SANFORD, FLORIDA -- Before explaining how the ink and toner cartridge recycling program is a scam, I need to share a terrible customer service experience with OfficeMax: I had been a casual shopper at OfficeMax for over a decade, and a few years ago I decided to join the MaxPerks rewards program so that I can take advantage of the fact that I have many empty toner cartridges from the company I work for. The ink/toner recycling program set up by OfficeMax allowed you to bring in up to 10 cartridges per week, and you would get $3.00 in store credit for each cartridge.
Doing this, I was able to earn between $60.00 and $120.00 in store credit per month, depending on the number of cartridges I had to bring in. I chose to spend $120 of it on office furniture, some supplies, and other small things. I used another $250 on a new HP printer/scanner. I continued saving my rewards, and in December of 2009 I decided to use them to buy a new desktop computer, valued at $700.
I printed each month's statement (which was what you needed to do to have something to give to the clerk showing your reward member number and that month's card number for entry as store credit). I walked into the store with about 8 of these sheets of paper, walked to the computer, took my computer to the register and had the clerk ring it up.
The young lady at the counter was being watched by the assistant manager, and he seemed to notice I was carrying a handful of MaxPerks Rewards statements to use with this big ticket item. He took over the register and said, in a very fake-cheerful voice, "And are you going to be using cash, or credit to pay for this today?", very obviously making it clear he was excluding other forms of payment, such as what I held in my hand. I placed the papers on the counter and said "Neither; I'll be paying with my store credit from my MaxPerks account."
He immediately shook his head and spoke in a condescending voice, saying "You can't pay for this with those rewards." I asked why I couldn't, as a prior phone conversation with a member of the MaxPerks customer service confirmed that I would be able to use them on ANY item in the store, as it literally is store credit with a one-year expiration. He insisted that I can use it for only smaller items (he did not define what price was considered the maximum for a "small" item). I asked to speak to his manager, who I was sure would calmly put this guy in his place and apologize for the confusion, and finish the transaction so I could be on my way.
I was wrong. The store manager (**) began with a demeaning tone of voice, hostile look and defensive body language. He told me that I could not use my rewards for a computer. I asked why I couldn't, and he never gave me a direct answer -- only stated that "Regional wouldn't allow it," and that they had discussed this very issue at a recent meeting.
I reminded him that the OfficeMax website clearly states that I can use my MaxPerks rewards on any item in the store, same as store credit, and can use any number of months' rewards together on the same purchase as long as they have not gone over their 1-year expiry date. He said I must not have read it right. I told him that I had spoken to a member of the MaxPerks customer service earlier who had confirmed I would not have any problems using my rewards to buy a new $700 computer from the store, and he said she must have misunderstood me.
** proceeded to get louder and verbally abusive after I told him that it would be ethically and legally wrong for a company to promise one thing and then have a store manager deny the customer this promise. He said "You're not a 'CUSTOMER'! All I ever see you in here for is to bring us empty toner cartridges! You never buy anything... you're not a customer!" His voice was not quite a shout, but definitely a yell -- everyone in the store who was within eyesight was watching, customers and employees alike.
I then reminded him in a calm voice that I was just in last week to buy DVD cases and the week before to buy envelopes and bubble-wrap, and that he himself has manned the register on several of my recent purchases. I told him I will get on the cell phone with the MaxPerks customer service so that they could speak to him. ** said "Fine! You do that!", apparently confident that he was genuinely correct.
As I was on the phone with a woman in customer service, the assistant manager got on the store phone and was hunched over it, making furtive glances back at me, presumably speaking to someone within OfficeMax upper-management regarding the situation. ** had gone back to stocking shelves.
The customer service woman pulled up my information and confirmed that I was indeed right and should be able to use all of my rewards that day and go home with a new $700 computer. She implied, but did not say, that possibly the manager did not want to lose a big ticket item on the store's books to a store credit purchase as it would not reflect as positively as if it was bought with cash or credit card.
She was willing to speak with **, so I approached him and he stood up and said "So, did you get that all straightened out?", as if he seriously thought I had just been corrected by customer service. I told him "Yes, and she wants to speak to you to tell you what she told me."
He then spoke to her briefly, handed back the phone, and said she was misinformed and he will still not do it. She told me that the only thing she could do at this point was to send an email to the Regional Director (who the manager had said would agree strongly with him). All I could do at this point was thank her. She said he would likely get back to me on Monday or Tuesday, as it was Saturday and he was not in the office.
I told ** that I will be back on Monday or Tuesday, whenever the Regional Manager called me to tell me I was legit and that he (**) was incorrect. The manager laughed me off. I went home without the computer, and roughly 1 hour later, I got a phone call from the Regional Manager. He told me he was aware of the entire situation and apologized for the confusion, and that I could head back to the store and use my store credit as I had planned. I told him that I would like the store manager to apologize, as he was the one who offended me, not the Regional Manager, but when I got there 15 minutes later, the employees said he left for the day.
