Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We live in a rip off world. I just did battle with a major company over a rebate I was promised after buying a major appliance. After filling out the complicated maze of questions, online, I was notified several weeks later that I didn’t qualify for the rebate. After exploding and several phone calls threatening the company with legal action I received the rebate. It’s a game they play hoping that there is so much of a hassle getting your money that most people just give up and the company chalks this up as additional profit. The rebate game is a technique created by marketing people to sucker the customer in and hopefully make additional profit. I usually play their game because to me it is a game I am set on winning, no matter how difficult it is to claim the prize and no matter how small the prize may be. My enjoyment is playing the game; getting mad, talking to customer relations people on the phone, writing letters and making all sorts of threats. It would be a lot easier on everyone if the folks selling the product would just lower the price for the amount of the rebate at the beginning and not create this frustrating game.

Another rip off is the extended warranty. Every time I buy a piece of electronic equipment they push me to purchase this extended warranty which is another way of making a little extra profit for the company. I suspect that these extended warranties are rarely used. The electronic gadgets are usually under warranty for about a year anyway, and if they are going to break it will happen within that time. Again, it is a major hassle getting something fixed with these warranties. All the retailers use this marketing gimmick weather you are buying a computer, a clock or a car. The auto salesman tries to tack on dozens of things like insurance for dents, and a myriad of other possible defects and mishaps that may occur. Before you are out of the showroom they have added another 10 thousand dollars to the price of the car. I keep hoping that my transmission or air conditioning will go out before the extended warranty expires at 70 thousand miles. In my case they always go out at 71,000 miles. The guys making the cars carefully calculate this so you will then be buying a new vehicle and starting the process all over again.

As I sit on the porch and ponder life I am amazed that my folks never had to deal with warranties or rebates. They didn’t even have health of life insurance. I just don’t know how they lived so long. Life was so much simpler before colleges had marketing majors, but my folks had to deal with highway bandits and others in the trade.


Blogger jeff ludwick said...

Aint't it the truth, Doc? My last rebate experience was with Alltel on a phone. After having to recite the Gettysburg Address backwards and giving them blood and urine samples and a lock of my mother's hair I finally got my $50 rebate in the form of a "gift card". I promptly handed it to them and told them to deduct it from my bill which did not set well with them. After I had a rather fiesty discussion with the manager and asked "If YOU won't accept this why should H.E.B. or Exxon??" He succumbed.

As far as the warranties I never buy them but I always ask the sales person what is wrong with the product if a warranty is so important? They don't like it when you ask them that. And I have your luck. If I had a 250,000 mile warranty on a car or truck the transmission would fall out at 250,001 miles......

6:12 AM  

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