Was Our Rejection Two Coincidental Typos, Or Vast Rebate Conspiracy?

Have you recently had an HP rebate cruelly denied even though you followed the instructions flawlessly and included all items asked for? A. tells Consumerist that this happened to two family members in two separate transactions. It may have been a coincidence, but still made A. suspicious.

A friend suggested sending you a tip about the HP rebate both I and my father
have had issue with. We each bought new computers from MacMall which offered a
free HP printer with purchase.

When we had received the goods, we each carefully went over exactly what we had
to provide for our rebates and were sure to make a photocopy of everything we
sent out.

Well, yesterday we each got an “IMPORTANT DOCUMENT” which stated “We appreciate
your purchase, but your submission for the offer was declined for the following
reason(s): Submission did not include the necessary HP/Compaq printer serial
numbers bar code labels to qualify for this particular offer. It is possible
that we cannot determine the exact serial numbers as they have been written on
your submission”

This was, to put plainly, complete crap. Not only did we each provide the
*actual* serial number/bar code label as the rebate demanded, but we each very
clearly printed the serial number where it was asked for within the forum. Good
thing my father and I always photocopy our rebate submissions. Even better? I
received this letter on 8/24/2010 and it says that I can mail the bottom portion
with my serial #/model # in order to resubmit the rebate — so long as it is
received by 9/19/2010. And it says to allow 4 weeks from the mailing date to
arrive. Interesting math, there, isn’t it? Gladly, they also provide a phone
number to call.

Dad called yesterday and they claimed it was “mis-keyed” and told him they were
approving the rebate and would send the check out to be received in 4 weeks.

I called today about it, and what do you know…[Redacted] the customer service rep I
talked to said mine was “mis-keyed” as well. What a crazy random happenstance
(points for you if you get that reference).

I told her that I was now quite concerned since I knew someone else who had had
the same problem with this same rebate and perhaps someone should look into how
these rebates are being keyed in. She was silent for a moment, cleared her
throat and after apologizing for the inconvenience told me the rebate was now
approved and I’d be getting my check in 4 weeks.

This all seems fishy to me…and I wonder if anyone else out there has had the
same issue. The specific rebate is the BTC ’10 Any PC Bundle MiR Offer #X086.

Anyone who’s been fired from a data entry job knows: mistakes do happen. Sometimes they happen to a bunch of documents in a row when you’re distracted or having a bad day. Still, keep backups of your rebate submissions for this very reason – or your free printer won’t be free at all. Oh noes!