I asked to speak to the same assistant manager who was rude to me, but the girl at the counter said he was elsewhere in the store, but didn't know where. I paid for my computer with the rewards cards I had saved, and as I walked out of the store, I saw the assistant manager come out of the back room directly behind where the clerk stood. I waved and smiled, and he just looked at me with undisguised anger. Nice. I used my left over rewards on a new digital camera, and now that they have changed their program rules for recycling empty cartridges, and after seeing that ** is still employed there, I will never bring my empties there OR shop there, ever again.
The same program I used has been changed drastically starting in 2010, probably because people like myself were using the program to its full potential, and the marketing people may not have foreseen this as a possibility. They handed out small fliers at the register to let people know of the change. The flier itself is a copy of the info about the change found on the website at the time. I'm a writer, and can tell you that the wording was intentionally made extremely vague and confusing, enough so that even the customer service representative I spoke to couldn't explain the changes to me.
After the first month, however, I looked at my statement in February to see what the changes meant. Basically, the rewards last only 90 days now, not a year. That's not a big deal. But apparently you need to spend actual money on items in the store and show your Rewards Card to have it applied, and an equal amount will then become available out of the store credit amount you earn with returning empty cartridges.
I had brought them 40 cartridges in January, which should have given me $120 in store credit for that month. But because I only spent 30-some bucks on items using cash, only $36 of my $120 appears to be usable, and yet even still I cannot get the website to allow me to print a statement for me to use even that small amount.
Bottom line: OfficeMax is not doing the recycling program to help the environment, or to offer rewards to customers, or anything other than to profit. Each of their empty cartridges are sent to a warehouse where they can then send them in bulk to companies that refill these toner cartridges with generic toner (a common practice, as generic toner is much cheaper). Those companies can pay anywhere from $4 to $15 for each of these empties because they can sell a refilled cartridge for anywhere from $10 to $200. So there is indeed a profit to be made by OfficeMax -- they just don't want to share it with the customers anymore.
I am taking my empties -- and my business -- elsewhere. Staples only allows 10 returned cartridges per month, but they give you $3 each in store credit that you can actually spend without having to worry about buying crap with cash to "open up" an equal amount of those saved rewards.
The Sanford store sucks, and the only thing I found pleasant about it was one great employee named ** who was always kind and friendly -- she rocks. The other employees are either apathetic, tired, bored, uninformed, rude, or like the assistant manager and store manager, extremely unfit for any type of employment dealing with other humans. I'd recommend going to CompUSA for your office supply needs, and especially for computers. Best prices, awesome sales, and friendly, informed staff.
MANITOWOC, WISCONSIN -- Our weekly flier for Office Max said, "buy $50.00 or more and receive 25% off of the total sale in MaxPerks Dollars (Rewards)." When I received my monthly rewards, the 25% rewards was NOT on there. I contacted OfficeMax Reward department with my complaint and they emailed this long list of rules back as to why I was denied the 25%. I had to read the rules twice to discover what part of the rules applied to my buy. It's not very plain, but it seems only the amount of sale in new dollars qualifies for the 25% back in max dollars. The list of rules is endless.
I buy at other retailers with rewards in my area and they don't have such a complex set of rules that it takes a lawyer to understand!! Now this is total DISCRIMINATION to treat the reward money as some kind of fake money. I can take the max rewards and buy $50.00 or more in qualifying products and use one of Office Max's coupons $10.00 off on a $50.00 or more purchase and $10.00 will be taken off of my bill. This works because the discount is given at the cash register and not by Office Max Rewards center that is trying in every way possible to rip the customer off. It is time for a CLASS ACTION Law Suit for discrimination.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN -- Your new MaxPerks program is not representative of the quality administration of your business that I have experienced in the past. I think that the MaxPerks program will alienate your customers and send them to your competitors if not changed.
My first experience with the program was a surprise. I called the store that I usually go to and asked if they still take empty ink cartridges in exchange for printer paper. I was told that they did, with a limit of ten empty cartridges. I drove several miles to the store and was told that I would be given a credit that would be added to a MaxPerks account that I needed to apply for. I was told that as soon as the account was activated I could apply the credit to a purchase. I was told that something would be sent to me in the mail to confirm my acceptance by the MaxPerks program.
About a month later, after not getting anything from OfficeMax confirming the credit, I went online and found, after calling MaxPerks customer service, that my account was active and that I indeed have a credit. So today I drove to the same store to finally apply my credit to a purchase of printer paper. At the checkout counter I was told that the store couldn't confirm my credit by my presenting the MaxPerks plastic card. I was told that I must go back online and print out a voucher showing the credit.
After expressing some frustration, I was directed to the back of the store where a clerk went online for me and was not able to get the needed credit voucher. After several tries and getting help from another clerk, the clerk called the OfficeMax Central Customer Service Department. This person got my permission for the clerk to go on my account to get the voucher for my purchase.
After several minutes of trying, and talking to the OfficeMax central customer service person, I was told that the credit on my account, applied nearly a month ago could not be spent until tomorrow! Also, the credit that was applied today could not be spent for another month. I would never have believed that a corporation as large and experienced as OfficeMax would have such a poor system.
