It’s been a week since Live.com kicked off its 40% Cash Back on HP products Black Friday promotion and things just went from bad to worse. On Monday a Microsoft spokesperson told CNet that there would be a do-over so customers who couldn’t access the HP store via Live.com ads on Black Friday could receive the deals they were promised. I’ve just learned from an inside source that Microsoft will NOT be be rerunning the promotion in any way, shape or form.
A Microsoft spokesperson was quoted by CNet as saying:
“We deeply regret customer inconvenience with respect to the outage,” Microsoft said in a statement provided to CNET News. “The spike in traffic in combination with a technical glitch led to the outage. The promotion will restart in the next day or so. Again, we apologize for our customers’ inconvenience.”
But today Microsoft will officially announce that they will not be restarting the promotion…ever.
This means all of the HP customers that spent hours trying to access the Cash Back deal, but couldn’t get past the CAPTCHA screen to activate the discount are out of luck. Those that received the elusive 3% discount will get the full discount by the end of this weekend, but based on Microsoft’s promises I’m not holding my breath.
I did receive my 40% Cash Back notice yesterday, but this leaves a bad taste in my mouth to say the least. Hundreds of Notebooks.com readers have commented that they had difficulties with this promotion and skipped other Black Friday deals in favor of this one. Those who didn’t at least get the 3% discount and ordered their products anyways will need to return the products to HP unless they want to pay full price. I advise you to re-order through one of HPs other promotions as they are having a Holiday sale where you can probably get a better deal using coupons (the Live.com promo forbade the use of coupons).
UPDATE: This is the official blog post I mentioned was coming
from Rajat at Microsoft. I used to work in the PR world and releasing bad news when reporters/customers are ready to pack it in for the weekend is a common damage-control tactic. Nice move guys. Here’s the text from the blog post. As you can imagine there are some unhappy customers commenting over at MSDN:
Update on the Black Friday cashback outage
Posted Friday, December 05, 2008 5:01 PM by livesearch
We want to apologize again for the outage on Friday and the inconvenience it has caused. We deeply regret that many users were unable to access the Live Search cashback service.
We’ve been working diligently to correct the issues. We’ve been in constant communication with the customer support team about those orders that were incorrectly processed, and we have now reached out to all affected customers whose email addresses and purchase details we have on file. These customers should see the correct cashback amount reflected in their accounts by the end of the weekend.
There have been lots of questions on whether the 40% off HP promotion on Black Friday will be restarted. While we were hoping to be able to do that, we are sorry to report that it will not be restarted.
If there are any remaining customers whose cashback purchases haven’t yet been acknowledged via email, whether from HP or any other merchant, we invite them to contact us at email@example.com with their order number and email address. We are committed to responding to all remaining inquiries within 48 hours and to ensuring the appropriate cashback amounts are credited for all eligible purchases.
Wishing you a stress-free remainder of your holiday shopping season,
Rajat Taneja, General Manager, Worldwide Commercial Search