"Mail-in rebate" is a very enticing but misleading sales gimmick, I think. I've been told that it's often not honored by many manufacturers, but decided to test it myself. On Sept. 8, I bought a CD storage case from CompUSA and submitted my $5 mail-in rebate to CompUSA. On Dec. 10, I wrote a letter requesting action. There has been no acknowledgment. It's not the money that I'm concerned about, but mainly the principle. What recourse do consumers have, if any?
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In this case, call 1-800-COMPUSA, advised Darrell Brungardt, manager of the Ala Moana CompUSA store.
"One of the menu options is for rebate issues," he said. CompUSA will try to handle problems with rebates, but Brungardt points out that the Scottsdale, Ariz., address you sent the rebate to is a third-party redemption center, a separate business that serves as a rebate clearinghouse for numerous companies.
Even though CompUSA's name is attached to the rebate, it's simply to identify where the product was purchased, Brungardt said.
It turns out that rebates are a business in themselves, often handled by a separate company if not by a manufacturer.
However, Brungardt said CompUSA has an agreement with its manufacturers that customers can send in copies of sales receipts -- instead of the actual receipts themselves, as often is required -- for rebate offers.
If a manufacturer rejects a copy, he said to call the 1-800-COMPUSA number for help.
To GTE Hawaiian Tel. When requesting that your name be taken off their long-distance carrier, their representative asks: 1. If you own your own house. 2. If you are married. 3. Your Social Security number. 4. If you are working, for whom. Such information should be on the application form for telephone service. -- No name
(Personal questions are asked for two reasons -- security and accuracy, said GTE Hawtel spokesman Keith Kamisugi. The information is used to verify a caller's identity to prevent "slamming," or the unauthorized change in a customer's long-distance provider, he said.)
("We also ask those questions to ensure that our records are complete and accurate," he said. He maintains that asking such questions "actually helps us to serve our customers better.")
My 77-year-old father was hit by a car near Windward Mall as he headed for home on Dec. 10. He lost consciousness, and the events following his accident are unknown to him. Shortly after, a young lady visited him in the hospital. Dad was unavailable, but she left a poinsettia and a card, explaining she had stopped to help.
Dad was being taken care of, but she stayed to pray for him. Her lovely thoughts and act of kindness touched my father's heart. He wanted to write her, but could not locate this "angel." Dad then wanted to write a thank you through Kokua Line, but could not do it right away. A month later, at my Bible study, someone mentioned her name -- Erin Matuse, a student teacher at Holomua Elementary in Ewa Beach. Dad attributes his survival and recovery to her.
P.S. There is another angel out there. Mahalo also to the lady who brought a pillow and blanket to my Dad. -- On behalf of my father, Stanley Wong
To the kind young gentleman who picked up the breakfast check at Columbia Inn on Jan. 23 for three vacationing mainlanders. What great aloha spirit! May he be richly rewarded for his expression of generosity to three strangers. -- Billie Stemen, Phillis Bowen, Ruth Wentland
Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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