Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

The Great Rebate Scam

Slate has a piece by Carol Vinzant on The Great Rebate Scam, which details how retailers now offer rebates– but then make it hard for you to collect on them.

When I read the piece, I started thinking of stores that I could imagine pulling these kinds of stunts. Before I could finish the article, I had a mental list of about ten places I shop at (or in the case of my cell phone service, interact with) regularly. Scary.

50 Comments

  1. My wife and I signed a two year contract with Sprint for mobile phone service on 9-26-03. We had lots of problems with connections and the phone I received from Sprint. They were never willing to fix my phone or replace it. I finally purchased another phone to replace the bad one from Sprint. I continued to have poor reception. About a year into the contract we (my wife and I) decide to switch cellular providers but waited because of the $150 per line early termination fee that we would incur. At the end of our 2 year term, we switched to verizon. Now Sprint is trying to charge us $300 for early termination of the two lines. They say that they have offered us a 5% discount in about June to extend our contract another 2 years. There is no conceivable way we would have knowingly extended that contract. I explained all this to a Sprint rep and when I couldn’t get satisfaction from her, I asked to speak to her supervisor. She said that I could if I wanted to wait 30 minutes!!! I filed this complaint with the PUC.

  2. Ooops. Another rebate scam. Email says rebate forms in product shipping box. They weren’t. Tossed box. Then went on line to try to get forms (6 in all) got 4 but the other 2 were not accessable. The 4 I got said you have to have about 14 different things including the UPC code off the box! Spent 4 days trying to get someone on the phone. Finally reached India and was told, Too bad no rebate for you. What a scam! Wirefly, and Verizon. Watch out. They took me for $500 when I only needed a cheap phone but got scammed into a couple of $250 phone “for free.” NOT!

  3. I think Wirefly and cell phone companies are deceiving people. We should come together and bring a law suit! I bought my Verizon service thrue Wirefly because they say to give me $200 back for the phone (E815 motorola) but the site to download the rebate form is always down and they keep telling me it will be working soon… it has been over a month and my offer will expire in a week!!!… This is a scam and cellphone companies are involved and we should stop them.I called Verizon and they said that Wirefly is not a scam and that the site would probably be working soon… After, I came to the conclusion the scam is between cell phones companies and Wirefly and they are committing fraud which is a crime!!

  4. wirefly is a big scam take a look here

  5. This is crazy. I was truly excited about getting the new Pink Razr with my 250.00 mail in rebate. I wish my friend had told me about this site before I spend an hour and a half on the phone trying to resolve contradicting info. I recieved an email stating that Verizion wanted a $1000.00 deposit can you imagine that. That deposit for a 200.00 phone No way. My account was debited before I had a chance to log in the computer. To make matters worse I called Verizon upon recieving another contradicting email from Wirefly stating that my order had been approved. Ok so now really which one is it. I called Verizion and they couldnt even pull up my order number. Then the rep says that I can get service thru them “IF” I allow them to check my credit again. Ok now I am worried. What happened to all the info that I had given before. Needless to say I called Wirefly back and cancelled the order. Now I am awaiting my cancel confirmation and my funds back. Imagine that. Something needs to be done. Never again.

  6. Same thing happened to me with Sprint and TreoCentral. Scammed me out of $130. I’m pissed.

  7. I purchased a razr V3 phone from Wirefly in November and they have been jerking me around left and right telling me they didn’t receive my rebate forms and now the time frame is up so they say “oh well”. Is there a place to report this fraud?

  8. I’ve finally taken to boycotting all product offerings where rebates are offered. I find this very frustrating and hard to do, because sometimes the items are things that I really want to buy. I am also simultaneously contacting the sales departments for the manufacturer of products where a rebate is being offered. This is one of the letters that I’ve sent… —————- I’ve been considering purchasing a xxxx for a long time. Recently I saw that a rebate is available from your company in the amount of $100.00 Unfortunately, I’ve had several problems with receiving rebates from various companies over the last few years. In fact, I’ve lost hundreds of dollars in non-honored rebates from manufactures. I’ve found theat rebate centers are often not responsive to my resending photocopies of my rebates and many times will simply never reply at all. I suspect that these rebate centers may not be playing fair with consumers. I have also have considered that mail fruad or loss may also be a factor. Since the rebate center you are using does not offer a physical street address, I am not able to send my letters certified mail through a notary public mailing service. Therefore; I am sorry that I cannot buy your product at this time. Presently I am boycotting all products with these rebates and I am actively encouraging friends and family to do the same.

