Will You Really Receive the Software Rebates Advertised? My Story

April 29, 2013

Nero Rebate OfferOn December 21, 2012 I received an e-mail from Fry’s that included the offer shown at right. As you can see, a total of $60 in rebates was available if you owned a previous version which makes the software completely free (other than sales tax). I’m sure you’ve seen similar offers before and wondered if it was too good to be true. I bought my copy and today I’ll tell you the story about the rebates.

Before we get to my story, you’re probably wondering why such rebates are even offered. Why would a software company give you all of your money back? It’s very simple, only a small percentage of people receive their money back. Some simply never mail in the paperwork required. Others don’t follow the instructions and are denied. Therefore it is still worth it for the software company to offer such a deal.

I purchased it on the same day I received the offer and my total purchase price was $64.37. I waited until the software had arrived before filling out the two separate rebate forms. If you have ever filled out these forms, they are very specific about what you must provide to get the rebate. I followed these checklists exactly in hopes that I would receive the rebates offered. I’m not sure the exact date I mailed this information to the rebate center, but I know it was before the end of December.

Then the waiting games begin. According to the form, you should call if you have not received your rebate within 8-10 weeks. Eight weeks would have been February 22nd or so and I hadn’t received anything at all. March 8th would be the end of ten weeks and still I’d heard nothing. I probably should have made a reminder in Outlook to tell me the end of ten weeks, but I hadn’t done that. I wasn’t even aware at the time that the claimed waiting period had passed.

Finally I received two separate pieces of mail from Nero on March 27, 2012. For anyone counting, that is around 13 weeks so the rebate company was a bit late. You’ve probably all received similar pieces of mail where you have to tear off three edges to reveal what is inside. I opened the first one and it was the check for $40. Woo hoo! But I was in for a surprise when I opened the second one and I was denied the $20 with the reason “Item purchased before promotion started”. What?

Luckily I had saved all of the paperwork. Remember I purchased on December 21. The rebate instructions clearly stated the promotion started on December 19. So how in the world could I have ordered too early when my receipt showed a qualifying date. Along with the rude denial was a phone number and tracking number. Time to get on the phone.

When I called, it took a few minutes to get routed to someone who could help. According to their records, my purchase date was December 12. I asked them to look at my receipt as it clearly stated December 21 and it was obvious there had been a data entry error (21 got reversed to 12). The representative said they had forwarded all paperwork to the Nero folks so they didn’t have anything to check. They did offer to let me fax them a copy of the receipt to get the problem corrected. I did that on March 27.

On April 1, I called again to verify the fax had been received and the correct date had been entered. I was told that they had indeed received it and had already processed it. I should receive something in the mail soon. Note they didn’t say I would receive a check. Now the waiting game started again.

When I went to the mailbox on April 26, there was another piece of mail with the three edges to remove from the folks at Nero. Would it be yet another denial or would I get the $20 I was owed? The curiosity was killing me and I ripped off the edges as fast as I could. It was indeed a check for $20.

More than four months after I purchased the software, I had finally received the $60 promised in the ad. It clearly didn’t come in the timeframe promised and the additional hassle of correcting their data entry error shouldn’t have been necessary. So it is possible to receive these rebates if you follow the rules exactly and keep copies of the paperwork as a backup. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as it should be and takes way too long.

What is your rebate story? Post a comment and tell us!

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2 Comments

  1. Halleson

    I no longer purchase items that promise a rebate viewing them all as a big ripoff. Back when rebates were very common, I had too many bad experiences. An instant rebate at the cash register when I make a purchase, fine, but anything else, forget it.

    Reply
  2. Kirk

    I have done at least 30 rebates over the last ten or so years and have often had the same experience with receiving the rebate check late. I have never had a problem with an error on the part of the rebate company but then I also tend to go for high-end hardware items with the rebate being processed by the hardware manufacturer.

    Reply

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