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Consumer Alert

Stay on top of companies to get promised rebates

Q. In June I took advantage of a promotion offered by Comcast. The deal was that if I switched my [cell] phone service to Verizon and bought a new smartphone I would get a $100 gift card. I was told it would take 8 to 10 weeks to get the gift card. After 10 weeks, I hadn’t received my gift card. I checked and was told the process was supposed to take 10 to 12 weeks. In week 13, I was told it would be another three to four weeks. They went from 8 to 10 weeks to 16 to 17 weeks. Can you help me get the $100 gift card I was promised and warn others who signed up for this that they might need to follow up.

MARSHALL FELDMAN, BROOKLINE

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A. Glad to help and happy to warn.

This is hardly an isolated case, but is a good example of the downside to offers that involve getting a later reward.

Adding a step for a consumer to get a promised incentive — whether it’s a gift card or rebate or anything else — means if you have to apply, many won’t. And even if you do, some will be disqualified for various reasons while others fall into some mysterious crack.

It’s not clear what happened here, but shortly after I brought the situation to Comcast’s attention, your frustrating wait for the $100 gift card ended.

“We’re looking into what could have caused this unfortunate delay,” Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman said. “Meanwhile, we have reached out to this customer to apologize for the inconvenience, and he now has the gift card that was promised. Customers with similar concerns can call 1-866-347-2229.”

The message here is if you do have to wait for a rebate or reward for a purchase, you’re well served to keep a copy of all receipts and the form you submitted. You should also make a calendar note of when you’re due to receive it. If you’ve made a purchase with the promise of getting $100 — or any other compensation — down the road, stay on top of it. Make sure you get it rather than donating it to the company.

Mitch Lipka has been helping consumers out of jams for the past two decades. He lives in Worcester and also writes the Consumer Alert blog on Boston.com. Mitch can be reached at ConsumerNews@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @mitchlipka.
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