It pays to shop around

By | August 20, 2007

HP is currently offering a promotion which includes rebates on several of their All-in-One printers as well as a $15 rebate on an HP Photo Value Pack when you purchase one printer in particular, the C5280.  See here for more information about this promotion.  Then read on for the experience I had trying to take advantage of it.

The ad claims, “Available at Best Buy, CompUSA, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples.”  The items can also be purchased directly from


I decided to try Staples first.

I added the printer to my cart at, and the Web site automatically added a $20 discount coupon to my cart.  I then added the Photo Value Pack to the account as well, and the Web site automatically added a $15 discount coupon to my cart in addition to the $20 coupon.

When I went to check out, the Web site applied the $15 coupon but refused to apply the $15 coupon.

After playing around with the Web site trying and failing to get it to apply both coupons, I called Staples on the phone to ask what was up.  The agent informed me that the $20 coupon had a minimum purchase restriction of $149.98 (exactly the price of the printer), and the $15 coupon had a minimum purchase restriction of $189.97 (exactly the price of the printer plus the Photo Value Pack).  Since the minimum purchase restriction of the $15 coupon was higher, that’s the coupon that ended up getting applied.

I explained to the agent that the Staples Web site and the HP Web site both made it clear that the promotion was supposed to allow both the $20 rebate and the $15 rebate when purchasing both items together, so the coupons must be programmed incorrectly on the Web site.  The agent insisted that that couldn’t be the case, since there was no way for him to override the restrictions (i.e., “The computer says it, so it must be right, common sense be damned”).  Staples lost the sale because of this stupidity.

(And don’t get me started about the fact that their Web site chose to apply a $15 coupon when it could have applied the $20 coupon and charge me $5 less.)


OfficeMax doesn’t even offer the C5280, the printer that I wanted, on their Web site.

Office Depot

Office Depot offers the printer and Photo Value Pack on their Web site but neither of the rebates.


CompUSA offers the printer but not the Photo Value Pack, doesn’t offer the rebate, and charges a completely uncompetitive $15.70 to ship the printer.

Best Buy

Best Buy offers the printer with the discount and free shipping.  It doesn’t offer the Photo Value Pack, but it does offer a discount bundle containing the printer, the photo ink cartridge, and a ream of plain paper for a pretty good price and reasonable shipping ($5.50).  Nevertheless, this didn’t really help me because I had a whole carton of plain paper at home; I need the photo paper in the value pack, not plain paper.

HP Shopping

And so, after shopping around, in the end I ended up at the HP Web site, where I got the printer and the Photo Value Pack with at $15 discount on each and free shipping, for a total of $159.98 before tax, $15 less than I would have paid if I’d stuck with Staples.

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One thought on “It pays to shop around

  1. Pingback: Something better to do » Blog Archive » First impressions of HP Photosmart C5280

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