Woman Says Verizon Treated Her ‘Like an Extortionist’ Over Rebate

The ABC News Fixer helps Fla. woman get over $600 credit with wireless carrier.

After countless phone calls to different departments, I was sent to a Verizon store in my town, where I was treated like an extortionist! I have been told to resubmit again and again with little hope of ever seeing this money. Please help!

-Julia Rosenthal, Fort Myers, Fla.

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

Dear Julia: Ah, the dreaded rebate. There’s nothing more frustrating than making an expensive decision based on money you’re supposed to collect later – and then being unable to get that money.

You’d seen an ad on TV promising to pay up to $650 in early termination fees for switching to Verizon. You said that when you called to do that, you specifically invoked that promotion.

At one point, on the “track your submission” webpage for Verizon customers who've applied for rebates, it listed your application status as “invalid,” due to the final bill being “missing or illegible,” which was odd because the bill you sent looked completely legible to us.

We were happy to help dislodge your $636.90 reimbursement. We got in touch with the mobile carrier’s PR folks and they jumped right on this. Within a couple days you got your money in the form of a bill credit. You said someone from Verizon also called you to apologize for the delay.

Regular readers of this column know The Fixer isn’t a big fan of rebates in general, because they’re great at influencing our purchase decisions but can be tricky to claim later. Often, rebates are run by third-party vendors, placing an administrative layer between the company and consumer, and some rebates have complicated rules for claiming your money.

For anyone who decides to go for a rebate, here’s some advice:

- Keep good records. Screenshot the original offer or save the print ad, because these offers come and go. Make copies of everything you submit.

- Note on the calendar when you expect to receive the money, so you can start complaining if it’s late. If you call or email to follow up, note the dates and representatives’ names and contact info.

- Follow all the instructions carefully. Some rebates have very precise requirements.

- The ABC News Fixer

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