New scam: pay a usurious fee to get your rebate faster

By | December 20, 2009

I’ve just encountered a new (at least for me) scam in the ongoing quest by retailers and manufacturers to make rebates more and more onerous to apply for and therefore less likely to cost them any money.

While applying on-line for a $10 rebate on an ASUS motherboard I purchased recently at Micro Center, I was offered the following:

Choose our No-Wait-Rebate service. We will mail your rebate payment via 1st class mail within 5-7 business days from receipt of all your rebate documentation and approval of your claim for a small fee of $1.00 which will be deducted from your rebate payment. If you are in no rush and do not mind waiting 8-10 weeks and at no cost, we will mail your rebate payment to you via 1st Class mail after we have received your rebate documentation and have approved your claim. To receive your payment in 8-10 weeks select here

As you can see, the “No-Wait-Rebate service” checkbox was selected by default.

Let’s do the math here… I’m being offered the opportunity to get $10 seven weeks sooner for a fee of $1, i.e., 10% of the rebate.  Annualizing from seven weeks to a year yields an APR of 74%.

Does this seem like a “small fee” to you?

It really is unbelievable.  What kind of idiot would fall for this scam?

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2 thoughts on “New scam: pay a usurious fee to get your rebate faster

  1. DanC

    Their “No-Wait service level” charge of $3.00 is a COMPLETE FRAUD! Read on…

    Here’s what happened to me:

    The first update email that was sent to me by them (Asus or their constituents) indicated VERY SPECIFICALLY the time schedule of the rebate shipment. As it said:

    “We are pleased to inform you that your rebate, with the No-Wait service level you selected has been processed and approved on 12/03/2010.”

    “Your Visa® Card will be mailed within 5-7 business days . Please contact us if you have any additional questions.”

    Okay, I thought. I purchased the product in late Novemeber and it seemed pretty right-on as far as their pace of processing. Haha…NOT QUITE!

    I checked back a week or so later, only to “track” the update where it then said it would NOW be postmarked by December 27, 2010. Hmmm, I got a little pissed and wrote asus(at), where they replied in a short and insulting manner saying: “it takes 8-10 weeks from approval date to receive payment.” and gave me a customer service number to call if I had any questions.

    They completely ignored my question, basically refusing to respond to my complaint that Asus’s “rebate status update” email sent to me is knowingly representing blatantly false, misleading and fraudulent business practices.

    If their representatives state in an email sent directly to me:

    “YOUR VISA CARD WILL BE MAILED WITHIN 5-7 BUSINESS DAYS” from the indicated accepted and approved date of DECEMBER 3, 2010, this puts the rebate in the mail no later than December 14th or 15th at the latest. As of this writing it’s now the 26th of December 2010 and I have still not received my rebate.

    Please then, I must be completely retarded because my math just can’t jive with how exactly do they arrive at the “…8-10 weeks from approval date to receive payment” time frame? This suggests I will not receive the rebate until late January to mid-February? This is absolutely outrageous and is also completely contradictory to their email to me, not to mention getting to keep the fee of $3.00 for the bull crap “No-Wait” Service Level processing.

    Basically, now my math is ACTUALLY pretty good, if you just assume they get, say, 100,000 rebate requests for $25 where the customers all request the no-wait service level, then somebody gets $3.00 x 100,000 = $300,000 extra profit for screwing YOU the CUSTOMER.

    Buyer beware!!! Asus may make good products but they suck at rebates.

  2. Quantum Mechanic

    Same people who pay ridiculous APRs for tax “refund anticipation loans”?

    (Even worse when you consider that to get an RAL you’re going to a paid preparer, who will e-file the return, which means you’ll get the refund in a week (sometimes less!) if you do direct deposit).


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