Thursday, June 30, 2016

It Only Took 30 Months!

What do we have here?

  I don’t normally get money in the mail that I’m not expecting but I did get some twice a couple of weeks ago from unexpected sources. In late 2013 I wrote about how I agreed to spend an afternoon of my vacation Thanksgiving week getting a demonstration of FiltroPur air filtration products in return for a $100 gas card which turned out to be 10 $10 gas rebates that I had to send to the International Rebates company in Florida. That blog post (you can read it here) is the most read post I’ve written by a factor of two, well outpacing any beagle posts and my 2011 review of a Joe Namath biography (For the record, my chess posts are far down the list with the most widely read being my review of ‘ChessNetwork’’s YouTube channel and the Chessimo iPod app. It seems there is no shortage of people who want to know more about FiltroPur and their $100 ‘gas card offer’.

  I faithfully mailed a $10 rebate form every month for 10 months which cost $4.70 in postage. I wouldn’t get a rebate check for months until I would call International Rebates (the company I mailed the rebate forms to) and ask them if they had received my forms (they had) and when I would get my rebate (soon). This company would always tell me my rebate check should be mailed next week and I’d never get a rebate check.

  Eventually I just kept on calling International Rebates and instead of hanging up when they told me my rebate check should be mailed next week I would stay on the phone with them as long as I could and ask them what dates they got my rebate forms and when I was supposed to get my rebate check and start all over again since if the dates were right I should have received my rebate checks already. If they hung up I would call again and start from the beginning.

  I only talked to two representatives from International Rebates and I either elicited their sympathies or wore them down with my persistence since I received two checks for $20 and another check for $50 over the next year. I hope you noticed that I never received a $10 rebate and that the total of the rebates I received was $10 short of the promised $100 in rebates.

  I called International Rebates 5 separate times trying to get that last $10 dollars. Each time I was told the 12 month rebate period had expired. It didn’t matter how long I stayed on the phone or that I sent the rebate form in well before the 12 month period – I got the same answer every time. What almost bothered me as much as not getting the ten dollars was that the International Rebates representatives didn’t seem bothered in the slightest by how long I kept them on the phone asking the same questions over and over. Either they had taken some Zen classes or were on to my tricks or were just delighted to tell me that I wasn’t going to get my $10.

  So sometime in early 2015 I gave up and stopped calling International Rebates about getting my last $10 gas rebate check. I didn’t give it much thought and truth be told I was happy to be able to talk about my missing $10 anytime the subject of International Rebates of FiltroPur came up in casual conversation which I don’t recall it ever has.

  Last month I got a letter in the mail from a company called ‘Grand Incentives’ in Florida. I figured it was one of the many offers I get for car, house, or appliance warranties. I opened the letter to see what was inside before ripping it half and tossing it into the trash but instead of some money saving offer there was a $10 check from International Rebates! My last ten dollars had finally come home. I have no idea why after over a year I finally got my last $10 gas rebate check and I didn’t call to ask either. I did try to see if there had been some sort of class action lawsuit against the company but all I found were a bevy of Better Business Bureau complaints, most of which were resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

  I was happy to finally receive my last $10 dollars from International Rebates and close a 30 month saga that netted me $95.30 for sitting through a two hour demonstration and spending at least four hours on the phone. If I am ever again offered a $100 gas card for sitting through a demonstration I will need to have the card in my hand before any demonstration person sets foot in my door. As the late Ronald Reagan once said ‘Trust, but verify’.

I will treat the next company that offers me a $100 gas card to sit through a demo like Reagan treated Gorbachev...

   A few days after I got my $10 from International Rebates, I received a check from Wells Fargo for one dollar and zero cents. I stopped banking at Wells Fargo in the summer of 2014 (and wrote about it here) after they refused to let me deposit three of 14 checks for my chess camp that weren’t specifically made out to me. It took me a few months to untangle the web that Wells Fargo wove around my finances from direct deposit and online transfers to pay bills which I consider time well spent since I have had no issues with my new bank (United Bank and Trust of Marshalltown) either depositing or withdrawing money. As a bonus I haven’t gotten any calls from Wells Fargo trying to sell me Accidental Dismemberment Insurance (that I wrote about here), Life Insurance, Car Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Bill Pay Insurance, Brokerage accounts, etc.., etc.., etc.

And again...

  The letter I got from Wells Fargo stated that I had made a deposit but filled out the deposit slip incorrectly and as a result did not get credit for a dollar that I had deposited. I was happy to get the dollar but found it ironic that the same tellers that got all ‘deposit Nazi’ on my chess camp checks couldn’t be bothered to make sure a deposit slip was totaled correctly. I got a call from Wells Fargo a week later inquiring if they could help me with my ‘banking needs’ which made me think there was no mistake on any deposit slip and the dollar was an excuse to make a cold call. I told the Wells Fargo phone representative the same thing I told the representative that called me a year ago to see what they could do to get my business back which was to wait for every other bank in town to not let me make deposits and they would be next in line. If Wells Fargo is reading this I want to point out that if you can find a $1,000 mistake I made on a deposit I promise I will open a Wells Fargo account just to deposit it in.