Star Rebates, Inc claims to be a consumer loyalty program for retailers and grocers.
When my wife and I attended a sales presentation for a timeshare, one of the "gifts" that they give at the end of the presentation is a voucher for "$300 in Free Groceries!"
What you find out after reading the annoying fine print is that you have to register the certificate for $12.95 and then start gathering grocery receipts. The receipts must all be from the same store with which you registered the certificate. We registered it with Costco Wholesale. We started making certain to separate our food items from non-food items at the register so that the food item receipts for that month could add up to at least $100. Any receipt must be at least 75% food items.
We gathered and sent in receipts for October, November and December 2010. At the end of November, I wrote to them using their Star Rebates Help website, and they always respond curtly within a few days. [continued below]....
..... The answer was always the same, that submissions are processed in the order in which they are received, and that there is no time limit. Bottom line is, they hope that you will get frustrated and go away.
I have written to them several times, and the answer is always the same. They have no phone number that actually works, nor do they have an email address.
I have filed a complaint with the BBB, and I will be filing a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs. I will also be sending letters to all of the major retailers and grocers to inform them that their good names are being dragged through the mud by this company and its shady business practices.
I have to hand it to them, though. Imagine if just a thousand people per month, anxious for the promise of $300 in free grocery rebates, sends in $12.95. That's thirteen thousand dollars a month of income for doing absolutely nothing. Since their "help" engine always says basically the same thing, it is probably an automated text processor that "reads" your request, looks for key words and sends a boilerplate answer. $12.95 is low enough on the "live and learn" pain threshold that most people will chalk it up to experience, perhaps b***h about it on one of these scam report sites, and move on. Most folks probably won't go as far as I intend to go.
I intend to take it to the SEC, the IRS, and to anyone else who will listen.