Sony Rewards Item Not Such A Great Deal Once You Actually Want To Buy It

Jonathan has a Sony Rewards credit card with Capital One, and tried to use his accumulated points to buy an AV receiver, Sony’s “deal of the week,” from the rewards site. There’s a special price this week for members, only 24,000 points. Great! Jonathan has that many points! Only the site won’t let him (or anyone) buy the item for the advertised sale price.

He writes:

Here is an item that I would like to have your help in resolving. My issue is with my Capital One/ Sony Rewards card. On their member site, , they are advertising a “Deal of the Week”, a Sony® 7.1 Channel 3D AV Receiver STRDH820. The member price is 24000 points and I have 26340 points in my account. . When I add the item to my cart it states the price is 31499 points. I called Customer Service and they state that the website is broken. The will not place the order manually, at the correct price. They will not provide any mitigation of the extra 7499 points. I can buy points but it would require me to pay $51.59 out of pocket and use all the points in my account. My only desire is to buy the item at its correct, non-error, advertised price.

I sent them the following email.

I cannot put into words my dissatisfaction with your program and the customer service agents that are powerless to fix my problem and wholly unwilling to address my concerns. I have a Sony Rewards card and my Sony Rewards card is registered with Sony Rewards.

I am trying to purchase the item of the week ending Sunday 11/05/2011. I have 26340 points in my account. The Sony Rewards Member price for the STRDH820 is 24000 points. When I add this item to my cart it shows a price 31499 points. In order to complete the transaction I would be required to spend the equivalent of $74.99 above the advertised price. That’s an error. I have more than the necessary number of points available. You’re customer service agents state that the website is broken and that they are powerless to help me. That may or may not be true. My only desire is to buy this item for the correct, non-error, advertised price.

Here are some ways this can be resolved. You could credit my account with 7499 points. This would allow me to place the order without spending more than the advertised price. Another way to resolve is provide a refund of $74.99. That too would leave me with the correct number of points or their value. Please provide me with a solution that enables me to pay 24000 points, the advertised, non-error price for the item or offer some way to mitigate the increased expense I would incur if I placed the order through your website.

It’s likely that you are committing an act of fraud by “Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised” or “using unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising.” The legal standard is pretty low as Courts have held that advertising is misleading if “members of the public are likely to be deceived.” I am being deceived. My only desire is to pay the advertised price of 24000 Sony Reward Points. Your website will not allow me to do that and your customer service agent ([redacted]) offered no solution other than to pay more for the item or don’t buy it at all.

I’m not entirely sure that anyone there would care, but also try contacting Capital One. Accusing a company of fraud right out of the gate in an initial e-mail is probably not a good idea, though. It wouldn’t hurt to take a few screenshots of the logged-in rewards member view and sending them off to the FTC or your state attorney general’s office, though.