, but i am guilty of repeatedly taking advantage of them. for example. it’s free after rebate, 1 per household. so i send one to either parent’s houses, my own house, and my work. i get 4 free things, and then ebay/gift the 3 extra away, paying only tax on each.

    it has never failed me, but i will be wary with black friday coming up, as most of the electronic stuff i get is ‘after rebate’.

  8. IceCoffee says:

    I just got an e-mail this morning not to cash a rebate check that I received. The instructions were to send the check back to the manufacturer and they will send a new rebate. Unfortunately, I already deposited the check on Wednesday.

  9. Hyman Decent says:

    One new thing to dread about rebates is, getting a Visa (or whatever) gift (or whatever) card instead of a check.

  10. logicalnoise says:

    crap I’m waiting on a 100 dollar rebate from sprint….

  11. tmlfan81 says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t someone actually determine the number (or percentage) of MIR forms that are actually processed and credited back to the consumer? Do these rebate vendors operate off the assumption that consumers won’t comply with the directions, enter something wrong, forget to dot an “I” or cross a “T” and get rejected?

    $9 million is a rather large deficit.

  12. Mr_Human says:

    I guess I’ve just been lucky: I’ve sent in for A LOT of rebates over the years, and have never gotten screwed. And logicalnoise, I got my $100 from Sprint no problem, and it was pretty quick, too. Sit tight!

  13. Ben_Q2 says:

    The only MIR I ever have gotten has been from Costco. Other then that its it. I did take the manager from a Radio Shack to court over a rebate. I did win, but never got the money. No big deal, still. King me.

    • TemporaryError says:

      @Ben_Q2:
      I would LOVE to hear the RS mgr story… in fact that sounds as if it may warrant a consumerist.com post of it’s own! Please share!

    • dweebster says:

      @Ben_Q2: If you have a court judgement, you can probably have the sheriff head over to the store and collect your judgement directly out of their cash register. Winning against retail stores that are still in business is usually a good thing – as your money is sitting right there for the po-po to pick up for you.

  14. savvy9999 says:

    What’s not being discussed in that article is what’s up with the missing $9 million. Stolen? Invested in CDOs? All put into flipper houses in Detroit?

    • tande04 says:

      @savvy9999: I think they addressed it as well as they could. They don’t know, its something to cops are going to have to sort out.

    • usa_gatekeeper says:

      @savvy9999: I noticed the company’s in Canada. I wonder if some junior accounting clerk got tripped up converting US and Canadian dollars back and forth over a long time. Such things do happen.

  15. vmxeo says:

    What, have they been investing the rebate money they receive from companies in the stock market?

    Wait, nevermind, I don’t want to know…

  16. XianZhuXuande says:

    Psh… how many people actually follow through on rebates? I’m sure there are plenty here, but I’d wager the vast majority of America procrastinates the crap out of them and eventually loses the information or is disqualified.

    That’s why the rebate system exists.

  17. Anonymous says:

    i religiously follow up on my rebates. the last $40 rebate from corsair bounced! i was charged a $10 returned item fee for that. my bank was nice enough to refund the fee! i will not be buying from that company again!

  18. Shark1998 says:

    Shiot….I try to stay away from rebates but if I have too (or the deal is too good), then I will scan each and every receipt, SKU, label, or whatever and force them to send me my check. I have had to refer to my scanned stuff at least twice.

  19. globalman says:

    Sorry, but I think some of you are missing the point. They’re actually SHORT 9 million, as in they have sent that money out or otherwise spent it…not that they have extra laying around because people were disqualified. Geez, how do you lose 3/4 of your rebate funds??

  20. jeffs3rd says:

    Wow, if MIRs fail, then Tigerdirect.com might be in big trouble. It’s rare that I see an item “on sale” from them that isn’t “on sale” because of a rebate.

    I hate MIRs and usually don’t buy products that have them. I still have to fork over the dough up-front, so to me that’s not really a winning idea.

  21. techstar25 says:

    I just got an email telling me not to cash the rebate check I just received. The email told me to give them back the $50 rebate by wiring the money to bank in Nigeria. At that time they will issue me a new check. Sounds legit to me.

  22. Marshfield says:

    I got a 50.00 rebate hanging out there for my Viewsonic monitor. The just emailed me confirmation of receipt of my submission. I hope it’s not through these clowns.

    Someone ought to go to jail for this.

    • dweebster says:

      @Marshfield: Nope. The way we deal with these issues in America when companies lose or steal our money is that our politicians give the corporations whatever money they want with no strings attached. To to otherwise and actually nationalize or even require responsibility from these free marketeers would be “socialism,” which would melt our eyeballs and make god and the kittycats cry.

