Can I Get A Rebate For Stupidity?

The problem with most companies of any size is when they shop out their, “customer service.” I use the term “shop-out” purposefully to imply a double meaning. First: They either turn it over to an outside entity so they themselves never have to face their own issues. And second: They never shop their own service. The state of customer service at many high-profile companies today isn’t terrible – it’s deplorable.

Personally I was subjected this weekend to what I feel was an absolute pinhead, stupid, dumb ass, _________(fill in the blank) procedures to fulfill a rebate request I was due based on a recent purchase. I’m not going to name names here however, I’m sure you’ll get the point.

One of my computer monitors died (the second of a 3 screen array. They were 10 years old and very high-end screens) and I decided it was time to change them out for something a little larger. (from 19″s to 24″) After a lot of comparison I chose one. I decided to get only one at first and see if it lived up to my hopes. If not I would just use it somewhere else in my home instead of getting 3 and being disappointed. Personally I have no time or patience for the whole “just send it back” mindset. I only send things back if there’s a defect. If not, it’s my fault for not doing enough research. (I know a lot of you are shaking your heads, but that’s just me.)

The monitor arrived and seemed to work flawlessly. So good it put my remaining high-end screen to shame showing its age. Then came the process of filling out the rebate documentation.

To receive and qualify for the rebate you had to go to the manufacture’s website and register your purchase. Registration required: Model, date of purchase, place of purchase, along with order#, receipt #, then a verification through their system of back-checking that I indeed purchased said product, to then move onto the next screen where I was to receive my rebate status request. I was prompted if I didn’t want to “wait” or go through more “paperwork” I could just choose their “no wait” option for (wait for it….) a 10% reduction fee of my rebate.

Rather than waste anymore time I clicked on the above option only to my delight I found I still needed to fill out more paperwork while still sending in UPC codes, receipt. and more. I was incensed at this point however, all that documentation was right on my desk.

Although thoroughly ticked at this juncture, rather than letting them keep my rebate (I was about to throw everything into the trash for I was done with all this) I put it into an envelope and sent it off. To my surprise only days later I received a “status update” stating my documentation had been received and was in the process of verification. I said to myself “verification?” Its registered already in your own site! Needless to say, you can guess what happened next.

I was delighted to receive a verification email stating that my rebate was – “denied.” And why was my rebate denied? “Lack of documentation.” You can’t make this stupidity up. It’s beyond stupid and now borders on moronic. Scratch that – it is moronic!

I wrote back in no uncertain terms my utter disdain for their handling of rebates. Just how far removed is the management of this company to allow such ineptitude and the possibility of enraging customers via a foolish “rebate” process when they obviously put so much care and attention into the product as to get people like myself to buy it in the first place.

If I’m made to enter information on their own internal web site, (my order receipt, purchase confirmation, etc.) then that information is verified by their system in order so that I can get to the next step in the process. How in the world can one allow the process to both conflict with their original verification product to then send purchasers “denial” letters for what amounts to trivial amounts against the purchase price? Again with the moronic justification of “lack of documentation” not supplied.

If I didn’t supply the proper documentation via their own web site – I could not have printed out the required rebate form to send them in the first place!

Included in my replying response to this company, I said in no uncertain terms where I was originally buying this one as a test, for I was about to order 3 more. (Yes I have a starship set up) For their lack of attention to their own internals, I would be returning this monitor and would go out of my way not to purchase anything with their brand whenever possible. For I didn’t suffer from a “lack of documentation” to return it. And, I was forwarding all of this to the company I purchased it from, for I felt they should know. (This all became a matter of principle now, it was no longer monetary.)

When I did call the retailer and stated my case (I made sure they knew they did nothing wrong on their end) they agreed with my assessment and understood why I would be outraged. I was politely asked if I would hold for minute. Once the operator returned I was informed they would handle the issue on their end, and immediately rebated the amount to my card. Although I stated there was no need for them to take the hit, I just wanted to make them aware for what I experienced was down right stupid, and I can’t be the only one this happened to. Regardless, they insisted they would handle it on their end and thanked me for being a customer.

The above situation has nothing to do with size, resources, or any other excuse some management official would love to recite or state as an excuse. Both the manufacturer and the retailer are multibillion dollar entities. No – this is a classic example of one company’s piss poor management commitment, along side a clear example of a management team committed to provide real customer service, along with personnel empowered with judgement, and rectification authority. Period.

The retailer solidified why I should and will continue to shop there. The other solidified why I have no use to even look at their offerings.

If you’re not shopping your own customer service interfaces on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.  You shouldn’t be in management – let alone in business.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr