To kick off the holiday shopping season Microsoft’s Live.com offered customers 40% off HP products on Black Friday. Unfortunately, most Black Friday shoppers who tried to take advantage of the deal were faced with failed Microsoft servers and various tracking issues that prevented them from actually receiving the 40% credit. The fun’s not over yet though.
Now that it’s actually time for customers who were able to participate in the 40% CashBack promo, some are finding out that their purchases are ineligble and and there’s not much they can do.
The Live.com Black Friday meltdown cost partners, such as HP, millions and caused many shoppers to miss out on other Black Friday deals. If you want to read more about the promo and reader’s frustrations check out our original post about the Live.com CashBack offer here.
In the fine print of Live.com’s CashBack terms of service, users are warned they will not receive CashBack if other discounts or coupons are applied. In almost all cases, the 40% offer trumped whatever other promos HP was offering on Black Friday.
When HP customers who were participating in Live.com’s CashBack promo redeemed coupons their CashBack accounts were credited and marked with as “Pending.” But now that these credits are eligible for redemption, users are getting emails notifying them that their purchases are ineligible for CashBack because they used HP coupons.
HP’s return period for holiday purchases has long since expired. This means their stuck with hardware and a total cost that’s 40% more than what they were expecting. Surely Microsoft could have notified HP customers within 30 days whether or not their purchases were eligible.
In many cases the coupons redeemed by customers were worth a small fraction of the 40% in savings they expected. As you can read in several posts on Notebooks.com, Microsoft completely botched the handling of its Black Friday promos in just about every imaginable way.
The least Microsoft could do is be a little lenient and credit HP customers who suffered through what’s got to be the worst-run Black Friday promo in history.
I was finally eligible to request my CashBack payment via PayPal and if everything goes smoothly my account should be fully credited by next week. Other HP customers are not so lucky and are receiving mixed messages from Microsoft.
Tara wrote in with her correspondence to Microsoft regarding her experience:
Dear sir or madam,
2 months ago I bought an HP laptop through live.com and was told I was eligible per an email from Live.com:
You received $429.20 from your HP Home & Home Office Store purchase on 11/29/2008:
HP Home & Home Office Store
Unit price: $1072.99
Quantity: 1 $429.20
On 1-22, I received an email stating that my $429 cashback has been canceled due to the fact that another $30 coupon was applied to the order:
Thank you for using Live Search for your online search and shopping needs. After further review of your recent HP purchase for order H105130664, we are unable to apply cashback savings for this purchase. Working with HP, we have determined that this purchase is not eligible for Live Search cashback savings because a coupon (coupon code SV2132 ) was used for the purchase.
Per the program terms, you will not earn cashback rewards on purchases where you also use a separate discount or coupon.
We have taken extra steps to confirm with HP that the program terms have not been met prior to cancelling the cashback savings. We apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment this may have caused you.
I received another on 1-26:
We want to let you know that your Live Search cashback transaction(s) listed below were updated because the store notified us that the item(s) were returned, exchanged, or canceled.
Here are the updates we received:
Purchase date cashback Updated cashback Details
11/29/2008 $429.20 $0.00 HP Home & Home Office Store
Unit price: $0.00
But it’s not been returned, exchanged or canceled. Regardless, I feel the denial of my rebate is a bit unfair. I understand that the rebate should be paid after a waiting period to ensure I didn’t return the product, but I was notified the purchase was eligible, that status remained for nearly 2 months while I assumed HP was ensuring I wouldn’t return the product, and then only after the return period had passed was I notified that I’m not eligible after all. I purchased the HP rather than another brand that I liked more based upon the 40% savings, and now it would seem I’ve not only not gotten my preferred brand, but I’ve paid more for my 2nd choice than I would have paid for my preferred brand.
Please, would you be so kind as to review and reconsider? The fact that I cannot return the computer after learning I’ll end up spending $400 more than I planned is most distressing.