Why Rebates Suck: TigerDirect and OnRebate

Look, you guys are all savvy, so there’s no need to remind you: never buy anything because it is on rebate. Don’t even factor a rebate into your purchasing equation: nine times out of ten, rebates are scams.

Companies love trying to get you to make a purchase based upon a rebate discount, comfortable that most people will tear long strips of flesh off their own face with their fingernails long before they summon the patience and sanity together to get together the paperwork. Even if a customer does manage to fill it all out and send in their rebate form, companies can deny your rebate easily, either by some dreamed-up technicality or by their own incompetence. And even if you do get your rebate check, finally, think of the interest that the company has made off of your money by drawing out the process and frustrating you as long as possible. It’s in the best interest of a company to either never pay you or draw the process out as long as possible. If you see a good price on something you want to buy and it has a rebate on top of that, heck, buy it, but don’t count on that rebate. If you manage to successfully complete a rebate application, bonus.

If you still don’t believe us, here’s a reader account of his recent attempt to get a rebate from TigerDirect and OnRebate.com. Tex Texerson (possibly a nom de plume) purchased a hard drive from Tiger Direct and submitted all the proper documentation, but was still denied his rebate check. Why? Because OnRebate simply denied ever getting the paper-work.

Tex’s account after the jump:

I recently bought three items from TigerDirect.ca, all of which had mail-in rebates through OnRebate.com. One of the requirements listed was proof of purchase. I said to myself “Great, I can send them all in one envelope with one copy of the receipt and I’ll save myself the trouble”. WRONG. I got two statements from OnRebate saying the receipt was missing, but they let one go through.

Of course I disputed this. The “helpful” help desk replied:

> /If you have a copy of the Invoice,please fax to 888-426-9467,so that
> we can process ASAP/

My reply:

> But you HAVE the invoice! I sent three rebates in the same envelope,
> all of which had the same invoice! You accepted one with that
> invoice already!

Their reply was this very informative and obviously spell-checked beauty:

> We have looked into our records in an attempt to help you with your
> rebate status. After review, it seems your rebate submissions were
> denied for lack of invoice, no upc bar code, or outside the Postmark
> date.
> Here is your rebate tracking information we have on file:
> Reason: PLEASE FAX A COPY OF INVOICE TO 305-514-4400
> You may check the status of these rebates as well online at
> http://www.onrebate.com .
> If you do not have the required documentation as stated on the rebate
> form you will unfortunatelly be subject for denail.
> We hope that we have provided you with excellent service. Shouold you
> have any further questions or concerns please contact us at
> 1-888-222-9300 or simply reply to this email. Thank you for using
> OnRebate.com

Of course, since this particular purchase was for a hard drive to replace one that had failed and was subsequently removed from my system, and it contained the scans of my invoices, well, that didn’t happen.

Sure, I might have been able to get my money had I faxed two more copies of the *same* invoice which they already had on file, but I just got fed up and really annoyed that I had to jump through hoops over something so stupid.

Rest assured, I won’t be buying any OnRebate’d items from Tigerdirect again.