Restate There Is No Rebate To Reinstate

, , , , | Right | October 22, 2019

(I do billing and tech support for a major cell phone carrier.)

Customer: “I was just talking to someone about getting my rebate card for the phone I bought in November, and we got disconnected.”

Me: “Oh, well, I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll be glad to assist you with getting your rebate resubmitted or the card re-mailed.”

Customer: “I’m about to give up! The rebate people keep telling me I can’t have my $50 rebate!”

Me: *looking at the notes on the account* “Uh, ma’am, the notes here say that you purchased the phone for $1 at [Electronics Retailer]; is that correct?”

Customer: “Yes, but I don’t see what that has to do with it!”

Me: “Well, a rebate is basically a refund from the manufacturer on money that you already spent on the phone. If you had gotten that particular phone at one of [Carrier]’s corporate store locations, it would have been $79.99, with a $50 mail-in rebate. However, since you only spent a dollar on it in the first place—”

Customer: *cutting me off* “It doesn’t say anywhere on this rebate form the store lady gave me that you have to pay a certain amount to get your rebate card! I’m eligible for a rebate!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, ma’am, but there’s no way I can make them honor that, since you didn’t buy the phone at one of our stores. I do see that someone has applied a promotion for a month of free service to your account, though, as well as issuing you some inconvenience credits! Between the promotion and the credits, the value applied to your account is actually greater than the $50 gift card, anyway.”

Customer: “Those credits are because they were saying I was late on my payment! I pay on time every month, though!”

Me: *looks at the payment history on the account* “Well, I see that you’ve been making payments every month, but it looks like you’ve been underpaying by $10 to $15 every month for the last few months now. I’d be happy to review your plan—”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t look at my bills; I just make a payment! No, I’m going to take my free month and go look for another carrier. I can’t believe you won’t give me my rebate card!”

(Nothing I could do or say would persuade the customer that, in fact, she owed us the remaining balance from her bills, and we did not owe her a rebate on money she never paid for her phone. Eventually, she hung up the call.)

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