  23. Hastin says:

    Saboth: Usually, I just scan everything before mailing it in (I’ve got a massive Access Database setup for my MIRs). Once you get the postcard saying something is missing, I just call and talk to a CSR. Most of the time, they’ll transfer you to a Level 2, and I just email it to him/her – and they will release the check. :)

  24. azntg says:

    I knew there was something particularly screwy about Continental Promotions Group.
    To date, I’ve had the worst experience with rebates fulfilled by them.

    They conspicuously post a BBB seal on their page (which I believe the BBB of Arizona is in cahoots with them anyhow, judging by the issues/response I’ve saw).

    Contrary to what was stated on the terms and conditions, these clowns tried to intentionally hold onto my rebate check for an additional month. How?

    Instead of “starting the clock” when they’ve received the mail and giving a few days allowance for processing, these clowns held onto my mail for well over a month before they’ve “processed” it. They’ve also kept changing the estimated mail date (each time being two weeks later than the previous estimated mail date)

    I’ve brewed up a sh*tstorm afterwards, contacting the BBB and alerting the AG (of Arizona and New York) about their practices. They’ve continuously “maintained their innocence,” but they did ultimately mail my check one week after the check was due to me (according to their own terms and conditions listed on the rebate submission form), but only after I kept the pressure up.

    I hope these jerks burn in hell!

  25. Anonymous says:

    For all the complaints I see on this site about Best Buy, someone needs to bring attention to one good thing about them: They abolished Mail-In Rebates a couple years back.

  26. Keter says:

    I bet I know what happened…

    CPG was playing with short term investments with the money given to them for the rebates, thinking this was a way to earn some extra money.

    CRASH goes the market. POOF goes the money.

    So they took a cue from the banksters and made themselves their own bailout.

    The lawsuits should be interesting. I wonder if the gummint will make them into a bank, too?

  27. billbobbins says:

    I recently had a problem with a major online store, ZipZoomFly, not funding their rebate on a Seagate hard drive. Turns out they refused to pay their rebate fulfillment company. Even an executive email carpet bomb to ZipZoomFly failed. So I talked to the ZZF account manager at Seagate. Coincidentally enough, the next day the rebate was funded to the fulfillment company and I got my check a week later. Since that episode I vowed NEVER to buy ANYTHING from ZIPZOOMFLY ever again.

  28. droidd says:

    As I read this I remembered that I just got a rebate check for a purchase from Costco today. Well on the outside of the envelope who’s name do I see? None other than Continental Promotion Group.”

    Running in the bank in the morning in the hope that my $100 won’t bounce.

  29. ShadowDancer says:

    i have two rebates from 2004 i am still waiting to receive. not to mention a one from 2007. the whole process is a scam.

    i figure send in the paperwork. if i receive something great, if not, i didn’t base my purchase on the rebate price to begin with.

    • azntg says:

      @ShadowDancer: Mail In Rebates are a part-time job by themselves.

      You have to constantly monitor the status and breathe down their necks when they renege. The two rebates from 2004 is probably a lost cause, but if you still have their contact information, maybe you can still salvage.

      The rebate from 2007, sic em! Most rebate terms and conditions state 10-12 weeks for the mailing of a check. 10-12 weeks does not equate to 1 year ;-)

      It’s just an urban myth at this point, but I get the feeling that the fulfillment group is less likely to f*ck around especially if you routinely call up or visit their status check websites to check for rebate status.

  30. corinthos says:

    I don’t mess with MIR unless its the same price I am going to get it elsewhere on sale before the MIR. Like FYEs 50 dollar ps2 rebate that i had to fight over and eventually got.

  31. bohemian says:

    I am guessing someone’s cunning plan was to make some additional profit by investing this customer supplied rebate money in the stock market or some “safe” mutual fund. Then the market tanked and now they are screwed. Keeping the funds in a bank account wasn’t good enough, everyone has to be greedy.

    I too hope mail in rebates die as part of the current economic upheaval.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, this must be true, and Costco must use CPG as a processor. I just received an e-mail that states:

    “Due to a significant business disruption at the company that processes Costco Wholesale’s Mail-in Rebates, no rebate checks dated prior to November 13, 2008, should be deposited into your bank account. These checks should be redeemed at your local Costco warehouse.”

  33. lauy says:

    I worked for CPG for a brief period of time during college. It looks like they just recently ended their home workers rebate processing jobs. They used to have the rebates processed as piecemeal work at home by college students, housewives, etc. As recently as July (when I lost my job and was looking for some part time work) they still had you save all the data you entered into their DOS-based program onto a FLOPPY DISK. You had to go pick up the rebates, process them, and return the rebates and disk with the info in two days. VERY antiquated. I would not be surprised if the end of this long running job program has something to do with the “problems” they are having…

  34. jharrell says:

    And here is Costco’s Take on it:

    Costco Wholesale

    Attention: Costco Members

    This communication contains important information regarding the redemption of Costco Mail-in Rebate checks dated prior to November 13, 2008.

