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July 7, 2014

When Good Rebates Go Bad

Filed under: Electronics,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:07 am

 Newegg offered an amazing price a few weeks ago on a refurbished 32-inch Samsung HDTV — only $159.99 after a $30 mail-in rebate. And if you used a particular American Express card offer, you saved another $15.

As with most rebates, to get the $30 back you had to mail in the UPC code from the box. Unlike regular TV boxes printed with a picture of the TV, etc., the carton the Samsung TV was shipped in was plain brown. And there was no UPC barcode to be found. There was only the UPS shipping label, and an internal Newegg item number barcode (not the manufacturer’s).

ups label

Upon closer scrutiny, it appears that Newegg’s shipping department placed the large UPS label over the UPC code label. Have you ever tried to remove one of those large labels from cardboard? Of course this could have been a freak occurrence but for the fact that another consumer complained about the same shipping department mishap.

If by some chance the purchaser was able to remove the UPS label through careful surgery, this is what they would find:

*MOUSE PRINT:

UPC

What a relief! Not so fast. The joy is about to end. A quick check of the rebate form reveals the next problem.

*MOUSE PRINT:

rebate form

The UPC code number required for the rebate to be submitted does not match the UPC code number actually on the box!

A representative at the fulfillment house that processes rebates for Newegg fully understood the issue, but said there was nothing they could do about it. Consumers would have to submit whatever they could as proof of purchase, get denied, and then take up the battle with Newegg directly to (hopefully) get their $30 back.

The consumer who complained to Consumer World said he got the same answer when calling customer service at Newegg directly. Each individual purchaser would have to fight their own battle.

Imagining that hundreds of these TVs were sold during two sales in May and June where the erroneous UPC code was printed on two separate rebate offers, MrConsumer contacted executives at Newegg in an attempt to find a global solution for these customers.

In short order, Newegg’s Senior PR Manager had good news. They were going to find a solution. And a few days later, they sent out this email to purchasers of that Samsung HDTV:

newegg apology

Unfortunately, the company didn’t address the problem of obstructed UPCs in this notification. But, at least most purchasers of this TV won’t have to fight an individual battle to get their $30 back.

• • •

9 Comments »

  1. When you ship a package UPS, FedEx, DHL, whatever, you are asked to cover or remove all barcodes that are not from the shipper. That is so their automated scanning / sorting system will route the package correctly.

    Comment by Bob — July 7, 2014 @ 7:09 am
  2. I strongly dislike obscured or damaged barcodes. Seems like it was intentional to cover up the barcode. Kind of like how used book sellers cover up old barcodes.

    Rebates can be good, but I would be reluctant to purchase an expensive item like a TV from an online store because I fear that I will want to return it if I do not like it. It is good to see Newegg respond and rectify the situation though. I am not sure a store like Best Buy would have been so quick to react.

    Comment by Wayne R — July 7, 2014 @ 8:30 am
  3. I work as a cashier in retail and UPS always puts their label over the UPC so as not to confuse the person that gets the item for delivery. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to find the barcode and then you find out UPS has put their label over it.

    Comment by Pat Rochester — July 7, 2014 @ 1:43 pm
  4. Hello Edgar,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is distressing to hear that we have caused such difficulty for you. It certainly isn’t our intention and I can assure you we will do everything we can to correct this with the goal of making it right for you. Our goal is that you never have difficulties when shopping with us and if anything ever does goes wrong, you trust that we will always do whatever we can to help.

    Would you mind emailing us at wecare@newegg.com so that we can further assist you with this rebate? We look forward to hearing from you.

    Newegg Support

    Comment by Newegg Support — July 7, 2014 @ 4:53 pm
  5. Even worse…one time I purchased an item that had a rebate, filled out all the paperwork, sent in all the pieces (includuing UPC) shipped it before the deadline and got a rejection notice because the UPC did not match one of those on the list.
    I checked the list and sure enough it was there. I sent in a confirmation to prove that it was on the list.
    They replaied again that it was not on the list, even though it clearly was. I complained again and they replied that it was now past the deadline and I was no longer eligible for the rebate.
    (I don’t recall if I eventually got my rebate, but I vowed after that I would not buy anything with rebates unless it was a good enough price without the rebate to make it worthwhile, then hope that the rebate made it better.

    Comment by RobS — July 9, 2014 @ 12:45 am
  6. I purchased the Changhong 50″ TV on the 3rd of July and it came with rebate in the form of a $70 gift card.

    The requirements to get the card is to fill out and print an online form and send it to newegg along with UPC and invoice.

    I filled out the online form, got to the last step where it gave a “print form” option, I clicked it and nothing happened. Tried it 3 or 4 times then back paged with hopes of getting back to the page I had filled out and print it from there. I couldn’t go back, nor could I page forward to get back to the print option to try it again. I see no way to get back to where I can try to print the form again and if I could, it wasn’t working anyway. No instructions there to give me an idea what to do yet they know there is no obvious way to get back to the page.

    My printer works fine, BTW.

    What’s worse is I actually expected that “hoop” to go bad, it was the only one I didn’t have full control over and I’m very suspicious of newegg at this point for obvious reasons.

    Hopefully, after this problem they will simply see the name I left, that I purchased what I said I did, that I have not gotten a rebate and just send it without adding more hoops, then let me know it’s on the way.

    I came directly here through a Google search so, I guess I need to go to the homepage of this site, repost this and hope it gets noticed by newegg…right?

    On a side note, I’m a little concerned that if I send this any way other than certified as it’s the only way I can get delivery confirmation, that newegg may deny ever getting it. Sorry but I don’t put a lot past these big companies. Do y’all use a delivery confirmation or just send it and hope for the best. and if so, is there a confirmation less expensive for a letter other than Certified Mail?

    Edgar replies: Kenny… You don’t need to send the rebate by certified mail. About a month after you send it, go to the website listed on the rebate form to check on its progress thru the system. If it does not show as received, you can call them and fax in a copy usually.

    Also, if it did not print the form for you, do it again in a different browser. My first one did not work either.

    Comment by Kenny Singleton — July 11, 2014 @ 6:24 pm
  7. Thanks much Edgar, I’ll try a different browser and I’m still a little concerned about checking after 30 days to find they won’t except a fax because I’m beyond the time limit.

    Guess they removed my post looking for help on how to post on the main page without contacting me. Still can’t find a way to post anywhere but here or any contact for this site to ask a question…odd. Guess I’ll try posting elsewhere and see if I can get notice from Newegg.

    Comment by Kenny — July 11, 2014 @ 7:20 pm
  8. I would try posting on their Facebook page. Companies don’t love having bad press there and may try to help you out (if not, I’d keep posting there asking why they’re not honoring their commitments).

    Comment by Hannah — July 14, 2014 @ 1:15 pm
  9. My $70 computer rebate was rejected (presumably because the UPC was cut in half by a box cutter) with no explanation and no appeal. I HATE rebates and will no longer be suckered by them.

    Comment by Francis — July 14, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

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