  9. Wierfly has denied my rebate (consumer loyalty) and say the proper materials were not included with the form and that it didn’t arrive in the required period. That is a fabrication and they are widthholding my rebate. How do you start a class action suit? G;-)

  10. infonic sucks in rebates….never shop with them.

  11. I am amid drafting lengthy correspondence to the Attorney General in the state of Arizona, as a direct result of clearly Fraudulent actions on the part of Inphonics AkA: Wirefly and MyRatePlan.com. Perhaps a criminal action followed by civil litigation will afford this company a real opportunity to appropriately review my submitted rebate forms,upc codes, cingular telephone billing statements, accompanying documentation, faxes and ,as well, the USPS full tracking and official documentation reflecting postmarked submissions submitted in four separate envelopes within the 180-210 allotted time frame….I am at this juncture conferring with private counsel in relation to implimenting civil litigation ,as well as, engendering a Class Action Lawsuit against the above named and their rebate center. Being a public relations professional and someone whom happens to have a substantial legal background, I feel insulted both privately and professionally by their conduct. I feel provoked to seek relief and remedy in regard to their clearly fraudulent actions and over-all misrepresentation……They have left me with little recourse in relation to processing four rebates, in the amount of $400.00 due myself. After having purchased two of their cell phones last year. I have found the matter exhausting as repeated attempts to resolve the matter via certified mail, fax ,email and telephonic communication have met to no avail. Customer Appreciation/Customer Loyalty? Well they certainly have shown no concept of the meaning…..At this juncture having expended endless hours and money only to be met with frustration, insult and injury, I am prepared to take this matter ”All the Way” as we say here in NYC. It is now a matter of principle. I believe justice in this instance can and will ultimately prevail. Their tactics have clearly left me with no recourse at this juncture…..I feel as well motivated to convey my genuine appreciation and empathy to those employees whom have attempted to assist in resolving my rebate debacle, only to be thrwarted by evidently unsavory adversaries among their ranks…..I am certain some employees will no doubt be forced to seek alternative employment after this ultimately “Hit’s The Proverbial Fan” I do wish them well….

  12. rebates–i will never prefer wirefly/inphonic….they’r a big cheaters.

  13. My girl friend purchased two phones with $100.00 rebates each from verizon. I am very familiar with the difficulty with rebates, so I took it upon myself to make the copies and send them out myself. After not receiving any rebates I decided to contact Young America to see where my rebate was. The gentleman was very courteous to me and told me to send out the original receipt for the phones and I would receive my rebates shortly after their receipt. I did not want to do this as in order to get my insurance if my phones were lost or damaged, I would need original receipts. I did send out the original and waited. After one month I received my letter un-opened with the words time has expired for this rebate. I called young America only to be told that it was too late and I was out of luck. So I asked to contact a supervisor and was told the same thing. This was after talking with a very courteous young man who had said there would be no problem and just send in the original receipt. Now I feel I was lied to and wasted all the time I invested to receive this money promised to us. Very Disappointed and upset with the customer service that I received. I will copy this letter to the President of Verizon and to various consumer blogs (http://www.uspirg.org/consumer) (http://www.maryschmidt.com/2006/03/24/we-value-your-business/)
    (http://redtape.msnbc.com/2006/01/free_the_ad_scr_1.html#comments)
    http://techrepublic.com.com/5253-6257-0-1.html?id=2252949
    and websites until this problem is resolved.

  14. Relative to Inphonic:

    June 8, 2006 District of Columbia

    The Office of the Attorney General for the City of Washington, DC filed suit in Superior Court of the District of Colmbia seeking permanent injunction and other equitable relief, restitution and civil penalties versus Inphonic, Inc. The suit alleges that the company discloses terms and conditions of its rebate procedures far from its on-line advertising, utilizes restrictive rebate conditions, fails to disclose hidden charges, and does not provide advertised customer service.

  15. Cellularchoices.net, rebates are never arrived, I waited till 9-months…

  16. Also got scammed by Inphonic/MyRatePlan.com, $200 worth of rebates that still haven’t been received after 3 months. Their tracking website sites “techincal difficulties” and that my rebates need to be “reprocessed.” At least they aren’t saying they never received them. Any way to join in on that class-action someone mentioned before?

