ANOTHER "CROOKED E"
called Enron "the Crooked E" because of its leaning logo and its
deceptive business practices. Well, as you may have noticed, there's also a
crooked "E" in the Dell Computer logo. Just coincidence? Maybe not.
Dell likes to offer its customers rebates, but it doesn't like to actually pay them. Here are a couple of web references:
And, in case you're curious, here's the way I found Dell's bogus "rebate" scam works:
You order a Dell computer and send in the rebate form,
Then you wait... you wait a very long time indeed. Finally Dell sends you a card
(they’ve got a bunch of these pre-printed, for reasons that I’m suspicious
of) saying that the rebate request was postmarked late. (Shucks, that darned USPS must
be misplacing an awful lot of mail lately.) But all is not lost! You can send
the card back to them and still be eligible for a rebate--it says here.
After more time elapses, the people to whom you returned the card call to say you need to talk to corporate headquarters to get your rebate. You call the number and realize that (1) corporate headquarters must be in some far-off land like India, where the folks have heavy accents, and (2) the guy at so-called corporate headquarters has no authority whatever to do anything about your account. He offers to connect you with another number through which you can get your rebate. The other number doesn’t answer. It’s a good way to kill an hour, if you like being on “hold”. Don't try this without a speakerphone.
You contact customer service online. You get apologies,
which are cheap, but at first no rebate, which is expensive. After much email
back and forth with three Dell people, during which your tone becomes
increasingly edgy, one of them finally allows you half the disputed amount.
Bottom line: If you were planning to buy a Dell computer, better think about Dell’s phony rebate policy. On the basis of my experience, you’re likely to get half a rebate or none at all. If you're an attorney, contact me about a possible class action suit! —Richard P. Huemer 5/5/03, revised 6/26/03 and 6/1/04
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