On Your Side: Tech Video Card Trouble
I bought a BFG Tech video card at a Fry's Electronics store and submitted a rebate claim. BFG rejected it, seemingly because the barcode on my box doesn't match the one associated with the rebate. On BFG's site, the barcode on the video card's spec sheet doesn't match the barcode on my box. So all video cards sold with the same packaging as mine are excluded from the rebate. Is this due to a packaging mistake, a documentation mistake, or a mistake on the rebate form?
Eric Bousset, Dublin, California
OYS responds: We contacted BFG about Bousset's issue. A company representative told us that it had first set up the rebate offer for a similar model and then changed it, but that Fry's had posted the rebate offer before getting BFG's update. She also said BFG's rebate company was going back through the submissions and honoring the claims for both models. Bousset has received his $10 rebate.
If a company unfairly rejects your rebate claim, call it. With the right documentation, you may be able to prove that the company made a mistake. By bringing an issue to a company's attention, you give it a chance to correct its error-not only for you, but for other customers as well.
Bill Holleman of Stone Mountain, Georgia, contacted us after he ordered a warranty replacement for a failing hard drive in his daughter's HP Pavilion laptop. An HP customer service agent told Holleman that he had three days to ship the bad hard drive to HP, or he would be charged for the new drive. Under this tight deadline, Holleman paid a local computer service company $49 to remove the old drive. He asked HP to reimburse the $49, but it refused, saying that he needed preauthorization.
An HP rep told us that Holleman should have been told he had 15 days-not 3-to return the defective part. She also noted that HP's limited warranty stipulates that customers can bring defective products to an authorized service provider, but that HP won't pay for work done by shops not authorized by the company. Nevertheless, HP did reimburse Holleman.
We recommend getting a list of authorized repair shops from the vendor when you need to have warranty repairs done. Also, if a customer service rep gives you an unreasonable deadline for returning parts, ask to speak to a supervisor to verify that the information is correct.
Recalled Audio Receivers
Niles Audio, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has recalled about 3800 ZR-6 MultiZone Receivers. A failure in the receiver's internal components can cause connected loudspeakers to overheat, posing a fire hazard. Niles has received three reports of connected loudspeakers overheating, but no injuries have been reported. Consumers should stop using the recalled receivers and contact Niles for a free repair kit. For details, call Niles at 800/667-3991, visit the company's Website, e-mail the firm at ZR6Info@nilesaudio.com, or write to Niles Audio Corp., Attention: ZR-6 Recall, 12331 SW 130th St., Miami, FL 33186.