  17. Hi, everyone:

    I’d like to try and help provide some status updates for your Wirefly rebates, and answer questions about the process.

    If anyone here is waiting to receive a rebate check, and has not received word on when it will arrive, please e-mail me directly. I will personally look into your account, and do whatever I can, ASAP.

    Thanks,

    Jon Delahay
    InPhonic – Office of the President
    jdelahay@inphonic.com

  18. All rebate offers are scams!
    If the manufacturers wanted to really give the consumer a break they would just reduce the price of the product at the time of purchase instead of making you pay them the money and then waiting and waiting at their convience to give your money back, which they rarely ever do.
    I never buy anything that has a “rebate” offer!

  19. G. Flores Lake Tahoe NV

    August 11, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    I have received my rebate after sending a letter of demand that I received from the office of consumer affairs.
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/consumerism/rebate_madness04.html )I mailed it to the office of the president of Verizon regarding my rebates. I had planed on blogging more websites and submitting duplicate letters to other consumer affairs and the federal trade commission . Instead I waited to hear a response before my next action, here is a copy of that letter for other that can be of help.

    Rebate Processing Department
    Company Name
    Address
    City, State, Zip

    RE: Failure to Receive Rebate by Offer Date

    (Date)

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I purchased a (product details), on (date) at (store) in (city and state). My decision to purchase this product was based upon your offer of a mail-in rebate of $_____ (“offer”). My purchase of the product constituted my acceptance (“acceptance”) of your offer, creating a binding and enforceable contract between us.

    I have performed my obligations under the contract. I paid the full purchase price and then proceeded to fill in the rebate form provided by you. I included all information requested to process my rebate, but to date I have not received a check in the amount of $____.

    I respectfully request you process payment and mail it to me at the address indicated within 30 days. I have re-attached all information originally sent for your convenience.

    If I do not receive payment in full by (date 30 days from mailing), I will begin legal proceedings against you and will file complaint reports with the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorneys General of the states of (your state) and (the company’s state), as well as selected consumer advocacy publications and local and state consumer affairs departments.

    I am sending copies of this letter to these agencies and organizations to encourage your compliance. I am also filing a report with ConsumerAffairs.Com for inclusion on their Web site.

    Thank you for your prompt attention and resolution of this matter.

    Sincerely,

    (Signature)

    (Your name typed)

    cc:

    Federal Trade Commission
    6th & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20580

    Hon. (name of Attorney General)
    Attorney General, State of (state)
    (Address)

    Hon. (name of Attorney General)
    Attorney General, State of (state)
    (Address)

    ConsumerAffairs.Com
    11350 Random Hills Road, Suite 650
    Fairfax VA 22030

    Important Notes

    Be sure to keep a copy of your demand letter. If the company does not respond, you will want to send the entire file, including the demand letter, to the FTC and the other agencies.

    You can find state Attorneys General and other consumer protection officials in our Consumer Protection Directory.

    My original post

    My girl friend purchased two phones with $100.00 rebates each from verizon. I am very familiar with the difficulty with rebates, so I took it upon myself to make the copies and send them out myself. After not receiving any rebates I decided to contact Young America to see where my rebate was. The gentleman was very courteous to me and told me to send out the original receipt for the phones and I would receive my rebates shortly after their receipt. I did not want to do this as in order to get my insurance if my phones were lost or damaged, I would need original receipts. I did send out the original and waited. After one month I received my letter un-opened with the words time has expired for this rebate. I called young America only to be told that it was too late and I was out of luck. So I asked to contact a supervisor and was told the same thing. This was after talking with a very courteous young man who had said there would be no problem and just send in the original receipt. Now I feel I was lied to and wasted all the time I invested to receive this money promised to us. Very Disappointed and upset with the customer service that I received. I will copy this letter to the President of Verizon and to various consumer blogs (http://www.uspirg.org/consumer) (http://www.maryschmidt.com/2006/03/24/we-value-your-business/)
    (http://redtape.msnbc.com/2006/01/free_the_ad_scr_1.html#comments)
    http://techrepublic.com.com/5253-6257-0-1.html?id=2252949
    And websites until this problem is resolved.

