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A Nikon example of why I *hate* rebates

Earlier this month I purchased a Nikon 70-300MM zoom lens. It had a $50 rebate. A letter from Nikon just arrived letting me know they declined paying me the rebate.

For those of you who’ve read my blog for awhile, you know I hate rebates. Rebating is a scam since roughly 30% of consumers apply for them and those that do — like I did with Nikon by dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” — can still end up with nothing and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Rebates and “buy the extended warranty” are the dirty little unethical secrets in retail that’ll never stop until consumers wise up.

The letter from Nikon’s rebate folks above states the declination of the rebate was due to, “The Original Yellow Part-2 world-wide warranty form was not included. Copies are not acceptable.

Absolute bullshit. I’m *very* meticulous and careful when providing rebate information (having been screwed in the past) and this was absolutely included. I went over the required items several times to make sure all the relevant items were in the envelope prior to sending. Of course, they also state in the letter, “Please be sure to resubmit all materials within 21 days of the date at the top of this letter to be eligible to receive your rebate.” Hmmm…not possible SINCE THE MISSING MATERIAL WAS IN THE ORIGINAL ENVELOPE!

I wrote a post awhile back about a very poor customer experience with Cisco’s Linksys business unit…and I’ve had approximately 1,200 separate pageviews of it (after people did Google searches for the Linksys WGA11B wireless game adaptor and clicked a link to that post) and I’ve got to believe that it has negatively impacted sales of their adaptor. Does Nikon want bad PR over $50? Well, they got it and it’s worth $50 to me to vent.

Oh yeah…did I mention that I HATE REBATES and that Tokina and Sigma lenses are looking more attractive today?

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

Comments

  1. Nikon rebates

    I would be interested in hearing form other people who have had trouble collecting on the rebates advertised by Nikon. I bought a D70 in early January and filed for the rebate ASAP. Nikon’s website now disavows any knowledge of my rebate on their websi…

  2. Robert Slifka says:

    I’ve gotten two rebates from Nikon in the past year, and one from Tamron.

    I’ve taken advantage of countless rebates over the years (at least 20+) and have never had a single bad experience. These sorts of posts assume malice on the part of the business (i.e. Nikon) when it’s much more likely incompetence. How much do you think the rebate department workers are making? And how bad do you think turnover is?

    It’s no excuse, but definitely CYA with a photo of the goods, etc.

  3. Steve Borsch says:

    Actually, I did not assume malice. Incompetence isn’t an excuse if a major manufacturer opts to offer a program that includes rebates and quality control measures are an imperative.

    The 30% number I used in my post didn’t pop out of thin air. It’s based on several articles I’ve read that discuss rebate redemption percentages. The strategy of having several piece parts for rebate redemption is that — of the 30% who do redeem — a single digit failure rate on including piece parts ensures that the overall percentage redemption is even lower!

    Here’s another strategy analagous to rebating: In past work adventures, I was a manufacturer’s representative (one account of my firm was Best Buy) and we represented a re-insurer that offered extended warranty insurance protection for electronic products (ever been offered one of them when buying, say, any tech product at Best Buy?). These warranty insurance offerings are 80% profit and an electronic product (if it’s going to fail) is covered by a 90 day parts & labor guarantee *and* 90%+ of failures occur within the first 30 days. So an “extended warranty” is a laughingly simple way for a retailer to increase gross margin on a low margin electronic sale…since consumers fall for this frequently.

    Strategies to increase margin like this abound (want socks with that shoe purchase? Need a bag for that new laptop?) and I know how to play the game. I know the rebate game too which is why I wrote the rant in this post.

    I will CYA with a pic in the future!

  4. Let’s stop rebates! I think we can help in stopping advertizers and stores in using the gimmick of rebates by leaving messages at a new blog at antirebate.blogspot.com
    Please go the site and leave a message with your experience of rebates and don’t hesitate to express any anger they cause in you.

  5. Fred Sanford says:

    I will not buy anything with a rebate unless it’s an
    absolutely huge offer – not likely. Nikon is playing with their folks and they will suffer for it one day.
    I check stuff at Best Buy and then go get it at Staples which often has it on sale at a better price. Staples often has the ‘instant’ rebates also – who cares if it’s a joke; I don’t have to wait for my money. Why does Nikon offer a 2 year warranty for its folks in Canada and not here? Life is strange…

  6. i agree with most of u. i work in retail and we hate them more then u guys. what pisses us off is when the customer doesnt get their money and comes back to the store to bitch about it, we have nothing to do with it thats why its a mail in rebate. best buy just recently got rid of them.

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