Mr. DiNicola and company,
I am writing to demand the rebate that your company owes me since my large window treatment purchase in April and to express outrage at the lack of service or even interest from your company in rectifying this situation.
Per the details below, I purchased more than $200 worth of window treatments (including seven cordless blinds and two curtain rods) in April because of the promise of a $100 gift card rebate from Linens n Things. This was the main reason I chose to purchase items at your store instead of at your competitors' stores. I sent the rebate in May (postmarked by the June 1) date, and waited patiently. By the terms on your rebate form (6-8 weeks processing time), I was to receive my gift card by the end of July.
Since August, I have been regularly contacting your company and the rebate center by phone, email and online form, each time receiving inaccurate, incomplete and/or conflicting information and empty promises. As of today, Oct. 19, I still am without a rebate. What's more, I still have not heard from anyone at your company since I sent the email below on Oct. 1 (I did receive one very short form letter response from email@example.com that promised a full response "soon." I still have not received that full response.). Obviously, I am not pleased and feel quite betrayed as a consumer.
Here is what I would like from you, Mr. DiNicola:
1) Read the series of events below.
2) Read the Oct. 1 email below. (not included on My3Cents.com)
3) Personally email a proper response to me, detailing:
why this situation is happening
why your customers have not received information about a delay in receiving their rebates
why customer service has not been able to help me
why the rebate center has not been able to help me
why you have not responded to my emails thus far
what you will personally do to ensure your customers do not have to go through this ever again
why you are sorry this happened
4) Personally send me the $100 gift card rebate within 10 days.
5) Demand that your rebate center immediately process all gift card rebates from this spring's window treatment promotion
Mr. DiNicola, this truly has been a disgraceful situation. From the little I can gather from the rebate center, Linens n Things switched rebate centers this summer, which may have accounted for the delay. If this is the case, I do not understand why your customers were not alerted that their rebates would take additional months to arrive. Thousands of customers paid you a courtesy by shopping for big-ticket items at your stores in response to this rebate offer; you should pay them the same courtesy by fulfilling a rebate within the time promised on your own rebate form.
As you'll notice above, I have copied the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, Consumerist.com and investigative reporters for my area news outlets. I also am looking to update the reports I have already filed with the FTC and BBB.
In addition, I am sending this letter to many friends and family members to encourage them to shop for home decor and organizational items elsewhere at least until after this rebate debacle is resolved. There is a very strong chance that they -- and I -- will not return as customers at all, but there still is hope. As president, you can make this right. You can treat your customers with the respect and appreciation they deserve for the hard-earned money they have spent in your stores. I will not go away until this is resolved to my satisfaction.
I look forward to your response -- and my gift card -- within 10 days.
Series of Events:
April 28 - purchased $228.48 worth of window treatments from Brentwood, Mo., location
May 30 - mailed rebate form, UPCs, order confirmation and receipt to rebate center in Douglas, AZ, listed on rebate form
June 1 - rebate postmark deadline
July 31 - rebate should have arrived by this point
Aug. 1 - called rebate center. Was told that the system was down and to wait 10-15 more days
Aug. 1 - checked status on rebate center site linked from lnt.com. Said rebate was under review.
Aug. 9 - emailed LnT customer service for assistance
Aug. 10 - response from Lnt customer service said Lnt does not have access to rebate information and cannot help. Suggested contacting rebate center.
Aug. 11 - called rebate center. Was told email confirmations of rebate form receipt (as listed on form) aren't always sent. Rebate center in "transition" and can't provide information.
Aug. 11 - completed online form on rebate center site requesting help and information.
Aug. 11 - emailed LnT customer service explaining that the rebate center was useless and unresponsive. Requested contact from LnT customer service supervisor.
Aug. 12 - LnT emailed, said customer service representative/supervisor would personally contact me soon
Aug. 13 - completed online form on rebate center site again requesting assistance
Aug. 13 - Jessica T. of LnT customer service emailed with direct fax number and name of "Jena" at rebate center. Suggests waiting to see if latest rebate center contact attempts work and if not, fax all info to Jena
Sept. 26 - Faxed copies of rebate form, UPCs, order confirmation and receipt and two-page letter to "Jena" at rebate center. Requested confirmation of fax receipt.