  20. Wirefly never fulfills rebates…

  21. vero r piacentini

    September 14, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    I purchased a Motorola RAZAR V3 cell phone on the internet ,order # 416743336, from Wirefly on 3/6/05 with a $125 and $ 75 rebate. As of today 9/14/06 I have received no rebate. After many ,many E Mails (Ref E Mails to Wirefly Ref. tracking no.< <#1160755-1488902#>>)no satisfactory answer has been received. The answers to my E mails have been,”Check mailed 3/20/06″ ,”cleared 4/10/06″. (I never received or cashed any check from them) I asked for a copy of the rebate check, their answer was “copy of check mailed”. I never received the copy of my rebate check . Asked for a reply from their supervisor, never received an answer. I finally called Jon Delahay Office of the President. This is his answer.” Hello Vero,
    Thank you for the e-mail. I checked your account and my records confirm the information you have listed below. We show only one received rebate and one processed/cashed check. Unfortunately with your particular situation I cannot help. If the check had not been cashed I cold get another check issued. But since the check was cashed we cannot. At this point I will not be able to obtain a copy of your cashed check as we have switched over to a new rebate processing center and all previous processing information is unavailable. I’m sorry I wish there was more I could do.

    Sincerely,
    Jon Delahay
    Office of the President”
    ________________________________________

    It seems that Wirefly has calculated that if it can stall long enough they can reach a time when all efforts to resolve a problem will fail due to missing or corrupt data. They had such a miserable (bordering on fraudulent) accounting procedure that I suspect that my rebate check was never actually issued, or if it was it was it was possibly cashed by one of their employees. I hope someone can refer me to other organizations that can help me. As it now stands Wirefly has cheated me out of $200, but I will not give up trying to correct this scam.

  22. They are a big scammers…even i lost my rebates upto $400….they promissed but my rebates never arrived…

  23. wirefly_rebates06

    September 16, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Never recd rebates from this company….

  24. Please tell me how do i go about filing class action against wirefly/inphonic…..I did not receive my rebates yet…

  25. Rebates are scam…tired of waiting for rebates.

  26. Bought two RAZRs from wirefly – they of course don’t tell you how the rebates will be required in specific time frames with no past due amounts on the bills. But I figure I’ll handle it.

    Verizon messed up my first bill and it showed there was a past due balance. 2nd and subsequent bills were paid in full.

    First rebates were denied by wirefly due to “past due amount shown on bill”. SAY WHAT?

    I forget by two days past the 210 day mark for rebate #2. Figure it ain’t even worht sending it in.

    Rebates like this prey on people in hopes they forget or mess up the form. I’m out $375.

    I will never buy something with a rebate again.

    Yet, if I had bought the phones direct from verizon, the cost would have been $300 anyway. So really, I guess I can’t complain in the grand scheme of things. I like the phones and I like verizon.

    Lesson learned.

  27. I bought 2 phones with wireless bluetooth. There were total of 4 rebates. I have the print out of all at time of purchase. Wirefly claimed not to know of two therefore the rebate forms were aparently nonexistent. Later, giving up on the those two, I sent off the two recognized “loyalty rebates”. I mailed it to AZ rebate center and it was returned. Now late, I sent it to MN and it was denied. So, I’m out nearly $500. I feel like I’ve been mugged and I see I’m not alone. It is very difficult to reach wirefly. The wait on the phone is always over 15 minutes. I’m still trying, but I see there is no reason for optimism. It is curious that it is not possible to reach customer service via email with an internet based business?

  28. I TOO WAS ROBBED , MUGGED ,SCREWED BY WIREFLY,AKA INPHONIC.AKA REBATE CENTER AND MANY OTHER NAMES I CAME ACROSS,AND I ALSO BELIEVE NEXTEL -SPRINT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT BECAUSE THESE SITES CLAIM THEY ARE “ONLINE AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVES” AND THE PHONE COMPANIES KNOW THIS

  29. I am surprised to hear all of this disappointing info. I had a wonderful experience with wirefly. I recieved a letter noting the change of address before the location change and rec. my rebates in about 14 weeks. They were very curtious. As long as rebate forms are followed to the “t”, your money will follow.

