Local News

Granville Woman Gets Rebate Runaround

Posted February 5, 2004 1:58 a.m. EST

— Open the Sunday paper and it is hard to miss rebate offers, especially those offered for computer products. A Granville County woman found out sometimes actually collecting the rebate can be a problem.

Lots of products come with rebates, which are a good advertising ploy for companies.

Companies count on a good percentage of people to not claim the rebate, but many, like Phyllis Wainright are intent on getting their money.

Wainwright recently took a 23,000-mile driving trip through South America.

"It was really the most exciting thing I've done," she said.

Along with the photographs she took, Wainwright has hundreds of digital images stored on her computer. She does not want to lose them, so she decided to get an external hard drive for storage.

"I was in the market for one and saw an advertisement in the Sunday paper with a $100 rebate and I said this is the time to buy it," she said.

When Wainwright went to CompUSA to get the hard drive, the store was out of them. The rebate offer lasted for only a couple of days, so Wainright went ahead and paid for it.

"I had to get it then or I would have missed it," she said.

Wainright picked up the hard drive 10 days later, sent in the paperwork and waited for her rebate. After several months, she called to check on it.

"Somebody looked and saw a date when I picked it up and assumed the thing was not in the sale period; therefore, they disallowed the rebate," she said.

Wainright sent in paperwork again, proving she bought the hard-drive during the right time. By that point, the rebate program had closed. CompUSA offered Wainwright a $100 gift certificate.

"I said fine. I'll spend it in the store just like money," she said.

The gift certificate was supposed to arrive within 30 days. When it did not, Wainwright called again.

"It was maddening," she said. "Everybody kept saying, 'You're right.' I knew I was right, but I couldn't get the right people to respond to it."

So Wainwright called Five on Your Side.

The company immediately sent Wainright a gift card for $110.

She is happy she was persistent.

"I wanted my money. I wanted my $100," she said. "If it had been $20, I probably would have forgotten it, but $100, no way."

CompUSA did not respond to questions about what caused the problem in the first place.

When it comes to rebate offers, it is best to think of them as the icing on the cake and not a reason to buy a particular product. That is because there are often snafus that keep you from receiving the rebate.