Electronic Circus

Avant-garde Agitator

The day after Thanksgiving, I woke up at 6am and bought a DVD player from Circuit City. It was $140, and it was called Orbitron. Orbitron. The manual had a picture of a woman, a futuristic Metropolis silver woman with some sort of headpiece and gloves. Orbitron did not play my Matrix DVD correctly. I returned Orbitron, and replaced her with DV-525 from Pioneer, at Good Guys. It's a much better unit, but it was $299. Helping offset the higher cost was a $50 rebate from Good Guys, and an additional $50 rebate from Pioneer. I sent in both rebates, but received back my rebate request from Pioneer--The receipt from Good Guys showed that the purchase was made by Carmen Kwong, my roommate's aunt. I guess she was in their database, somewhere. So Pioneer says that I can't have my $50, because Carmen's name is on the receipt, and not mine.

And so, I enlist the one man A-Team of corporate vs. little guy disputes, Ian. You remember Ian from his other letter featured here on the RageBomb: Lucifer Notes. The following is the letter he wrote for me.

14 January 1999

Perry W@ng
[address withheld]
Santa Monica, CA 90404

$50 DV-525/DV-414 Rebate
PO Box 32830
Phoenix, AZ 85064-2830

Dear Pioneer,

Not to be outdone by its own moniker, Pioneer is a leader in the consumer
electronics markets. Not to be outdone myself, I recently took note of Pioneer's
status as avant-garde agitator during my own noble attempts to occupy and colonize
the new frontier of the Digital Video Disc - proud and stable in constitution,
I proceeded to my neighborhood Good Guys electronics store, wherein I found premium
service to match the premium equipment I hoped to cradle upon my departure.

Serendipitously, I took note of Pioneer's special offer - a munificent US$50
rebate on the DV-525, the very machine I'd hoped to wed to my digitally unrequited
television. Some might choose the product on account of the rebate, but for me,
Pioneer's abovementioned status as ringleader in the electronic circus made brand
selection easy, even transparent. Happily I purchased the apparatus, which I use
and enjoy regularly. With glee and great merriment I sent in my rebate form,
pleased to be able to lick $50 of icing off the impeccable cake that is my DV-525.

Sadly, I recently received the enclosed letter, in which Pioneer, that great
electronic trailblazer, refused out of hand to issue my refund. The rationale
in question was as follows: "Rebate cannot be transferred into another name."
It is with patience but stalwart determination that I rebut your failure to
honor my request, in the heartfelt hope that you will promptly issue my check.

Firstly, I did indeed purchase the product in question. The name printed on
the receipt, which is not my own, was cited as the locus of the difficulty
(cf. enclosures). Explanation for this discrepancy is simple and determinate.
Upon purchase of any product at the Good Guys retailer, their friendly staff
requests the buyer's address. When I offered my own, the salesperson found it
quickly and proceeded with the sale. It was only upon receipt of your letter
and further examination of my invoice that I noted the discrepancy. The Good
Guys employee had found my address in their database and, in good faith,
proceeded with the sale using that record. The name shown on the receipt is
a relation of my housemate, one who apparently used our address when making
a purchase at the Good Guys. 

Secondly, even if the name on the receipt had been of a different purchaser
than the one issuing the rebate request, there is no mention of the name
requirement on your rebate coupon. Moreover, many electronics retailers
(e.g. Best Buy), do not print such personal information on the receipt.
Thus, had I merely solicited a different retailer, I would likely have my
check in hand already. 

Finally, I have invested the time and effort in requesting a letter
(enclosed) from Good Guys. This letter not only confirms my purchase,
but also imparts Good Guys's good faith effort to issue me a new receipt.
Unfortunately, due to the time expired between the purchase and my request,
a new receipt could no longer be issued.

I trust that, heeding my praises and my effort, you will dispatch to me the
warranted rebate straightaway. Upon reception of the check bearing the proud
emblem of Pioneer, I will once again laud and exalt the landmark revolution
underwritten by your dignified and righteous company.

Very truly yours,
Perry W@ng


Oh. So this is how it turned out. I got the the entire pack back from Pioneer. The letter, the Good Guys letter, my rebate form, everything. This time, the letter from Pioneer said that I had turned my rebate form too late. So I looked for a scapegoat, someone to pay for that $50. I called the Good Guys. Waited on hold a long time, and was able to irk out of them a $50 gift certificate for my trouble, seeing as how they put Carmen's name on the receipt in the first place, and what kind of store puts people's names on receipts? Done.