  30. Verizon success story

    November 27, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    Verizon: Claimed they didn’t have the original UPC code from box.
    Me: found this website along with FTC’s website and called Verizon back.
    Verizon: Registered my number as having recieved the rebate.
    (This is how they get away with not honoring rebates by registering in their system as having returned the rebate once they have spoken to the customer on the phone)
    Conclusion: after a heated exchange with one of their reps where I told them that I was fine without the rebate as long as I can get them on record that they are claiming to have “LOST” the original UPC code that I sent in– that I was filing a legal complaint and wanted to document their official response to my claim.
    Verizon: Will transfer me to a supervisor where they promptly made an “exception” and proceeded to send me my rebate along with a tracking number.
    I will still file a legal complaint against Verizon and other companies who don’t honor rebates– what they are doing is illegal, unacceptable and should be made public. From now on, I too will boycott products with rebate offers. I don’t think I’ve ever recieved one rebate check! This will be my first and it was not worth all the hoops I had to jump through to get a $50 rebate off of a $400 dollar phone but this is a matter of principle don’t you think?

  31. Verizon storefront claimed if phone ordered on-line, rebate is automatic. Nothing showed during order process. Called their 800# and they claimed system was having problems, but rebate info would be included in box. Phone arrives, no rebate form. Called Verizon and they direct you to their on-line “Rebate Center”. Enter the UPC and it says no offer available. Rebate offer is still in effect. Go to “Pre-Register for Rebate” section and you get looped back to log-in screen. Now they claim to be mailing me a rebate form. I won’t hold my breath

  32. I bought two Motorola V180 model cell phones from Wirefly in Feb 2006.

    Wirefly advertised that they would give me 75$ for each phone (total 150$) as part of the Customer Loyalty rebate if we stayed with Cingular for 6 months.

    After completing 6 billing cycles with Cingular, we sent the Rebate form along with the bills for the 6 months and other documents as requested in the rebate form.

    Its been 5 months since the documents were sent.

    First we were told that the rebate forms did not reach the rebate center at all.

    After that the papers miracalously appeared in the rebate center.Next we were told that, the claim is under process it would take another 3-4 weeks.

    Now the website says ‘The combined value of all of your rebate claim submissions exceed what you are eligible for based on your order. All valid rebate amounts on your order have been paid.’

    I have not been paid a single cent from wirefly.And this is the first and the last time I am buying any phones from wirefly so there is no question of the limit being exceeded.

    When I called the rebate center, they say that the corporate office has denied the claim becuase it has been already paid.

    The rebate center gave me a number for the corporate office which was nothing but a customer service number.Those people have no idea about rebate status.

    When the called the rebate center back, they say that the number they gave was the corporate office number.They are not sure why it is going to the customer service office.

    I am totally sick and tired of these peolpe lying back and forth about the rebate status.

    I asked them for proof like a check number which proves that they ahve paid me but as expected, there is no answer for that.

    It is really frustrating to have no answers and all lies from the rebate center.

  33. iwanribble, Hillsboro, OR

    January 8, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    You could filed a complaint at BBB (Better Business Bureau) about your cellphone rebate scam. BBB is very good at handling the issue like this. BBB’s website is : https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/GetStarted.aspx
    You can directly file complains against Inphonic (which is wirefly.com), and select “Cell phone complaint – for cell phone service”.

    BBB helped me in getting an unauthorized long distance service charge in my local phone bill the other day, they have done outstanding job.

  34. To reiterate some of the previous comments – Wirefly is running a BIG SCAM. Wirefly would entice you to buy through them with a promise of a rebate and would give you a big run-around to avoid paying the rebate.

    Here is the run-around scheme they gave me:
    – first, Wirefly claimed that my rebate forms were not legible.
    – when the same exact forms were re-submitted, Wirefly claimed that I will have to wait until they process it.
    – On my last inquiry with them, Wirefly stated that I submitted the forms too late.
    – Oh, btw, different people would give me different answers. All the answers are about how they won’t honor the rebate.

    BTW, Wirefly’s scheme is well-known. Apparently their scheme is so pervasive that the Washington attorney general became aware of their scheme and officially lodged a suite against them.

    If you ever thinking of buying from Wirefly – DON’T. YOU WILL REGRET IT! Your cellular carrier (for your equipment) won’t be able to help you. It will you fighting against them. And depending on how far you want to go, you can involve your state attorney general. Wirefly is counting on you to give up before you state that step. On principle, I will take my case to better business bureau and my state attorney general.

