I was waiting for a rebate from Columbia Telecommunications for $25, which was equal to the purchase price (not including taxes) for a pair of personal communicators (walkie talkies). I have a delivery confirmation from the Post Office for the rebate I sent on June 11, 2003. They verified that Columbia received the rebate at 1:10 pm on June 13, 2003 in NEW ROCHELLE, NY 10802.
So I wait, and wait, and wait. It's now November 7th, 2003 and still no check. So I do a search on the internet for rebates and their name and come up with this site about ripoffs. Seems I'm not the only one. And after reading about someone who filed a report, and then got their rebate, I called the 800 number and after 3 tries I got a live person. Gave him my info, and he said my check would be mailed out on November 14th, 2003.
So I'll wait and see if I get my check. But here's my conclusions of the rip off. A commodities broker buys products that are defective (as these units were, they simply don't work) and markets them to Fry's Electronics. They convince Fry's that there will be no cost to them, since they just need to put them in the stores, and the broker offers a 100% rebate, or something close to that. Fry's gets the benefit of advertising an amazing deal, which gets you to come into the store in the first place. Fry's is probably assured by the broker that almost no one will return the units even though they don't work as advertised, because they can get a full refund for the purchase price.
Then, the broker, probably Columbia Telecommunications, sits around and waits. They don't send out rebate checks to anyone, unless you contact them. And then only if you can prove you sent in the rebate form. Given that only a percentage of people will remember that they have a rebate due, a smaller percentage will have sent in the rebate with some form of guaranteed delivery, and then an even smaller portion will actually remember to call the company they sent the rebate to.
My guess is that the percentage of payouts is probably only 15-20%. So Columbia Telecommunications ends up making big bucks for a product they probably paid penny's for to buy from the manufacturer. What a rip off!!!