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Netgear Rebate Ripoff - Comments

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Sometimes threatening bad publicity is the only thing that will work. Years ago I bought a (very well known brand) flatbed scanner. I sent in a copy of my bill/receipt to activate the warranty. Several months later my wife noticed a charge on our credit card statement which looked suspiciously like a porno video. I eventually tracked it back via the address given on the order to the same location where I mailed the warranty info. Several discussions with the company produced no results until I "suggested" that one person on the internet with access to a large number of public fora (or forums if you prefer) could do a lot of damage to a company's reputation. All I wanted was for them to investigate and give me their findings. Eventually I was told that one of their employees had, indeed, used my credit card information to order the tape. I got my results and an apology, but only after the threat of bad publicity.

Incidentally, all further dealings with the company regarding problems or questions regarding the scanner were dealt with very quickly and to my satisfaction.

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Amazing story, and congrats for having such good records that you could make the connection! -rc

I hope your primary need is the company's unwillingness to correct your goof. I certainly side with you on that....but, as with Stella stories, personal responsibility has to be considered. There wad an error made on the rebate form....not by the company. Was the wrong form filled out? Who should take responsibility for that? I don't disagree with you very often, but here it's about 75/25 against.

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I'm with you on principal, and did clearly admit that I chose the wrong item on their very confusing web site. If the rebate period was already over, Netgear should have said that very clearly, and referred me back to Amazon -- and, very importantly, returned my proof of purchase materials. Instead they've been giving me the runaround. And what of my friend, who was granted the rebate? That just shows this isn't cut and dried. -rc

I miss the old CompUSA brick and mortar stores. Not only did they have a variety of rebates available for a large number of items, but they had VERY helpful customer service reps who would walk you through the rebate requirements and make sure you had all the paperwork and other information required. I know they themselves were not issuing the rebates, but I NEVER had a problem with any rebate for an item I bought there. Perhaps they forged good working relations with manufacturers who stood behind their rebates, and didn't cause problems for their customers? It seems to be to the retailers advantage NOT to have customers angry over rebates for an item purchased in THEIR store, given the typical consumer's penchant for shooting the messenger.

I don't know if it's worth it to go this far, but you can check with your city/county/state attorney's office. Sometimes, if they receive enough complaints, they'll go after the manufacturer or retailer.

I'm reminded of the time I bought two NIC's and one router at Best Buy. There were some rebates with those products. I got the rebates, but I only got the rebates for one of the NIC's. Now, I don't know if the fine print for limit one product was printed, and I didn't see it. Let's just say I wasn't happy. That's the only problem I've had with rebates.

I'm pretty sure it's as you suspect -- the company expects to only have to hand out X% of the rebates, and they still benefit from the sales boost. How else can you explain the "free after rebate" products?

One of the times I had a rebate rejected, they claimed I failed to include "proof of ownership" for a previous version. (This was an "upgrade-only" rebate.) I called the toll-free number on the postcard, said "I mailed the form in with the older version's CD". I was put on hold for a few minutes, and then told the rebate had been approved.

So, in addition to some percentage not following all the steps, or missing the deadline, or simply forgetting to mail it in, they apparently also reject some percentage of legitimate claims, hoping that the person won't bother responding to the postcard.

That's one of the things I like about Staples' "easy rebate". You simply log into the website, enter the "offer code" and the number at the bottom of the receipt, as well as your name and address so they can send the check, and you're done. This last round, they even offered to deposit the money into my PayPal account, though I didn't go that route.

Randy, I hate to say it, but I think you are just plain wrong on this one. I own an IT firm and we sell a lot of netgear products. I fill about 10-15 of these things out each year and have yet to have a problem.

I have found their process to be one of the easiest out there. You screwed up the form and then threatened their customer service rep. I am not really surprised that you ended up without your rebate. Maybe you should try calling back and use a little honey this time....

I will say, that I always buy my Netgear stuff from Newegg.com and they have yet to incorrectly post a rebate on one of these products.

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"I'm with you on principal, and did clearly admit that I chose the wrong item on their very confusing web site. If the rebate period was already over, Netgear should have said that very clearly, and referred me back to Amazon -- and, very importantly, returned my proof of purchase materials. Instead they've been giving me the runaround. And what of my friend, who was granted the rebate? That just shows this isn't cut and dried. -rc"

Rebates always get me suspicious, as I know they require the willingness to persistently pursue.

Listen, here is what I did once ...

I got a product, filed the paperwork, and then ... waited, like a good boy. And waited and waited. The rebate was supposed to come within 90 days, but at 100 days nothing had happened.

At that time, I read about a company that reportedly had this internal policy about the rebates: "Don't do anything about them, except for the ones that complain."

That was my "uh oh" moment like yours. I immediately wrote in, around day 100. I did get a letter back promptly after that, and then the rebate around day 120.

Perhaps you might try a letter to them, but I know you did the telephone thing diligently.

I have to agree with Justin in that you messed up on the rebate which caused the issue. I make it a habit with any rebates that I do, to read them 2 times before even starting the process and then checking everything 2 times before placing the forms and required materials into the envelope for mailing. If there's any confusion, I call the rebate center BEFORE sending the rebate just to get clarification and note the rep's name, ID and the date/time I talked to them. After doing countless rebates for years, the only one I never got was a rebate for a company that went out of business right after the sale. They went bankrupt and while I could have filed a claim against them, it just wasn't worth it to me for the $20.

Now, I also agree with you. The whole rebate thing is like gambling. It's a calculated risk that whoever extends the rebate takes in order to increase sales. They have some percentage that is calculated based on people that will forget to mail the rebate, won't know there is a rebate, will do something wrong on the rebate form or etc so they never have to pay those out. In this case you gambled with them and lost. It's not fair, but it's the life of dealing with rebates. Sorry to hear your rebate lesson happened on such a high amount! I was 'lucky' that I only lost $20.

Good luck on giving the bad press and hopefully you're able to get your money. If not, it's at least a valuable lesson and hopefully one many of your readers will learn before it happens to them.

I know it's not the primary point of your article, but it may be worth noting: RAID systems are *not* a substitute for backups. They're an alternative solution to just a part of what backups solve; if you accidentally delete a file off your RAID array, it's gone off all copies.

BTW, "inexpensive" is inappropriate on some high-end RAID arrays, where the technology is used with top-end drives for performance -- it's more suitable to talk of "independent" disks, so that's what the acronym expands to now.

Everyone's already said what I would have said about your main point, so I don't actually have anything pertinent to say :)

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I do certainly know that RAID systems aren't a substitute for backups. See the quote I used in the first paragraph! -rc

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