    The bottomline, to avoid all the trouble, DON’T DO BUSINESS WITH WIREFLY.

  35. I work for a rebate company and process rebates, some of which have been mentioned in past bloggs. I can say with out a shadow of a doubt that rebates are in fact a scam. I walk through a warehouse every day that has UPC codes and mail strewn on the ground that I walk on. Soon to be swept away and discarded. I do my best as a human being to get every customer that crosses my path their rebate. That is my small part in trying to make this huge scam a better experience. It makes me sick to think that people are still applying for rebates every day and I can only hope that one day I’m put out of a job because rebates will be illegal. As they should be…

  36. Does anyone have an extra Motorola V-325i UPC code (or even a copy of one) they want to donate to my “I just threw a cell phone box worth $50 in my recycle bin on garbage day” fund?
    email me

    thanks!

    b

  37. I am having a lot of trouble with T-Mobile.

    See tmobilerebate.blogspot.com

  38. Our law firm is working on a class action lawsuit against CompUSA for the very rebate scams you are blasting about here. If you know anyone who has been the victim of a CompUSA rebate scam we would love to talk to them. e-mail me at Gclark@keefebartels.com.

  39. I will never do business with Wirefly.com again and make it my mission to let others know of their unbusinessly like tactics used to prevent paying out the stated rebates. I am writing the Better Business Bureau concerning Wirefly aka Inphonic.

  40. Chris Dafnoulelis

    March 22, 2007 at 10:35 am

    We bought 2 phones from Wirefly on November 30 2005 with a promise of $200 in rebates each. I filled out all the forms correctly…I have been doing this type of work for the Federal Government for 40 years. I sent each of the 4 letters return reciept. When that company went up in smoke I resubmitted to thier new agent. They told me I missed the deadline. If they had checked the copies of the RR they would have seen I submitted in time. After a phone call they dropped that rejection but came up with a new one. They say I never submitted a bill with each of the 4 request. Hoe would they know what I submitted the first time since they admitted losing the 4 letters.
    I have the form from the Massachusetts AJ to start an investigation, I am also going to interview with a neighbor that anchors for ABC. Mary Richardson is co-anchor of WCVB-TV’s Chronicle, the nation’s longest running locally produced nightly newsmagazine. If I still do not get my rebates I will sue. If it comes to that I will repost and initiate a class action suit.

  41. i just read a serious charge against verizon at http://www.keyfess.com/verizon_wireless_is_a_SCAM_AND_STEALS

    if this is true ( i think it is) then we as consumers have a ral problem on our hands and need to do something against these corporate thiefs!

  42. I have never liked rebates. I don’t evn like the idea of rebates. I am having difficulty now collecting a rebate. The whole rebate process is a scam. If the price of merchandise is going to be reduced then it ought to be offered at the discounted or reduce price at the point of sale. Rebating is nothing but a racket. I am particularly disapointed in Sears rebate process and will probably not ever shop at Sears again.

  43. WIREFLY IS A BIG BIG SCAM. I would like to join a class action law suite and teach these folks a lesson they will never forget. I was robbed off my rebate($195), stating that i downgraded my service or reduced my contract term. I have produced all my invoices so far from CINGULAR to prove that they are just lying. I am going to file a complaint against BBB and would not mind spending more $$$ to teach these folks a lesson. Anybody interested…?? or want me to join please email me or reply here in the forum. Thanks Sammy

  44. The ultimate scam: On the Buy.com web site:

    The $45 rebate coupon for McAfeeTotal protection says “between 4/2/07 and 4/16/07 fine so far
    But the request for rebate must be postmarked by 3/23/07!!!!!!

  45. Here’s my story:

    May 30th, 2005: I purchased two phones from Wirefly (Cingular service), with four rebates totaling $250.00. That the rebate amounts were essentially paying me to get the phones should have been a big warning that this was a scam.

    Wirefly’s website has information (at least it did at the time of my purchase) regarding porting existing numbers to phones purchased through them; the bottom line is they stated you can initiate the number porting process at any time.

    I ported my existing Cingular numbers to the new phones I purchased, though the process was extremely bureaucratic and involved calling Cingular several times as well as Wirefly; eventually I received approval and confirmation from Wirefly that my prior numbers had successfully been ported to the new phones.

