Nationwide Rebate Legal Class Action Investigation Focusing on New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ) and California (CA)
Keefe Bartels is undergoing a legal investigation of alleged rebate scams, rebate fraud and rebate schemes of CompUSA and other electronics dealers. Research and investigation has revealed a number of complaints from consumers and people who have purchased computers and other electronics rebate products from CompUSA and other retailers. They say they purchased these Comp USA products based on advertisements and other notices saying the price of the product would be significantly cheaper with the mail in rebate. However, although they sent in the rebate form and paperwork, they either never received their rebate, or received the rebate check much later than promised, and only after spending undue time and effort pursuing the rebate clearinghouse company or rebate processor.
There have been many of the bad rebate complaints from consumers around the country. A man from California (CA) complained he was denied $250 in rebates. He felt that not paying on rebates was a regular practice and referred the matter to his state Attorney General’s office.
A Texas (TX) man responded to a rebate advertisement and purchased a $90.00 Norton Anti-Virus software protection that came with a $30.00 rebate. He received a printed rebate form from CompUSA and submitted it by fulfilling all of the requirements. He later received a letter denying his rebate for failing to meet phony rebate requirements never disclosed to him. Comp USA failed to make good on the rebate application of another Texas (TX) consumer who CompUSA refused to pay his $200 laptop computer rebate. When he first called them on it they said they could not locate his rebate claim form. When he again called to follow up, he was told to just forget about the rebate because the deadline had now passed and there was nothing they could do for him.
A Massachusetts (MA) consumer complains he purchased a laptop computer at CompUSA and sent in all required documentation for his combined $150 rebate. He was simply never send his money despite a number of follow up attempts. Another Massachusetts man did everything required to get his rebate but never received it. He says he will never ever shop at CompUSA again and feel he has been “swindled” by the company. He lost his $20 rebate and gained much aggravation over the issue. He feels that CompUSA acted fraudulently in the matter.
An Ohio (OH) woman bought an external hard drive because of the $35 rebate it came with. Like others who sent in their paperwork, Comp USA told her they had no record of receiving her mailed in rebate and that they could not help her.
A Florida (FL) man complains he sent in his CompUSA rebate on time but unjustifiably never received it. He equated his bad rebate experience with used car lot scams. Similar to and Nevada (NV) CompUSA rebate consumer who says despite numerous calls and e-mails he still had not received it.
A Pennsylvania (PA) woman bought a laptop with a $200 mail-in rebate which she says she followed the instructions “to a T.” When she called for a followup status of her rebate she was told they can’t find her submission and that she would never get her rebate.
An Indiana (IN) consumer complains he bought new computer with 5 rebates totaling $300.00. Says Comp USA wrongfully denied him his rebate, incorrectly telling him, “no receipt, no proof-of-purchase, form not all the way filled out.” He says that was all untrue.
A Tennessee (TN) man’s patience wore thin when he bought a flat screen monitor that was came with a $100.00 rebate. He mailed in the rebate form immediately. The forms said rebates would be paid within 6-8 weeks and to check on their website if I hadn’t received it within 10 weeks. He visited CompUSA’s website and tracked my rebate. (He says they “rather cleverly” have a system where to track the rebate, you have to know which of 4 addresses you sent it to, so if you didn’t keep adequate records, you may never find it.) He complains he was given the run-around and never got his money.
A California (CA) woman bought over $1,700 in items at CompUSA including one that had a $100 rebate for the computer. When she looked closer at home she noticed the rebate was already expired. Although initially told by rebate company it would be approved, she never got her money.
A New York (NY) consumer acted on a newspaper advertisement for a an LCD Monitor which included two (2) rebate forms, one for $70.00 another for $60.00. He feels Comp USA place impossible hoops for him to ump through to get his rebate. A Brooklyn New York (NY) man bought two software titles from Compusa. He claims he was unfairly denied both rebates.
Melinda Fulmer has written an article entitled, “Don’t get ripped off by a rebate ‘deal’.”(available at: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/) She writes that rebates are not always what they seem and consumers can find themselves on the losing end. She says that many manufacturers and retailers are increasingly being scrutinized by regulators for delaying payment, imposing hard-to-fulfill restrictions or making forms too complex — and therefore, too easy to reject. The rebate schemes appear to be economically driven, resulting in windfalls to the rebate companies the more the rebates claims are not fulfilled.
