HP Refuses To Make Good On $100 Cash Back Promise, Won't Explain Why

David is trying to reach HP executive customer service. He wants to find out why they reversed the $100 cash back offer they’d originally extended through a promotion with Microsoft’s new search engine Bing, and why the only reasons they’re giving him are either inapplicable or demonstrably false.

Here’s his story:

HP and Bing were offering a Bing “Cashback” promotion on October 18th as part of the Windows 7 launch promo. I ordered a HP Mini 311 Netbook for $400, and paid an additional $29 for S&H and $32 for sales tax. A few minutes later I received my notification from HP that my order was received, as well as my notification from Bing that I had Cashback for $100.

My notebook was out for delivery on the 29th of October, and on the same day, I received notice that from Bing that my cashback had been cancelled. Typical reasons for this were that “the order had been cancelled or returned, or you used a coupon or discount”, none of which are correct.

I attempted to resolve the issue through Bing via email support (They don’t offer any telephone contact information). Bing requested a copy of my receipt at which point I was sure the mixup would be resolved. A day later, they emailed me again stating that the decision to do Cashback rested with the merchant, and HP had denied my cashback. Again, a list of “possible reasons” was given, none of which applied to me, with no specifics are relate to my case.

I contacted HP via text chat to further explore the issue. The representative was unable to assist me, but gave me a number for their Resolutions Department. I called the Resolutions line the next day, and the representative confirmed that he saw no issues with my order, but there was nothing he could do, as he stated he had no way of contacting Bing. He offered me $40 instead of the $100 I was due, which I declined. He said the matter would be “escalated” and someone else would look into it.

Having heard nothing further back, I again tried to contact HP on October 31st. This time the rep changed their story, saying I wasn’t eligible because Cashback ended at 10:20AM. HP runs a twitter that confirmed Cashback was still going on at noon, and the link I followed (as well as Microsoft’s confirmation email) stated 25%. I also later checked and I had received my confirmation at 10AM, so the point was moot anyways. I stated that I wished to return the order if HP could not resolve the issue, but was told my S&H was not refundable. I also received the same bait-and-switch offer of $40, which I declined.

So in the end, HP and Bing offer a joint promotion, can cancel Cashback with no clear reason, and set up a maze of incompetence to avoid any resolution. It’s true that I could just give up, return the laptop, and eat the S&H fee, but I feel that doing so would end up just allowing this type of unethical and/or incompetent behavior to continue. I’ve been understanding and have tried my best to resolve the issue and make sure the important details are heard, but none of it seems to do any good. Taking a $40 discount at this point is probably my “best option”, but it also feels completely sleazy and unethical to be trapped like this.

Is there any advice that Consumerist or its readers can offer?

(Note: I found mention of HP “Executive Support” on consumerist, but it appears they have since locked it down, as you now need to enter a special code before proceeding.)