Best Buy Informative - “Loss of Bargain;” Best Buy/HP
CINCINNATI, OHIO -- First; to be "fair and balanced" - I have purchased more electronic equipment from Best Buy than from any other company; and this is not a “frontal assault” on Best Buy. But, the company is rumored not to have “squeaky clean- hands;” at all times.
This “Essay” is about an unnecessary loss of a rebate “bargain.” It occurred about two years ago.
Subject: Forfeiture of Rebates in the amounts of $150.00 and $100.00; offered by Best Buy and Hewlett Packard, respectively.
The rebates represented incentives associated with the purchase of an HP Pavilion ze 5200 Notebook PC at the Best Buy Store #153… The Computer was delivered by mail and was received on April …
The amounts paid were: $2,002.39 (cost of computer plus tax); plus $264.99 for a “3 Year” Service Plan; all paid in full on March… (VISA).
Some of the requirements for the rebates were found to clash with each company’s demands. Both companies demanded receipt of the same original UPC (bar code) found on the box container.
Inquires made to Best Buy and to HP resulted in the declaration by HP that the requirement to submit the original UPC bar could not be waived. And, although “timely” requests for clarification were made to Best Buy – there was a “protracted stall” before an e-mail response was received. Best Buy offered to accept a copy of the UPC bar; but “latches had run;” it was too late!
It is my observation that:
1. Best Buy knew or should have known that an inherent conflict resided in their Rebate offer.
2. Best Buy failed to draw conspicuous attention to this conflict.
3. Best Buy failed to make it transparently clear that they would defer to the Manufacturer, HP; that is: Best Buy would accept a copy of the UPC bar in place of the original.
4. Best Buy was phlegmatic in response to inquiries to clarify or to rectify the UPC bar dilemma.
5. Best Buy’s business practice, in this instance, deprived me of the value of a promised and anticipated bargain; the rebates.
6. The poorly constructed Rebate offer redounded to the (pecuniary) advantage of the Company and to the detriment of the trusting customer; me.
7. It is not known if the entrenched conflict was or was not intentional but, the pattern seems to have the color of slick sleight-of-hand.
8. The need to be "suspicious" of Best Buy's "self-serving" motives should not have to pre-occupy a Best Buy customer.
9. I was responsible, ultimately, for looking out for “my-own-interests!”
(SOME) LESSONS LEARNED:
1. Pay close attention to rebate expiration dates; and terms, at time of purchase.
2. Try to anticipate possible conflicts” at time and point of purchase.”
3. Be aware; that although a product is purchased in a store but will be mailed from the “factory,” the “rebate clock is running” – no mater how long it take to receive delivery.
4. Be cynical; and assume that the company would be “pleased” if you fail to apply for the rebate; it will not be your advocate.
5. If the instructions about ‘proof of purchase,’ BAR codes,’ serial and model numbers, etc., are confusing (they, often, are to me) don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications or for explanations.
6. If you “screw-up” - as I did - chalk it up as the tuition cost for a bitter lesson learned. “Don’t be a Dummy like me. And, I hope not to be a repeat offender!