Two consumers contacted Mouse Print* and Consumer World this past week complaining that Office Depot’s current tax software promotion was misleading and a “scam.”
The offer promised $1300 in free software — 24 different titles — if you bought certain tax preparation software like TurboTax Deluxe or H&R Block Deluxe. All you had to do was pay for the free software and fill out rebate forms to get your money back. Not so simple, as it turns out because of a conflict in requirements for many of the rebates. And to add insult to injury, some rebates are debit cards instead of cash back.
For example, if you buy TurboTax, you can get a starter edition of Quicken free, as well as several Norton security products among others.
To prove you bought TurboTax and Quicken, you need to enclose:
Quicken and TurboTax UPC labels (shown below) for the eligible software products, located on the product boxes (photocopies will not be accepted).
And in order to receive a rebate on a Norton combo-pack when purchasing TurboTax, you need to enclose:
Enclose the original UPC code from Norton Internet Security 2012/Norton Utilities Premier Edition and any Turbo Tax, H&R Block, or Tax Act software or tax forms. The UPC code is a 12-digit bar code found on the bottom of box. Photocopies will not be accepted.
Oops. The same original UPC has to be included with the rebate requests for multiple companies and products. Oops. This scenario is repeated for some of the other free software products which also require the original UPC from the tax software. What is a consumer to do?
Our two consumers contacted Office Depot, but were initially given the runaround. One consumer ultimately got the store manager to lower the price of one of the software packages to compensate him for the $15 rebate card he cannot obtain. The other consumer had to jump rank and contact “executive resolutions” to get satisfaction, and was told that Symantec (Norton) was adjusting their rebates to not require the original UPC. She even followed up with Symantec and their rebate fulfillment house to ensure they would accept copies of the UPC. They said yes, but none of the PDF rebate forms have been updated to eliminate the requirement of an original UPC.
Mouse Print* asked Office Depot’s PR folks for an explanation of how they intended to handle this mess, but they did not respond.
Thanks to William-Andrew and Rebecca for contacting us about this issue.