Apple's Shady Rebate Scheme

Discussion in 'iPod' started by ShALLaX, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. ShALLaX macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008
    About 3 months ago, a couple of days after the launch of the 2008 MacBook Pros, I went into an Apple store and decided to take the plunge and get a shiny new MacBook. Just before I handed my credit card over to the sales person, I was informed that as I was buying a MacBook, I was entitled to a heavily discounted iPod. With Christmas just around the corner, I jumped at the offer as it'd make a cheap Christmas present. The catch? The discount had to be claimed as a rebate, which means paying the full price up front and then claiming the money back via post.

    Before I even unpacked my MacBook, I went online and filled out and printed the rebate form, stapled my receipt and barcode label to the form, put it in an envelope and stuck the envelope in the post. One thing I noticed was that the offer was called the "Back to School" offer. I thought to myself "Is this offer for students only?". To put my mind to rest, I returned to the Apple store and asked for clarification from a sales person. They assured me that I was still eligible despite not being in education.

    Christmas came and went, my mother was very grateful for her gift of an 8GB iPod Touch. Another month passed, and I suddenly recalled the rebate and the lack of communication regarding it for 3 months. The very next day, I received an email from Apple's promotions department stating that the offer was intended for students only and that I'd need to provide some form of identification proving that I was in full time education. Rather than getting out my old student ID and photoshopping the dates, I decided to be honest and explain exactly what had happened. The promotions department representative told me that I had to take this up with the manager of the store where the device was purchased from.

    During a lunch break, I headed into Cambridge and stated my case. The staff, to their credit, were understanding, but said that the Apple store and the promotions department are separate companies with different tax codes and couldn't authorise the rebate. They did, however, offer me a refund. This was not the option I was looking for as it would mean taking my mother's gift back. I was told to contact the promotions department once again to explain that the device had been mis-sold and to see whether that would change anything.

    After emailing the promotions department for one last time, I was told to contact customer service - there was no information about whether my case had been closed or whether it would be processed.

    Today, I phoned customer services and was greeted by an extremely unhelpful person who explained, once again, that the Apple store, the online store and the promotions department are all actually separate companies and that had I bought the device from the online store, it would be within his remit to make right the situation, but as I had bought from a retail store, there was nothing he could do. He explained that the onus was on the store manager to remedy the complaint.

    So, in summary:

    1) Apple mis-sold me the iPod device. If I was a student, would I not have claimed a discount on the MacBook itself too? I made no false pretences about being in education.
    2) Apple lied to me when I enquired about the offer upon returning to the store.
    3) Apple's customer service is terrible. Everyone passes the buck and hides behind the excuse of each department being a different company. This really isn't the way to keep customers happy.
    4) The Apple representative offering phone support claimed that as the device was 3 months old, it was outside of its return period. So by taking 3 months to query my rebate, Apple had effectively stripped me of my statutory rights. Apple's only saving grace is that they did offer me a refund, despite what I was told over the phone.

    I believe I shall go back to the Apple store with my mother, iPod in hand, and ask the store manager to explain to her why he's taking her Christmas present back. If Apple is cold hearted enough to go through with the refund, I'll then purchase a brand new iPod (for the same price) from the same store to prove that money was never the issue and that it's the principle of the matter that counts.

    I've been a faithful Apple customer for a good few years and have given them much business, but at the end of the day, it seems that the customer comes second.

    Has anyone else had rebate issues like mine?
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    To call it a shady rebate scheme when you are one of few who have been faced with such issue is a bit harsh. However, it sounds to me as though someone has fubar'd the whole ordeal and something needs to be made right.

    BTW rebates are as follows:
    You pay full price for an item and send in the proof of purchase to be greeted in the mail with a nice check refunding some or all of your purchase price minus applicable tax.

    Apple didn't make that up, this is just how rebates work.

    I hope Apple can make this right for you.
  3. JohnMC macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2006
    Duluth, MN
    I have never had any problems with Apple's Rebates. I have gotten two student iPod deals and two free printers. Not to be rude, but it is your responsibility to make sure you qualify for the rebate. You did have to fill out the forms which do say you have to be a student or faculty member. So if you failed to read those instructions and then gave the iPod away, it is YOUR fault.
  4. PLin macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2003
    When the 2G iPod touch was released, one of my friends who had just purchased a MacBook and a 1G iPod touch (intending on submitting the rebate) went to the store to exchange the 1G touch for the 2G and paid the restocking fee for the 1G touch he already opened. The Apple Store exchanged it for him even though the rebate form specifically excluded the 2G touch. He thought he was getting a good deal until I pointed out that his rebate is no longer going to be valid.

