Rebate Company Sends Your Check To The Wrong Person, Tells You To Collect The Money

Reader Mike says that he contacted a rebate company after not receiving his check, only to find out that the company had issued a check to someone else — and then suggested he contact that person and “discuss the matter of your rebate being deposited in his account.” Um… what?

Mike writes:

Try buying any good deal at Fry’s that doesn’t have a rebate. You can’t. So I bought an EVGA video card in May 2008 with a $45 rebate. Having played the rebate game before, I know that filling in the form properly and reading the terms are key. The EVGA rebate form said “Limit ONE rebate per product, receipt, household, family or address.” I soon found out that the most key term is none of the above.

After waiting over 10 weeks for my check (2 weeks after the 6-8 week suggested processing time), I attempted to contact http://www.evgarebates.com/ by phone. No combination of button-pressing in the automated phone system would get me to a live person. You would think that the most common issue of never having received your rebate would be an option, but it is not. After some research I learned that evgarebates is actually Rebateshq which is the Parago corporation. After calling Parago corporate in Coppell, Texas, I was contacted by Kent [redacted] who is a Major Account Analyst. I explained on the phone to Kent (yes a live person!) that I had not received my rebate and that I had copies of my rebate form and receipt. After some research he sent me this email:

Attached you will find copies of the check in which we discussed. Please review the information and let me know if you have any questions.

The only problem was that the check was in someone else’s name at the same address. I checked my rebate form at noted that I had filled it out in MY name and no one else’s. Another email to Kent and he asked me if I knew the name on the check, to which I replied that it was a relative of mine living at the same address.

A week went by and I heard nothing, so after pinging Kent I got an email:

Thanks for being so patience with me while researching this matter. However, looking into this matter further, it appears that there are several submissions in our system for the same address for both Bob and Mike Jones (names changed on purpose). Here is what has appeared to have happened, our system is set up to auto populate using the most recent data. It appears that at the time of data entry, Bob’s name auto populated versus your name because of the address. Being that this has taken place, as you know Bob Jones deposited the check into account number: XXXXXXXXXX which has cleared our bank. So at this point we suggest that you check with Bob and discuss that matter of your rebate being deposited into his account. We apologize for the delay in regards to this matter, but had the check not been cashed, we could have updated the name and had the check reissued the rebate.

Should you have any questions please let me know.

At this point I was rather upset. They sent the rebate to the wrong person and now they expect me to go to that person and get their money back for them. What am I, a collection agency??

After doing some research, I realized that the only information on the rebate form that is actually entered into the system is the phone number. If you have filed a rebate previously for any of the MANY companies that Parago processes, it will pull up the name and address that is in their system. At that point, the data entry drone who most likely moonlights as the “officer” that verifies those red-light camera violations, decides if the information in their system matches your rebate form. One click and the operator saves the time of having to read in all of that information on the form and type it in. What a time saver! But on the off chance that two people have the same phone number (I guess Parago decided that most geeky Fry’s shoppers really do live alone), your roommate will get your rebate. The rebate form should actually say “Limit ONE rebate per product, receipt, household, family or address or phone number.”

After calming down, I finally sent out this email to Kent:

The facts are:
1. I filed the rebate properly in my name.
2. You incorrectly sent the rebate to someone else, through no fault of mine.
3. You have proof that someone else cashed the check.
4. You did not send ME the rebate.
5. I did not cash a rebate check from you.
6. You have not fulfilled the rebate to me.

At this point I would suggest to YOU that YOU get the rebate amout of $45 back from the person you sent it to.

Since I am only 20 minutes away from Coppell, I have no problem filing a case in small claims court locally stating the above 6 points and presenting the proof of the cancelled checks you have provided me. I have no problem presenting the email you have sent me suggesting that I go to a third party and try to get the money from them. The look on the judge’s face will be entertaining.

That email did the trick and Mike got this response:

Thanks for sharing with me how you feel about this matter. However, please be advised that tracking number XXXXXXXX-$45.00 has been created for processing. You will receive the $45.00 rebate within 7-10 business days.

We apologize for the delay and inconvenience.

Either way, remember to keep track of each and every rebate!

You’re not kidding, Mike. Personally, we don’t bother with rebates because we know that we will never, ever, ever be sufficiently organized/willing to a) fill them out correctly b) remember that they exist and c) fight for them the way Mike did. (In other words, we’re the target audience for rebates, which is exactly why we shouldn’t bother with them.)

Some people, however, are rebate warriors. Kudos to you for making them pay up.