bad-experience

Symantec sucks less

by Michael Alderete on 12/22/2003

After my last post about Symantec’s crazy rejection of my rebate form, I spent an hour tracking down the rebate within their processing system, in the end reaching a human being who said he would validate the rebate, and I should look for it in a couple weeks. That check has now arrived, so I have to say that Symantec in the end made good.

But they didn’t make it easy. It took an hour because of a Byzantine rebate web site that in the end couldn’t help me, and a terrible phone system that never offered me the opportunity to speak to a real person. It was only by visiting every menu and sub-menu, and repeatedly pressing “0” for the operator, that I actually reached a happy conclusion.

Which just goes to highlight the fake nature of these “rebates” that are offered by virtually all of the consumer software companies. They offer you $30, but they know the numbers. A certain percent won’t send in the card, a certain percent won’t fill it out correctly or in time, and a certain percent won’t fight a rejection, even if it’s bogus. I would imagine that a $30 rebate translates to about a $5-10 discount off the actual per-unit revenue to the company.

So don’t be fooled by those rebates! Or at the very least, be religious about filling out the forms and sending in the paperwork, the same day you make your purchase. That’s the only way the rebates work out for you in the long run.

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Symantec sucks

by Michael Alderete on 12/8/2003 · 1 comment

I just got a card in the mail, from Symantec’s rebate center. I am due a $30 rebate on updated anti-virus and personal firewall software we just bought for Rochelle’s computer, and their rebate center rejected the rebate claim. The supposed reasons are:

  • Invalid Postmark Date
  • Missing Purchase Date

The first reason is completely bogus, because (a) it’s not my fault, it’s the USPS; and (b) they don’t need a postmark; the rebate claim was submitted well within the required period, and even the rejection card itself got here within the mandated period. Postmarks are only necessary if an item is received past an expiration date, which isn’t the case.

The second claim is, in a way, even worse. The claim submission included a copy of my Costco receipt. I know Costco receipts, and they always have the date. Just because some minimum wage processing drone in Florida can’t find it in the 60 seconds they’re allowed to spend handling each claim doesn’t mean the purchase date isn’t there.

This is yet another example of the false savings that “rebates” represent. I can’t tell you the number of rebates we have failed to get, due to denied claims, or just laziness in submitting. One of these days I may actually wake up and realize that rebates are not savings, they are a bet, and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

I should note that this rebate is offered — and processed — by Symantec themselves. I’ve always had good luck with the rebates that get processed by Costco (which are the ones where they print the rebate form directly onto your receipt, extremely convenient).

What’s really ironic is that I dithered in the store, with both the McAfee and Symantec packages in my hands. About the same price, equivalent features. I eventually went with the brand I’ve purchased in the past. But if Symantec doesn’t come across with my $30, they’re going to lose a customer forever.

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