Seven Months to get a rebate
AKRON, OHIO -- My 20+ week journey to get a $130 rebate.
I ordered a Compaq laptop computer in the first week of January, 2006. I received the printer and laptop about five days apart; the computer arrived last, Jan. 24, 2006. I gathered and filled out the original paperwork, including the originals of all barcodes, etc. I made copies of everything. I sent the package the second week of February and never received an email to confirm they had the rebate, as the salesperson said they would, or the rebate checks, one for $50, the other for $80. I checked the HPshopping.com rebate system. They had no record of my rebate. I was told 8-10 weeks for a rebate, so it was about week 11 before I made the first phone call to HP. The first time I called, the recording said they were experiencing technical difficulties. I called the number again a few moments later and got a rep. This would have been the near the end of May.
During this first phone call, I was told she had no record of me buying a computer and printer from them. I told them I had purchased the computer on line directly from HPshopping.com with the help of a live representative. She said she had no access to that information because they are “just the rebate center.” She transferred me to another department and this rep told me they did have my purchase information, but I had not given them an email. I told her that, within a week of buying the computer, I changed servers and both emailed and called Hpshopping.com to give them this change. I needed them to put my new address in their system for me to access my account on HPshopping.com. At that point, they told me that my rebate must have been “lost.”
One side note here: I have been monthly receiving coupons in the mail and advertisements through my email address since purchasing the computer. Someone, somewhere, had information that I bought a computer, and that I had given them my correct contact addresses, but apparently not the rebate center.
During this first phone call, I was transferred back to the rebate center. She told me to resubmit the rebate and gave me the address as Compaq/HP, PO Box 42954, Mesa, AZ 85274 and told me to address it as a Resubmit Rebate. The next day, as I was addressing the envelope, I wanted to ask on which line to write the Resubmit Rebate title. I didn’t want to make any mistakes to delay the rebate further. I called the number again and was given this exact same address.
I mailed the rebate again at the end of the week, May 31, but this time, I sent it Certified mail with a return receipt. It cost me $5.12 to do this. I kept checking the online rebate system on HP’s website; they had no record of my rebate. I checked the USPS site to track my mail.
According the USPS tracking site, they attempted to deliver my mail June 3, but the address was “Wrong” and an attempt was being made to “Forward it.” A bit astounded, I called HP again and explained the situation. This time, a very perplexed rep said, “Why would they give you THAT address? We changed that weeks ago.” I explained to her that I had not only been given the address on a Sunday, but on that Monday as well. Two reps, different days, same address. She was at a loss to explain it, other than “It’s recently been changed. You’ll have to submit the rebate again.”
At this point, I lost control. I apologized to this poor rep and said, “I am not going to personally attack you as a human, but I am really angry at the company you work for. First, you lose my rebate. Then, you have no record of my purchase, then I’m told the wrong address, twice. Now you are telling me I have to submit it a third time?” I then asked her, if I bought the computer DIRECTLY from them, why I wasn’t given these rebates at the time of purchase. My credit card went through, they were paid, The delivery of the computer was something I had to sign for and they would have record of: Why wasn’t I given my $130 RIGHT THEN as a credit towards the purchase? I apologized to her, she apologized to me. Then I told her, “I’m off all summer, I’ve got 76 days to call and mess with this, so I’m not going away. I hope the person you are recording this call for is listening to this." Earlier that day, I had Googled “HP/Compaq and rebate and complaint” on line and there are thousands of complaints against them; mostly about rebates. I told her this. She suggested, then, I wait for the second rebate to be forwarded from the address I was given to the address it needed to arrive at. I asked her how long it would take. She said, “About two weeks.” I said, “I got a package sent from Paris, France to Ohio in less time than that.”
I watched the USPS tracking site and my envelope was delivered to Young America, MN, 55558-7004 on June 8. I called again Monday June 12, 2006. This time, the rep asked me for my case number and I told her I had never been given one. I gave her my information and she went from nice to trite in about four seconds. I said, “I’ve called before.” She said, “We log all the calls.” I told her the whole story again, including the part about the last rep suggesting I wait for the mail to be forwarded. Again, I was told, “We have no record of you sending a rebate.” This time, I said, “Really. The United States Post Office says that someone there signed for my rebate package and I’m getting a little slip back with his or her name on it any day now.” She insisted they have nothing and that I resubmit the rebate again and rattled an address off to me. I recognized the zip. I said, “55558. That’s the zip my paperwork was delivered to. She explained the process, made excuses, and told me things I have heard before. Finally, I said, “When, from this point, can I expect my money?” She again said, “I can’t guarantee you anything because I show nothing in my system. I really do suggest you resubmit.” I said, “What’s the address again, please?” In an exasperated tone, she said, “I just gave it to you.” I replied, “I really didn’t think I was going to need it, so I didn’t write it down. If I submit it again, it’s the third time.” She gave me yet a different address: DT01008, HP Award Center, offer #DT01008, PO Box 7004, Young America, MN, 55558-7004. I asked her what would happen from here if I resubmitted and she said in a snotty tone, “Well, you have until October to get your rebate. You have time.” At that point, I made up my mind to report them to the Better Business Bureau whether I got my money or not.
One side note: My offer numbers are CN00206 and BT31A. Where did they get the DT01008? When I put this offer number into HPshopping's rebate search engine, there is none found.
June 19th, 2006: 6:20PM (by this time, I’m keep a careful log of when, where, and who), I called the same number I have been calling. It was experiencing difficulties and I was told to call again later. I called them right back. A menu was given, a rep answered, I was asked for a case number, I told them I’ve never been given one, and he redirected my call right back to the same menu I got when first called. Another rep answered and again took all my information. J--- was very nice. He said to call back in a week because there was no rebate information for me in their system. Okay then. Now it has been 18 weeks.
June 26th, 2006, 2:00PM Called the rebate line. It was busy. I was on hold for about five minutes, a rep answered and took my information. I was again put back to the same menu I got before. Another rep answered, J---, who took my information and told me two checks, one for $50, the other for $80 had been processed just that day. I asked when they would be sent. She said, “Ten days.” I thanked her very much. Meanwhile, for the first time since February, I went on line to the HP rebate center and they have record of my rebates sitting there. Note to self and to all other rebate senders: Go certified mail. Proof is a beautiful thing. The fact that the Post Office is a branch of the Federal Government is even better.
July 7, 2006, two checks from HP arrived in the mail; my rebates, finally. It only took almost seven months, sending it twice, many phone calls, many times being transferred around, and paying for certified mail. I will NEVER buy an HP/Compaq computer again unless the rebate is instantly given to me.