Oct. 1 - Did not receive confirmation or contact, so called rebate center. "Cassandra" said "error" was on rebate claim and rebate center had requested that I fax all materials to them (Note: rebate center did NOT request the fax). Cassandra said my rebate was now being processed by her center in White Bear Lake, MN, after the previous center in Arizona (the one on the original rebate form) went defunct. Her center was just getting around to processing the rebates. She said they "just don't do that" when asked why a notice about the switch or delay wasn't sent to customers). I asked to be transferred to a supervisor; she said none were available. I asked for a supervisor's direct number; she wouldn't provide it.
Oct. 1 - sent the email below to LnT executives, customer support, Consumerist.com, attorneys general of Missouri and New Jersey and Federal Trade Commission
Oct. 1 - received from letter from firstname.lastname@example.org promising to do "everything in our power to meet your expectations" and to "respond by telephone or email" and "resolve any and all issues quickly."
Oct. 5 - called rebate center. "Michelle" said that the previous rebate center rep "Cassandra" was mistaken, as she saw no error on my rebate claim. She said my claim looked fine and was "processing." She said all rebates would be sent "soon," but she did not know when.
Oct. 5-present - filed official complaints with FTC, BBB and attorneys general of Missouri and New Jersey. Posted the situation to many websites, including PlanetFeedback.com, RebateRipOff.com and RebateReportCard.com, among others.
Oct. 19 - Have not received any response from the Linens n Things camp. Have not received my $100 rebate gift card. Have not received any notifications or explanations from rebate center.
VENTURA, CALIFORNIA -- Continued.. This is an ongoing complaint with the Linens and Things store in Ventura, CA. Here is the letter I e-mailed to the customer service dept. I think it pretty much covers any visit to this particular LNT store.
Ongoing complaint- Every visit:
Hi, I have a complaint about the retail store located in Ventura, California. The store has a very large, very disorganized, clearance section. The prices marked on the items in the clearance section are always different at the register. I have spoken with several different store managers and they have no resolution, only that either I can pay the price that the item rings up, or not. So, considering that I have spent countless hours, yes hours, of my time shopping in this store, not just the clearance section, I would think that not honoring the marked price on clearance merchandise, repeatedly, and on several occasions, would violate my consumer rights by advertising and attracting my attention to the clearance section, only to find that the items that I selected from that section had the incorrect price stickers. I believe in certain terms that would be considered "bait and switch". The last incident at this store and the ignorant, uncaring attitude I encountered when I spoke with the store manager has turned me away from shopping in any Linen's N Things store again until something is done about this problem. Specifically, after spending an hour and a half in your store, I went to the register to pay for my items, one of which was a iJoy ottoman that was marked by a yellow sticker on the plastic over the logo and said "As Is" , "Display Model", and the price of "$12.99". The matching iJoy Chair "Display Model" was also marked as clearance with a yellow sticker on the wired control that also said "As Is", "Store Display Model", and the price of "$29.99. Now, because I had encountered problems in the past, I only took the ottoman to the register to purchase, along with my other regular items, and planned to ask the cashier about having the chair brought up as well, after the prices had been checked and approved as I'm sure they would be questioned, considering the original prices for the two items in original retail condition. As I had suspected, after some time waiting for the store manager, who said they had to consult the infamous price inventory "computer" before selling the items at the marked price, I was informed that the chair and ottoman had the incorrect clearance price stickers, and that the correct prices were $249.99 for the ottoman and $599.99 for the chair, regardless of their used condition and absence of retail packaging and materials. The only explanation I was given was "Some kid must have switched the stickers." The store manager nor any of the employees volunteered an apology, much less concern for my time and business shopping at their store. On the previous occasions when this problem arose, I was given the same treatment and ignorant attitude, regardless of the incorrectness of marked prices of items, or fault of the store in any manner. So, I feel that either I am being discriminated against by this store for shopping in the clearance section, or, that the clearance section is only a "ploy" to draw customers into the store. Also, I may add, that there are tables throughout the store in the main isles which are promoted with "Clearance" items related to the specific type of items location in the store. For example, on the main isle passing the draperies, there are several "clearance" tables with items that would normally be located in that area, but have been clearance priced due to seasonal or discontinued status. To the advantage of the store, and dismay of the observant consumer, the item is not any lower than the original shelf price when scanned at the register. Unfortunately, for the not so observant consumer, the mistake goes unnoticed, and the trusting customer pays for the items, happy to have gotten such a bargain! By the time the customer realizes the error, if they do at all, it is too much of a hassle to return the item or make a complaint. We all have busy lives, families, and events. What's a few dollars wasted for a store error every once in a while?? Personally, after a few shopping visits at this Linens N Things store, I feel like a fool, not a valued customer. I urge you to investigate this issue in depth with regard to all your customers, as I am sure that I am not alone in my opinions. As for my own loyalty, I'll be taking my business elsewhere, where the prices marked are not "Too good to be true", they're just true, and I am treated with the respect and dignity I deserve as a consumer at any retail establishment.