    I proceeded to send in all necessary forms, UPC codes, bills per Wirefly’s schedule, which we all now understand is only designed to trip up us fools that purchased our phones through them.

    Fast forward to mid-March 2006. I received notice that my four rebates were being rejected because I had ‘cancelled service with Cingular.’ The following several weeks are a blur now because I spent hours and hours on the phone with Wirefly (most of that time on hold). At one point I even teleconferenced Cingular, Wirefly and myself together on the phone so Cingular could confirm that I hadn’t cancelled service. Made no difference. I pointed out that I had received approval to port my prior phone numbers to my new Wirefly phones. None of this did any good; Wirefly continually insisted that they needed to see ‘official confirmation’ that I hadn’t cancelled service. I offered to send in additional phone bills; for some reason this wouldn’t do. So I was caught between Cingular (saying that I had NEVER cancelled my service) and WIrefly (saying I had, and I wouldn’t get my rebates as a result).

    Eventually one of the Wirefly representatives told me to document everything and send in a packet of information – a letter detailing what had happened, all my rebate forms, my bills, etc. I wrote up a two-page letter and sent in all backup information (via registered mail, with receive receipt). Waited two weeks, which the representative said I should do. Heard nothing. Calling them back, it was clear that my letter had either never been read, or simply thrown away upon receipt, because it had had no impact on my situation. In fact, the new representative (this one a manager) said the letter wasn’t needed – what I needed was ‘official confirmation’ that I hadn’t cancelled service. I was back where I started.

    At this point I simply gave up, because it was clear that A) Wirefly had no intention of ever paying out the $250.00 they owed me; and B) between the phone calls, documenting discussions, writing letters, making copies, I had spent far more than $250.00 in my valuable time chasing these crooks around.

    In summary, bought the phones because of the rebates, followed Wirefly’s instructions, received nothing in rebates, played ping-pong between Wirefly and Cingular in a vain attempt to resolve the issue, and finally gave up. Oh yes, I considered hiring a lawyer… obviously would’ve cost more than $250.00, but that’s how much Wirefly pissed me off.

    Would never, ever, buy from Wirefly again, and have nothing but pity for anyone who does. I hope like hell that these guys get shut down… and CNET should feel ashamed that they made these guys front and center on their website for months on end. Of course, people who run companies like Wirefly are the cockroaches of the business world, so I’m sure they’ll just open up under a new name once people understand what a scam Wirefly is.

    At the very least I’ll send something to BBB and contact my state attorney general… anything to get my name added to the list of Wirefly victims.

  46. younevercall.com claimed rebate $60 for customer loyalty and $30 customer appreciation for each of the two phones. That is $180. They claimed to have never received one, they claimed that one of the receipts was not legible. According to their claim the other two forms were sent with no supporting information. Eventhough every UPC, every purchase receipt, every phone bill was sent to them. Their claim rejection form indicates that we sent a blank envelope to them. I contacted 1-866-607-9877 and it was like banging my head against the wall. Asked to contact manager, after a while the person claimed that manager was not available. They have tried everything they could to not pay as primised. I opened a ticket with BBB. I urge you to do the same along with this letter. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/consumerism/rebate_madness04.html

    DO NOT purchase from YOUNEVERCALL.COM they are scamming the rebates. The connection was a fiasco, the calls were being routed through India whom disconnected my phone for a week trying to move my old number. It was a disaster. Please DO NOT PURCHASE from YOUNEVERCALL.
    I hope someone stops these scams.

  47. I was cheated by wirefly as well
    They have never sent to me $50 Mail-in rebate. They say that rebate form was lost in mail. I stil have photocopy of that and they say it is too late to resubmit.

  48. petetr swandrak

    June 18, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Rebate scam, The companies wear you down in hopes that you just forget about it and they’re off the hook to fulfill the rebate. It reaches a point where it becomes a matter of getting satisfaction and the money becomes secondary. I’ve submitted a rebate form to Sears in Febuary,and re-submitted in early April,it is now mid June and I still haven’t received the check, which I am now being told was mailed on 6/06/07. There ought to be a LAW !!!

  49. INPHONIC is a RIP OFF

    Rebates are NOT paid!
    Good luck tracking them down.

  50. Another company to watch out for is Office Depot: it took me to have to complain with the BBB and the local District attorney to finally get my rebate for a laptop I purchased from them.

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