MaxPerks looks good on the outside, but OfficeMax makes it so difficult to use that I'm sure plenty of people get disgusted and never use their "perks". For example, if you turn in used printer cartridges, you get $3 credited to your MaxPerks for each cartridge. But that credit is not automatically loaded to your MaxPerks card. To use it, you have to set up a Max Perks online account and then print out a coupon from that site with your credit on it. Then you take the coupon to the store to use it. If you don't use the entire amount, you have to print out another coupon the next time you want to use it.
So you have to make one trip to the store to turn in your cartridges and another one to use the credit. I found employees at the store - I went to in Columbus, Ohio, very rude and condescending about this program when I asked about it. They looked up my account, but could not tell me how much credit I had or give me the credit I already had accrued previously. I suggest going to another store for office needs. I know I will.
Hi, I am so upset right now that I will never shop at OfficeMax again. I am a small home office so when I saw that they had a promotion to get MaxPerks back when purchasing certain items I ordered enough to get $160.00 back in MaxPerks awards. On the first 2 calls of me explaining they said they would credit my account. When it did not happen, on the third call she told me I had not entered my account number. I explained that I had logged on with my password before I ordered and they had my max number associated with my account.
She agreed they had it, but again said she was sorry that I had to actually enter my max number again to get the perks and that there is no way to go back now. She said sorry that it was clear in the terms and conditions. Who reads the fine print??? I told them if they really wanted to honor their promotion they would have placed that information clearly on the 'check out' page.
Also I went to their terms and conditions and it is pages and pages of fine print and I still could not find that information. I told them they intentionally hid that important fact in there so they would not have to give me my $160.00. I asked for a supervisor and was given another representative. The second time I asked for her boss and was given a "mentor." She was very rude and kept saying I should have read the fine print. MAXPERKS is a scam!!
ANY -- I was in an OfficeMax and asked about the recycle program and was told they gave three dollars for empty cartridges returned to them. And you needed to sign up for the card and your money would be placed on the card within 48 business hours. So I drove back to the local store that is 20 miles away from my house and gave them 11 cartridges and was told again the money would be on my account 48 hrs. later. Three days later I called customer service and was told it would be in that night. Well after another two days called again and was told 30 days it would be there.
And the worst thing is that I needed to buy $33.00 of items before my credit would be placed on my card. I was never told that by any of the store personnel nor the first service representative I called three days earlier. This program is a scam and is false. They tell you one thing then they do something completely different.
So what they did is take your cartridge and then make you spend money before they give you the money back that you spent. So they get free cartridges to sell to someone else for their refill program. So then you try to call the corp. phone # and it is all automated and no real person answers that phone. The corp. # is 630-438-7800. Is this how they run the recycle program. Get free cartridges from customers under this program.
OfficeMax Perks is a Scam. Purchased a printer for $300 at OfficeMax and clerk signed me up for OfficeMax Perks. Received the plastic card with barcode and was told I had received a $50 reward for in-store credit. Went back after a few months to purchase new ink cartridges with my Perks card and was told I would have to log in. The store doesn't keep track of the "Rewards."
Went back home and logged - saw my original purchase and the $50 "Reward." Printed it out and went back to the store. Said they couldn't honor it, because I waited too long and didn't really have any "Rewards." Told the clerk I didn't (and still don't) see any expiration date. Gave me an 866 number to call. What a bunch of baloney. Logged on to Amazon.com and found the ink cartridges for 40% less than OfficeMax. Do yourself a favor and shop online.
BALDWIN PARK, CALIFORNIA -- I received a $70 MaxPerks coupon for Quickbooks Pro which is now $99 after $100 off in the circulars. My complaints are twofold: 1. **, the clerk at the register, scanned the software at $129.99 instead of $99.00. Why were her register not updated? The promotion started on Sunday. Today is Monday. There's clearly something amiss here. 2. ** did not accept the MaxPerks coupon saying it cannot be combined with promotional products despite the fact that the coupon says otherwise. She is clearly wrong. Her supervisor (Filipino) agreed with her which was the wrong.
This is an obvious example of poor training, and not accepting the coupon even though it was a legitimate original (not reproduced) coupon that conformed to the terms of its usage. This is a flagrant and outrageous violation of its own promotional policies. After spending thousands with OfficeMax even though it is somewhat less convenient and far away, I will stop shopping there. The store tolerates ignorance, poor training, and lack of ethics and responsibility. It is no wonder that when I try to click on your code of ethics on your website, I receive a "page not found" error. OfficeMax doesn't have a valid code of ethics.
KAHULUI, HAWAII -- Lost $90.00 worth of "MaxPerks Rewards"!!! I think that's a lot! They said they couldn't do anything about it, (Too bad for me!!!). I went in THREE different times with TEN cartridges, equaling $30.00 each visit. Of course, after a long time, I inquired where my Perks were! "We don't have any record of you turning in the cartridges," even though I had the receipt to prove it! (Too bad for ME!!!) Suck it up customer, too BAD!
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- I am a steady customer at OfficeMax's South Bay store in Boston, Mass. I spend a ton of money, and their perk program seems to be a fraud only big companies pull off. I'm taking my business to Staples and not do business with scammers at OfficeMax corporate office.