Also, I would like to explain that usually the clearance items are not big items, but little misc. leftovers. Still, 2 out of 3 times, the price that rings up at the register is higher than marked, if not regular price. I have also purchased items only to get home and find a lesser price regularly marked than the sale price. I inquired into this a time or two and, you guessed it,...."Someone stuck the wrong sticker on it","Clearance items are sold "as is" and are non-returnable." I can't say I was surprised!
VENTURA, CALIFORNIA -- I have several complaints regarding the Linens and Things located in Ventura, California. Because of the severity of the circumstances and different experiences with the same store, I am going to tell them one at a time...
First Bad Experience: I purchased a Dual Control Heating Mattress Pad from Linens and Things for $79.99. When I got home I opened the box to find the most disgusting piece of bedding I have ever seen or smelled! The obviously used mattress was saturated with the smell of cigarettes and urine and even had holes burned in it from what looked like cigarettes left burning. It was so terrible that once the smell reached my nostrils, I began to gag and had to have my husband put it back in the box! It was already too late that evening to return it to the store so the next evening I returned to the store with my receipt in hand and ready to lodge my complaint. Well, so I thought! I was not only refused a refund, but called a liar to my face! As I started to protest with frustration and my receipt as proof I argued my rights. The cashier told me that she could not help me because this, “the mattress pad”, was not what I had purchased the day before in the same exact store, the day prior. As I argued that the box was unopened and that most customers do not open the box of a brand new item in the store to make sure it is brand new, she called the manager. The Manager said that “this”, meaning the mattress pad, was not the one that I bought in the box and was not sold in his store. At that point I was furious! I tried to calmly explain again that the box was unopened when I bought it and that neither I, nor the cashier who sold it to me, had broken the taped seal before completing the purchase. I tried to explain that as a trusting consumer, as most are, I didn't open the box and I most certainly DID purchase it in his store, as my receipt showed, the previous evening, and that I had a right to a refund. I was given the same response as before, and refused a refund. Then, to top it off, I was instructed to take the mattress pad back out of the store, with or without the box I purchased it in, or he would call the police! I took down the name of the cashier, the Store Manager, and a number to contact the corporate office all the while trying to understand why I was being treated this way. I felt after 45 minutes of argument and explanation that wasn't getting me anywhere, that I had no choice but to do what the Store Manager said. With everyone in the store staring and tears welling in my eyes from humiliation, frustration, and extreme anger, I held my breath, picked up the box, and took it back to my car. I cried as I spoke to my husband on my cell phone, trying to make some sense of the situation. Then, my husband said, “Why don't you just take it back to another store?” Although I had to drive 28 miles to the next nearest city with a Linen's and Things store, it gave me time to call the store to let the manager know my situation, and ask if there was going to be any problem getting a refund. Amazingly, there was not and the whole thing took less than 10 minutes! I didn't even have to mention the horrible treatment I had just received from the store I had purchased the mattress pad from! I just explained what happened like I had before and with respect, the Store Manager of this store not only refunded my money, but also apologized profusely for the extreme error and thanked me for my understanding and forgiveness. Now, that is what I thought customer service was supposed to be like! To be continued....