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Friday, May 10, 2013

Sapphire: Trying to Deny My $20 Mail-In Rebate

Sapphire, for shame. Your rebate process is a joke, with documentation that doesn't make it clear what you're after. What's more, when someone provides the correct UPC, your rebate department rejects it thanks to your incompetence. This all started with me ordering a bunch of GPUs for Litecoin mining. Sapphire was offering $20 off via rebate, and since their cards were already the cheapest it was a free $20 per GPU discount, right? Wrong. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with the rebate email. This is what I received from their rebate company:

"Your Rebate was not approved for the following reason(s)
- Original UPC Barcode Label (#840777061794) (Not the shipping label barcode) is missing"

Okay, here's an image from a second card that I ordered, since I'm sure no one can get a rebate from it now. Let's just send this little box to the scrap heap (or recycle bin), shall we?
What's the problem? Well, it appears Sapphire is reusing boxes, so the original UPC on the box is hidden under the new UPC sticker (which they call the "shipping label barcode" in their email). So the UPC I cut out (from a different box, but it has a similar number) says "HD7950 3G DDR5 PCIE" but the rebate people want the code underneath that sticker where you can see the label, "HD7950 3D GDDR5 PCI-E HDMI/DVI-E/DUAL MINI DP WITH BOOST".

The good news is that I called the support number for the rebate, and when they tried to tell me I didn't have a Boost card I argued with them and said, "It most certainly does have Boost -- it's right there on my Newegg order, and the same Newegg page links to the Sapphire rebate form." He checked out the order apparently and then agreed I had the right card and made whatever "changes" were necessary to process my rebate. And it only took 35 days since the time I placed my order. How's that for fast? (/sarcasm)

I guess the real question is: who's to blame on this one?, perhaps -- did they reuse a box somehow, or slap on a new UPC code? Maybe Sapphire is the one slapping new UPC codes on boxes, which would make it rather difficult to actually get a rebate. My feeling is that this is more than just an accidental slip-up, and in fact when I called the support line I could hear a conversation going on in the background:

Support Guy: "Is this that same guy again?"
Support Gal: "No, this is someone different."
Support Guy: "And he's got the exact same problem?"
Support Gal: "It would appear so."
Support Guy: "Okay, let me talk to him...."

There's more to the story of course. I purchased more than one of these cards, on the assumption that I could get the $20 rebate on each card. Oops: it's only one rebate per household! So not only did they try to rip me off for $20, they did so after I purchased five of their cards (actually, eight counting those from a friend -- the Dual-X cards are definitely worth the extra $25 in my opinion). My advice, then, is something I've said many times to people:

Never buy a product because of the mail-in rebate. If you're not willing to pay the asking price, then don't buy it. If you want the product anyway and the rebate is simply a nice bonus, go ahead -- just don't have your heart set on getting that money, because there's a good chance the "paperwork got lost", or "you have the wrong UPC code", or even "sorry, the company the processed our rebates went out of business; we're not the ones that offered the rebate, that was a third party." I've heard all of the above over the years, and others besides. In some instances, there was no communication and the rebate simply never came; any attempts to find someone to call or write about the problem met with no success. The whole mail-in rebate thing feels like a red herring to me; I think I've received rebates about 50% of the time, and it's always about two or three months after the initial purchase.

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  1. Hey, I checked the rebate info PDF from newegg (where they list the amount for each individual card) and looked for the UPC code that's on your "shipping label", which doesn't match any of hte codes on the doc. The thing is that i also looked for the UPC that you were supposed to send(#840777061794) and discovered that that code isn't in the list either (but the card is) So this leads me to thing that the card came with a wrong UPC code from the factory.

    I purchased a 7850 recently and my upc code DOES appear on that list so maybe it'll be different with me.

    1. BTW here's the link ot the info PDF: