Sony backs out of cashback for Bitterwallet reader
You may remember the cashback promotion ran by Sony in November. Just in case you don't, the gist of it was that Sony (and retailers) would give cashback to customers who bought particular Sony products - an amount equivalent to the VAT paid.
The issue we unearthed at the time was that while Sony were paying the cashback, the retailers increased the price of qualifying products overnight - in some instances, prices were raised by the exact amount that the customer could claim back. Once this was realised by customers, a potentially generous offer appeared to be little more than a shoddy marketing rip-off.
Well, now it's February and that offer is all done and dusted, as avid Bitterwallet reader Tom has only just discovered:
SONY has decided not to pay out to me, after I bought a Sony Bravia TV in John Lewis on 13 December. I posted all paperwork off on 14th December. I received a letter from sony on 26th February saying they were sorry but I'd claimed outside the offer, which ended 31st January.
The Sony rep told me they received the application on 2nd February, and that wasn’t a coincidence it was just two days after closure as they dealt with applications daily. When I pointed out that it took until 17th February to print the dated letter, they had no reply other than to say her manager agreed it was not their problem that Royal Mail took six weeks to deliver the mail!
I have been stung for £61. Never be tempted by these offers unless you want to spend extra money on special delivery every time.
It's absolutely true that the Winter weather delayed thousands or items of mail for a silly amount of time - we've seen reports of Christmas cards only just been delivered in the past week. In this instance, however, Tom very much had all the evidence to prove he complied by Sony's conditions; at the very least, the receipt included with his claim would have been dated by John Lewis, and there's every chance the letter was franked with last year's date.
Unfortunately Sony has deleted all trace of the promotion's terms and conditions from its website, so it's impossible to say exactly what the wording was. Regardless, Sony no doubt used the weather as an excuse for the late delivery of goods throughout December. Faced with a claim for £62 from a customer who paid several hundred pounds in good faith, it's disappointing that Sony won't honour his claim as a goodwill gesture.
A badly executed marketing promotion followed by pernickety, mean customer service - must try harder, Sony.