"Will I Ever Get My Office Depot Refund?"

Reader Marshall writes in to ask if we think he’s going to get his Office Depot (technically, Ativa) refund by the end of the month. Currently, the company’s excuse for not sending him his money is that they’re “out of gift cards.”

In January 2006, I purchased a shredder from Office Depot with the brand name Ativa, which apparently is a company Office Depot owns. It has a seven year warranty. In July 2007, about a year and a half later, the thing breaks. I call my local Office Depot. They say there’s nothing they can do, call the national Office Depot 800 number. I call the national number, it it takes my four tries (each time the representative giving me the wrong number, including one for Sony Customer service) to actually get the correct number for Ativa Technical Support, which is: 877-777-4357. I call that number, and the person who answers asks me to explain the problem.

Upon my explaining the problem, the Ativa representative says, “How often did you add shredder lubricant?” I said maybe two or three times. She said, “I’m sorry, shredders need to be lubricated at least once a month. The fact that you did not lubricate the shredder invalidates your warranty.”

I respond, “Where does it state in the owner’s manual that I need to oil the shredder?” This results in a 20 minute conversation which basically entails me reading my copy of the owner’s manual to her, after which we agree that the only reference to oiling it is, “Never use any oil or lubricants not clearly specified for shredder use in or around the machine as some oils can combust causing serious injury.”

After this, she agrees that I will be issued a refund, in the form of a gift card that can be used at any Office Depot store.

Here’s the problem: they won’t actually send the credit. At the time (late August, 2007) it was supposed to arrive in 4 to 6 weeks. When I called in November having not received it, they said it would arrive at the end of the month. When it didn’t arrive, I called in December. They said it would arrive just after Christmas.

I called them on Friday (1/18/08), and they said that they were short on staff to send out the cards and didn’t actually have enough of the cards in stock to send.

But I should have it at the end of January, the supervisor promises. Somehow I find that very hard to believe. How about a Consumerist poll in the comments: will I get my gift card by the end of January? A yes or no vote should do it.


Ask and you shall receive.

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