I purchased a cable modem at CircuitCity.com. There was an advertised $40 mail-in-rebate with purchase of the cable modem. Prior to my purchase, I looked through the Circuit City circular in my local newspaper, the rebate forms from CircuitCity.com, and the product description on the Circuitcity.com website. Nowhere did it state that, in order to qualify for the $40 mail-in-rebate, the cable modem had to be purchased at a retail (brick-and-mortar) location, or that the item could not be purchased at circuitcity.com. Therefore, I purchased the cable modem and filed the rebate online at circuitcity.com on November 25, 2005.
Nearly two months later (Jan 24, 2006), I received a letter rejecting my rebate due to an "Invalid Purchase Location". I called Circuit City Rebates after receiving the Jan 24th letter and was told that the offer was for in-store purchases only. However, when I asked for proof of that fact, they could not provide it. On Feb 21, a Circuit City customer service representative told me that they no longer have access to the rebate forms to verify my claim. However, another Circuit City customer service rep. (Kallis) told me that he was reading the forms and agreed that they did not state where the item needed to be purchased to qualify for the rebate.
On Feb 21st, I contacted Circuit City Rebates (subcontractor Parago, Inc.). Two supervisors initially told me that I had not purchased the item at the correct location (i.e., retail store). After several hours and several calls, one supervisor, Andrew, elaborated however that the rebate was rejected because I had not included a "sales receipt". According to his description, a sales receipt comes from a retail store, but an "order confirmation" comes from circuitcity.com. He stated that, even though the forms did not specify correct or incorrect locations to purchase the item, I had purchased it at the wrong location because I did not have a "sales receipt". Further, he stated that, after I contacted Circuit City Rebates regarding the Jan 24th letter, officials at Circuit City Stores were consulted in the decision to reject my rebate.
The major problem with Circuit City's position is that the copy of the "order confirmation" form that I received from circuitcity.com specifically states "This copy can be used as verification of a purchase for rebates, or as a receipt for your transaction." It is preposterous that Circuit City can argue that I had not included a sales receipt, when the form that I included specifically states that it is a receipt and can be used for rebates.
According to the supervisor, Andrew, it is common practice to reject rebates due to this distinction between sales receipts and order confirmations a practice that continues to this date. Therefore, I claim that this problem is systemic, and that Circuit City is intentionally practicing deceptive marketing.
I have filed with the BBB, and my state Attorney General. I am asking that Circuit City honor rebates filed by individuals (including myself) who purchased items online at circuitcity.com, unless they can prove that the rebate forms explicitly state that "purchase at a retail location" was required, or that "purchase at CircuitCity.com is not valid" for the rebate. They should stop practicing these deceptive techniques to reject valid rebate submissions, namely differentiating between a "receipt" and an "order confirmation", when the "order confirmation" explicitly states that it is a receipt and is valid for rebate submissions.