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Request for rebate wasn't received

In January, my Chase MasterCard statement had a flyer on the envelope flap offering several items. I sent in my order for a pair of binoculars with payment of my bill. The binoculars should have cost $6.95 plus $4.95, but I was charged $43.94. I have been trying for months to get my refund for the overcharge without success. Now Chase says it can't help me. I hope you can. Cynthia Wilson

Response: T. McKinley, customer service specialist with GreatBuyUSA in Central Islip, N.Y., said the order form clearly indicates that the binoculars cost $19.95 with the rebate form or $39.95 without. The order form also mentions how to obtain the rebate.

Your order was shipped Feb. 4, but the company never received a rebate request from you. For your convenience, McKinley said, a check for the amount of the rebate is being sent to you.

McKinley sent us a copy of the Chase rebate offer order form, which clearly shows the final cost of the binoculars, after the $20 rebate, as $19.95. The shipping charge is listed as $3.99.

We don't know where you got the figures $6.95 plus $4.95. You did mention in your letter that you are legally blind, so it is possible that you misread the relatively small print of the offer.

If you respond to any such offers in the future, we suggest you get someone else to verify the figures for you.

You also mentioned that you really wanted the binoculars and didn't wish to return them, so we hope the final price is acceptable.

Free gifts didn't arrive

We have been on Saab's mailing list for free gifts with a test drive. The solicitations started to arrive approximately one year ago. Last September, my wife, Dacota, and I went to a Saab dealer and test drove a car, for which we were to receive free gas. All the paperwork was done and presented at that time; we were supposed to receive the gas card within 30 days. It never arrived.

Before Christmas, my wife and mother took advantage of another offer from Saab for a Barnes & Noble certificate. It never arrived either. We have called at least six times without getting any response.

Enclosed is yet another solicitation from Saab for a $50 gift certificate from American Express. This time we didn't waste our time. Brian Rosenbaum

Response: Al Fontova, direct marketing manager with Saab Cars USA in Norcross, Ga., said a test drive invitation was sent to you in February 2001 and again in February of this year. Your wife was sent an invitation in September. On Nov. 15, a $50 Barnes & Noble gift certificate was mailed to you in response to the test-drive gift request reply card. On Nov. 26, a $50 gas card gift was sent to Dacota in response to the test-drive gift request reply card received from her. Both gift cards were sent to your address in Clearwater.

In late April, Fontova said, Saab's customer assistance center received a call from your wife requesting a second certificate. The company's records show the representative informed her that the certificate was sent in November and confirmed that it was mailed to the correct address. There is no other activity recorded in the company's database after this.

Fontova said that although Saab cannot be responsible for items lost in the mail, given the considerable amount of effort you have put into this, a $50 gift check has been sent to you through overnight courier. He said Saab regrets the inconvenience you have experienced and hopes this latest fulfillment will resolve the issue.

Computer rebate arrives

On Nov. 21, I purchased a Sony Vaio computer from Best Buy. Advertised with the computer was a $100 rebate. I submitted everything requested and as you've frequently instructed, made copies of all the documents. The rebate was valid from Sept. 24 until Feb. 28, and had to be submitted within 30 days of purchase. I complied with each of Sony's requests.

Time passed with no rebate, so I called the number listed on the Best Buy rebate form and was instructed to call another number. I called every two to three weeks and each time was told that rebates from November weren't being processed yet.

In March, after four months had passed, I contacted Sony and was told it had no record of my rebate but that I should check the Web site. I did so and found all my documentation had been received but that "the retailer was not valid." I contacted the Best Buy rebate number and was told it is a valid retailer but that since the problem was Sony's, it couldn't help me.

I called Sony and was told I would have to resubmit my request. However, I was told I couldn't resubmit the forms without including a postcard from Sony telling me it had rejected my original request.

The problem _ you've probably guessed it by now _ is that it has been more than four weeks since my request was rejected, and I have not received the postcard. Anything you can do to help me collect my $100 rebate would be most appreciated. Pat Blizzard

Response: We first contacted Sony in mid-April, then again, by certified letter, in early June. We were about to give up hope when we got your message that the rebate had finally arrived.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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