Are “rebates” a scam?


Picture taken by my "free" and mysteriously unrebated Verizon phone at The Big E.

Picture taken by my 'free' and unrebated Verizon phone at The Big E. Rebate Man is evilly gleeful with his XXX and his satchel of cash.

So Verizon, my cellular phone carrier, offered me a “free” phone meaning I had to pay for it and then get a rebate. So I mailed the barcode thingie and filled out the time-consuming paperwork and sent it in. I had it weighed at the counter at the post office to be sure I had adequate postage. Because I had heard about disappearing barcodes and rebates never actually collected, I had a friend witness the putting of the barcode into the envelope and the sealing of said envelope and the bringing of it to the post office. Sure enough, I got a postcard saying I could not get my rebate because of missing information – the barcode. So I called the phone number on the postcard. Dana informed me that machines open the envelopes and if they don’t find the rebates, the postcards about missing information go out.

Scary Clown with a mouth full of garbage. taken by my cheapo Verizon camera phone at The Big E.

Scary Clown with a mouth full of garbage. taken by my new "free" and as yet unrebated Verizon camera phone at The Big E. A picture speaks millions and millions of words. The road to hell is paved with unbought stuffed racehorses and pocketed noncollectable rebates. No good can come from ill-gotten gains and stolen inheritances. So many mangled adages, I'll quit while I am behind.

Hmmm. How did the machine miss the piece of cardboard with the magnetized bar code on it? Somehow it found my other information and knew how to contact me. Seems SORTA fishy. It’d make more sense if the whole envelope went missing. This happens a lot, from what I hear. Often people don’t make copies of the barcodes before mailing them. Who all has a copy machine? I don’t. But I did scan mine so I can print copies of it all day, every day. I is upsetting when companies scam. From what I hear such rebate scamming is rampant. Dana informed me that they get MILLIONS and MILLIONS of these envelopes with barcodes for rebates and tons of them are “missing” the barcodes. All those people forget to put the barcodes in?  If they save 50$ for every rebate they don’t have to send out, imagine the potential savings. I am going to file a class action suit. As soon as I figure out how. And someone needs to investigate this possible fraud/scam/whatever.

Another picture taken with my "free" Verizon phone which remains unrebated, at The Big E.

Another picture taken by my 'free' and unrebated Verizon camera phone at The Big E. Love this. Words speak a thousand millions and millions of words.

Dana informed me that when you send in your information AGAIN it is now opened by humans. Hmmm. For these humans to have to do this letter opening there have to be lots of them needing opening. Sounds inefficient. Do rebate houses get to keep the money they don’t have to pay out? I am on it. I am going to investigate. Inquiring Mos want to know. How many little old ladies (like me) get taken in this manner?

Addendum– remember the time I took the Verizon store hostage for over an hour to get a defective phone replaced and the tech people (why do they particularly care) refused to follow the orders of a manager at Executive Headquarters and the store Manager (again outranked by the the Executive HQ) refused to eve  get on the phone with the rep fro Exec HQ?  That old story from my old newsletter is here. And then I wrote about it again with links to other mad peoples’ stories here.

Another Addendum- A friend of mine bought a special something or other phone with that special EOD or whatever eye system thing which offered a $700 rebate. He didn’t read the small type about making a copy of the rebate and sent off the original barcode only to get the same postcard saying, “Oh, we didn’t get it. You’ll have to send another.” He is a highly intelligent guy who is all organized and such (although often bad about keeping in touch) but he missed that. I think they count on that. If 10% of the millions of rebate thingies they get are rejected imagine the savings? 700 times hald a million is….? In the case of Verizon even 1% of millions and millions of 50$ checks not having to be written is… ?

That camera company farmed out their rebates to a rebate house. I would love to know how that compensation structure works. I begged him to send me his rebate rejection postcard and let me do it. I begged him to file a claim in small claims court against the camera company and see if they sent a representative to his small town to answer the charges or if they just paid it. He didn’t let me. I might have gotten a judge to award what they call treble damages. That means times 3. I could likely file a claim in small claims court here in Whoville charging them with Unlawful, Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices. You can do that when you get taken. Why not? We need a Geraldo Rivera to make a surprise visit to the rebate houses with camera crew in tow and see what’s going on, or if he gets punched in the nose. Are there any Geraldos left?

Speaking of farming, I read a book in college called, “Three Farms”, by Mark William Kramer, in which the author researched 3 Farms; a small family-run farm, a medium family-run but with hired hands farm, and a large corporate farm in which he finally found the “farmer” in an office in some high rise glass building somewhere. The large corporate farm grew tomatos and sold them into the ketchup factory. By law they were able to sell x% of rotten tomatos per ton. So, they did all these time trials/experiments and regularly calibrated their conveyer belts as they went past the Quality Assurance pickers. They slowed down the machines so that not more than the allowed percentage of rotten tomatos got past. And they sped up the machines so the full amount of allowable rotten tomatos would get past. At the ketchup factory the rotten tomatos were treated with chemicals so they would not kill people. How do you like them possibly-metaphorical tomatoes?

Final Addendum- I called Verizon Customer Service this morning and got another Dana, just like the one at the outsourced rebate hour in El Paso. This Dana also seemed tired and annoyed but she agreed to credit my account, wearily, for the $50. Likely because I said I was going to go to the V-store to turn in my phone and cancel my contract. So if this happens to you, call Customer Service and don’t back down.

One Response to “Are “rebates” a scam?”

  1. I had a different problem with verizon, about being double billed. It was a nightmare dealing with them over the phone. I ended up sending an email out to the Better Business Bureau, and emails to verizon’s main offices informing them that I did so. Surprisingly, I got a call from a very apologetic verizon staff member, who said I’d be rebated immediately and the people who gave me trouble on the phone would be delt with ‘internally’, whatever that means. I wasn’t expecting to win against the verizon behemoth, but I did…

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