Back in January of this year, Staples had a rebate offer for McAfee Antivirus Basic 1 PC. The software was selling for $39.99 but Staples offered a rebate of $39.98 which brings the price down to a penny. The terms stated a limit of 10 rebates per household.
The following week, Staples came up with a separate rebate offer for the same software, only this time, the limit was 1 per household.
I happened to have several Staples gift cards that I got at 15% discount on eBay and paid for with eBay gift cards that I got at about 10% discount. Stacked together with portal cashback, credit card points, and Staples Rewards, this was indeed a moneymaker.
Of course, that was much easier said than done. When I actually made the purchases (one for 10 copies and another for 1 copy) and tried submitting the rebates online, I came across a few hiccups. The second rebate offer (the one for 1 copy) went through fine, but for the first rebate offer (the one for 10 copies), I kept getting a “missing UPC code” error but Staples gave me a tracking number anyway. Well, there’s no UPC code because this was a downloadable copy. I tried submitting the rebate several times but all resulted in the same error and a new tracking number.
This has happened in the past with other rebates and yet, I still got the rebate in the mail eventually. I figured I’d wait and see, so I waited. And waited. And waited some more because I was quite busy and didn’t have time to chase this rebate down.
Finally, last month, I got tired of waiting and contacted Staples chat support to ask about my two rebates. The rep was able to find the second rebate (the one for 1 copy) and help move it along. However, he couldn’t find the first rebate (the one for 10 copies) despite me giving him like 5 different rebate tracking numbers. He told me to email the rebate support instead, which I did, 6 times! Each time, I included all the details including date of purchase, purchase receipt, and rebate details, and each time, the incompetent reps would respond telling me I didn’t qualify, each with a different reason which were all nonsense.
First reply telling me I already received the rebate:
Second reply not reading my email and stating the wrong rebate offer:
Third reply not reading my email and stating the wrong rebate terms & conditions:
Fourth reply not reading my email (I provided all the tracking numbers for them already):
Fifth reply not reading my email (I provided them everything they asked for, except for the missing UPC code which doesn’t exist):
Sixth reply telling me to reach out to them via chat:
Each email exchange took several days with a different person responding each time. With every reply, I was getting increasingly frustrated because none of the reps were reading my email, looking at my purchase receipt, or looking at the right rebate terms. The terms and conditions on the first rebate offer clearly stated that I qualify for the 10 rebates per household because I purchased the software during the promotional time period.
In the end, I went back to chat support which was what I did initially! It took “only” an hour over chat for the rep to finally lookup the correct rebate offer, but this time, he said he didn’t have a copy of my purchase receipt despite the fact that I had emailed the receipt to them 6 times already!
I was just about ready to hurl profanity at my computer screen when the rep told me he was able to submit a new rebate request for me – for all 10 copies – and that I should be receiving the rebate in a few weeks.
Well, several weeks later — four months after my initial purchase — I finally received both rebates this week. The rebates were Visa prepaid gift cards totaling $439.78.
Here’s the math:
- McAfee Antivirus Software: 11 x $39.98 = $439.78 (paid with Staples gift cards)
- Gift card discounts
- Staples gift cards @ 15% discount from eBay: $439.78 x 0.85 = $373.81 (paid with eBay gift cards)
- eBay gift cards @ 10% discount: $373.81 x 0.9 = $336.43
- Portal, rebates, rewards
- Staples Rewards: $5
- Topcashback @ 1.1%: $439.78 x 0.011 = $4.83
- eBay Bucks: $439.78 x 0.02 = $8.80
- Rebate received: $439.78
- Total Out of pocket
- $336.43 – $5 – $4.83 – $8.80 = $317.80
- Total Profit: $439.78 – $317.80 = $121.98 + 11 copies of software for free
Given that I almost lost my mind getting my rebates, I’m not sure I want to do another Staples rebates again… but this was a story I felt compelled to tell. It’s one of the costs of manufactured spending, gift card churning, and reselling – MAJOR TIME SUCK dealing (and arguing) with customer support when something doesn’t go as expected! What a lie to call their rebate center Staples Easy Rebates!
Giving away 8 copies of McAfee Antivirus Software (PC)
Now that the rebate is taken care of, what to do with the 11 copies of the McAfee? I kept and installed one copy on my desktop computer and sold two copies for $5 each. I still have 8 copies that I’ll be giving away (this is for Windows only), so if you’re interested in a copy, please submit an entry below by Sunday 6/5 8PM PST. I’ll randomly select 8 people from all the entries and email the software download information + registration key.
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