I purchased an iPhone 6 last October. I was told I would get $200 for the iPhone 4S that I was trading in. It was in excellent condition. I mailed the phone to Verizon as I was instructed to do.

Several weeks went by and I started to wonder where that trade-in credit was. I called and was told that the "gift card" was sent in an email to me. I never received it. Since then, I've called back maybe 30 times. Each time I'm told they will resend the gift card or I’m disconnected from the call. Please help.


- Eunice Clark, Congers, N.Y.


Dear EUNICE:

Ah, rebates! The ABC News Fixer could write a book about rebates. Businesses love rebates because they get our attention (“Hey! Buy this item and you’ll get cash back!”) but consumers sometimes find it difficult to get their money.

The good news for you is that as soon as we contacted Verizon, they jumped right on this. They investigated your account and found that an email containing your gift card information was emailed to you back on Nov. 18 but the gift card wasn’t redeemed. Maybe it fell into your spam folder and was deleted? At any rate, rather than send out a new gift card, the phone company just applied the 200 bucks to your account. They also gave you a direct contact so if you have any questions in the future, you’ve got a specific human being you can call.

For the rest of us, here’s some general advice about rebates:

  • Don’t make a rebate the sole reason you’re buying something. In many cases, they are administered by third-party vendors, which means you’ll be dealing with that company if something goes wrong.


  • If you do go for a rebate, keep careful track of everything. Screen-shot or photocopy the offer and your application, and follow all the directions to a “T.”


  • Mark your calendar with the date you expect to receive the rebate.


  • If it’s a mail-in offer, send it by certified mail, return receipt requested.




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Stephanie Zimmermann

Most people groan at the thought of spending hours on the phone with a customer service call center, but Stephanie Zimmermann relishes the chance to slice through red tape.

Before joining ABC News, Stephanie untangled consumer problems at the Chicago Sun-Times, where her popular column recovered more than $1.4 million in refunds, credits, and merchandise for consumers in the Windy City.

Stephanie, who lives in Chicago, has also worked at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and has bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. But most of all, Stephanie is a consumer who hates to see anyone else get ripped off.