    I'm not sure what the outcome was, but due to the nature of rebates, I recommend always doing your own research and reading the rebate form carefully.
  5. mkaake macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2003
    The Apple store was in the wrong on this. He didn't go looking for the deal, they offered it to him. When he noticed it was student related, they told him it was open to everyone. While I personally would like to think I would have noticed it was for students only, and not participated, the Apple store I think carries the burden in this situation.

    I wouldn't try to be dramatic when talking to the manager, and taking your mom and the iPod in with you - I'd just explain that you purchased it based on being told you were eligible for the discount, and that they either need to refund the money (without returning the item, it was given away as a gift), or provide whatever evidence is necessary to the rebate team for you to receive your rebate.

    Those are the two options I would consider to be fair in this situation.
  6. ShALLaX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008
    As I said, I've already tried talking to the store manager and his only offer was a refund provided that I give the device back.

    I can't believe the idiocy of the comment here that I should have checked the terms and conditions. I _did_ check them and then went back to the store to verify.
  7. GilGrissom macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2005
    I got stung recently on this years Back To School promo on the £100 off an iPod. I brought a brand new MacBook for the misses and used the money off to get an iPod Nano for the brother in law. I had done this rebate a few years back with an iBook and 2nd gen iPod Mini and I had to cut off the bar code of the mini box to post off, so thinking it was the same I decided to wait until the brother in law opened his present and took the iPod out of its box, then I would cut the barcode out, that way the box wouldn't have been opened already and he wouldn't think it was a second hand product.

    Of course the problem was by the time Christmas came the "send your rebate in within 30 days" had past. I spoke to Apple on the phone and they wouldn't do anything.
    It's my own fault for not realising the 30 day limit as I would have preferred the brother in law to think it was second hand at first and for me to explain it instead of having to pay full price. Though I wish Apple had a touch more flexibility with this, especially so close to Christmas, but I guess that is why rebates are used and not straight discounts...

    We only got it because of the rebate offer!! Obviously its not always nice telling someone that you got their present for very cheap especially when they are so over the moon with the present and the thought and cost you put into getting it for them. It can somehow downgrade it in a way.
  8. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    I hate rebates. If I'm shopping for something and there are two similar items to choose from, one with a mail in rebate and one without, I buy the one without because I have been denied (or simply just never received) many mail in rebates in the past.
  9. ShALLaX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008
    I never claimed the concept of a rebate is shady. I fully understand the process, however, rebates are very rare in the UK and I felt it necessary to explain them in my post for those not in the know.

    Interestingly, though, most companies rely on the use of rebates in hopes that people will simply either not mail them in, or forget that they mailed them in.
  10. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    gotta agree on this part; way too many companies offer generous rebates then never deliver. I always ignore the rebate offers in determining whether to buy or not. If it's something you have to mail in they can easily say it got lost and since you've sent in your original paperwork you're so out of luck.
  11. hodgeheg macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2008
    Not if the OP, as he says, subsequently double checked with the store. Granted the forms say that, but it would hardly be the first time the forms said something and the store said something else, and if you double checked you'd take it on trust.

    I agree this doesn't make the scheme shady, it makes the store incompetent, and it should be them to put it right.

    To show neither the rebate people or the forms are perfect, I also recently did this (I am a student) and I also took advantage of apple's printer rebate scheme "Perfect Companion".

    I double and triple checked in store that I could do both, and was told I could (and they were correct). The forms however firstly required me to send the same piece of the macbook box in with *both* rebates to two different addresses simultaneously (no copies allowed), and secondly as soon as I'd put one request through the web page refused to accept the other as I'd already made a request.

    Several emails and phone calls later I managed to get this sorted - I sent a letter to the one address with both sets of forms and explained the situation, got my email confirmations, and waited.

    Long story short, I have got my rebates, both of them, but I *still* receive emails every couple of weeks from one or other of the two different rebate departments telling me I must send them stuff or they can't process my claim.

    The point, again, is not that they're evil, but that putting all the blame on the purchaser is not only unsympathetic but a bit unreasonable.
  12. ShALLaX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008
    After much more arguing, which seemed to fall upon deaf ears (everyone I spoke to said I wouldn't be getting the rebate)... my rebate status has mysteriously changed to:

    "Thank you. Your record has been located. Details below:-

    Your claim has been approved on 30.01.09 and is scheduled for immediate payment.

    Payment will be issued in the amount of 95 GBP by cheque"


    Anyway, thank you all for not being as big of a pack of fanboys as the MacNN forum posters. Seriously, if you want a laugh try reading the same post here:

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