    Due to a significant business disruption at the company that processes Costco Wholesale’s Mail-in Rebates, no rebate checks dated prior to November 13, 2008, should be deposited into your bank account. These checks should be redeemed at your local Costco warehouse.

    Mail-in rebate checks dated after November 13, 2008, are not affected by this business disruption and may be deposited or cashed at your bank, or redeemed at any Costco warehouse.

    If redeeming your check at a Costco warehouse is inconvenient, you may mail the original check to:

    For U.S. Costco Members:
    Costco Wholesale
    c/o APF
    PO Box 1015-A
    Grand Rapids, MN 55745

    For Canadian Costco Members:
    Costco Wholesale
    c/o APF
    PO Box 10668-A
    Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6V1

    A replacement check will be issued promptly upon receipt of the original check. Please retain a copy of the original check for your records.

    If you have already deposited a mail-in rebate check dated prior to November 13, 2008, it may be returned to you by your bank. If so, please bring your returned check and proof of any associated bank fee to your local Costco warehouse for full reimbursement.

    If redeeming a returned check at a Costco warehouse is not convenient, you can mail the returned check and the notice of bank fees to the address above for full reimbursement.

    Costco Wholesale sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience that this unfortunate situation may have caused.

    Please do not reply to this email. If you have any questions, please contact our Call Center at 1-866-355-3137.

  35. boomerang86 says:

    I believe CPC is fulfilling the $15 American Express Gift Card promos too. That’s the only one I’m waiting for. AmEx will probably make good on that one.

  36. SpenceMan01 says:

    Some great information over at SlickDeals: [blog.slickdeals.net]

  37. Anonymous says:

    I use rebates through Fry’s all the time for electronics. I have never lost a rebate. Actually once, the Company (not Fry’s) lost it, and I complained, so they sent it anyway. A year later, I again received it from the company who apologized for losing it. I kept it because of all the agony I went through to get it (twice, as it happens). Cool. Trust Fry’s, though. They are legitimate.

  38. dweebster says:

    I contacted Smith Micro and Logitech already. Logitech has already stated on the record that they will handle the bank return fees (it’s actually California law). I’m not a lawyer, but it seems CPG was the hired agent for the manufacturer and the manufacturer is ultimately liable for the activities of their agent.

    Is this the “rock bottom” for doing rebates, analogous to alcoholics waking up naked on the side walk covered in vomit? People have been clamoring for years that the unregulated rebate game was pulling a lot of fishy stuff, here’s an end result of “trusting the market” and not giving them boundaries within which they can operate.

  39. syrian_gamer says:

    Usually when you owe more then you have, its a good idea to declare bankruptcy

  40. TheFingerOfGod says:

    Well I just got this e-mail:

    [Dear Valued Customer,
    As you may be aware, Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. (?FCPA?)
    uses the services of a third-party fulfillment company, Continental
    Promotion Group, Inc. (?CPG?), to process and fulfill rebate incentives
    made available by FCPA to its imaging products customers. Recently, CPG
    informed FCPA that due to insufficient funds, CPG was taking unilateral
    action to stop payment on checks issued by CPG to some Fujitsu imaging
    products customers who had submitted a valid scanner rebate request. FCPA
    assures you that FCPA will honor the valid rebate submission of its FCPA
    imaging products customers, even though CPG may have stopped payment on a
    CPG-issued check. FCPA is therefore alerting its imaging products
    customers to the possibility that a customer may incur additional
    stop-payment or overdraft charges from the customer?s own banking
    institution if the customer attempts to cash a rebate refund check issued
    by CPG. FCPA is working to put an alternate solution in place in order to
    make rebate funds available to FCPA imaging products customers whose valid
    rebate submissions may be subject to CPG?s stop-payment.]

    I thought I was home free when I got the check after having to wrangle with them to get it. They denied my first submission by saying that I did not include the Serial Number from the box. I DID and so I wrote them and they sent me the check. Now I find out that I might have a rubber check. SIGH!

  41. oneandone says:

    I just called a company I found out was CPG to check on my motorola modem rebate. It’s been 14 weeks; they said it should be processed in 10-12. Nice lady on the phone said it was sent back for ‘reprocessing’ about 3 weeks after I sent it in, but that everything was in order and they would be sending the check in about a week. We’ll see.

    What’s interesting is that she insisted she worked for Motorola, the phone menu only mentioned Motorola modems, and website (motorola.rebatestatus.com) seems affiliated with Motorola – though they also have the CPG logo on it. That was the only indication they’re with them, so we’ll see if the check arrives and if it’s any good. Hopefully! My rebates are put directly towards the candy fund, and $20 buys a lot of jelly beans.