Supporting this view is the fact that although technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, the rebate requirements have become more complex and cumbersome. In an article entitled, “The Great Rebate Scam,” Carol Vinzant points out:
All of this hoop-jumping fuss-the paperwork, the postmarking, the sales slips-is quite unnecessary, says Leonard. Fulfillment centers can now do it all online-whether or not the purchase was online, with a credit card, or with cash. They don’t need the UPCs or the old phones or any such nonsense. The sales receipt could contain a unique code number that the consumer could enter into a Web site. Think of that the next time you are dissecting a box to get a lousy UPC code.
http://slate.msn.com/id/2084210/ Vinzant says rebate schemes serve no real purpose other than to lure consumers into buying products they believe they are getting cheaper, only to late be frustrated away from collecting their rebate. She says that if it’s a retail store that is offering the rebate, why isn’t it just on sale? The store doesn’t have any good reason to offer a rebate, since it could just as easily have a sale-if it in fact wanted the consumer to have the product at a lower price. It doesn’t, and that’s the point, she says. “When you see that a store is offering you a rebate, remember that back at HQ some executive is betting against you, rooting for you to slip up, calculating the odds that you will lose the receipt, go on vacation, write in a wrong number.”
Fortunately for consumers, states have passed consumer protection laws aimed at preventing the very rebate scams consumers have been complaining of. Keefe Bartels is investigating rebate fraud cases and in the process of filing rebate scam class actions lawsuits to target those allegedly responsible for cheating consumers. In 1960, the New Jersey Legislature passed the CFA to permit the Attorney General to combat the increasingly widespread practice of defrauding consumers. Senate Committee, Statement to the Senate Bill No. 199 (1960). In 1971, the Legislature amended the Act to “give New Jersey one of the strongest consumer protection laws in the nation.” Cox v. Sears Roebuck & Company, 138 N.J. 2, 14-15 (1994)(quoting Governor’s Press Release for Assembly Bill No. 2402, at 1 (Apr. 19, 1971)). The amendment expanded the definition of “unlawful practice” to include “unconscionable commercial practices” and also provided for private causes of action, with an award of treble damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. Id. at 15. The CFA is intended to protect consumers “by eliminating sharp practices and dealings in the marketing of merchandise and real estate.” Channel Cos. v. Britton, 167 N.J.Super. 417, 418 (App.Div.1979)(citing Daaleman v. Elizabethtown Gas Co., 77 N.J. 267, 271 (1978)(“The legislative concern was the victimized consumer, not the occasionally victimized seller.”). These and other consumer protection laws will be used to combat rebate fraud. The purpose of the Consumer Fraud Act is to protect consumers from fraud and deception, even when the alleged illegal acts were committed in good faith. Gennari v. Weichert Co. Realtors, 148 N.J. 581, 604 (1997).
The reach of the CFA is always expanding to rid the marketplace of deceptive and fraudulent business practices. “The history of the [CFA] is one of constant expansion of consumer protection.” Gennari v. Weichert Co. Realtors, 148 N.J. 582, 604 (1997). The CFA seeks to establish a “broad business ethic” in the marketplace. Cox, 138 N.J. at 18. With the evolving rebate scams, the consumer laws should be adapted to meet these challenges. The consumer protection laws of New York, California, Texas and other states will also be used to combat these rebate scams.
If you have filed a rebate claim for a product you purchased at CompUSA or other electronics dealer and would like to be considered for inclusion in a consumer class action lawsuit involving rebate fraud, feel free to contact the New Jersey and New York personal injury, class action and consumer law attorneys of Keefe Bartels or feel free to call our rebate scam hotline at 877-288-9247.
*Nothing herein shall be considered legal advice nor shall establish any attorney-client relationship with this law firm or its attorneys on your potential rebate lawsuit. A signed retainer agreement on your rebate legal case from you is necessary before we will represent you in a rebate fraud or any other legal case. All cases, including all rebate legal cases, are different and past successes are no guarantee of a future recovery.