Sony backs out of cashback for Bitterwallet reader

2 March 2011

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.


  • questioneverything
    Ouch. That's bad customer service, can see this picking up steam and hitting major news outlets if there's enough customers stiffed by $ony
  • Gunn
    Surely a proof of posting receipt from the post office would be enough evidence to prove you posted on time.
  • the2ocan
    Agreed, proof of purchase should be enough for Sony to pay up. I opted for Special Delivery as it only cost a couple of pound, which I thought was well worth it!
  • Idi A.
    Len! Let us feel your mano dura!
  • zax
    Fool should have at least used 1st class Recorded!
  • kfcws
    There is a case law with regards to this scenario. I know that the company lost, as the customer had complied with the advert and it's claims. Can't remember the case though
  • kfcws
    Found it....
  • Simon
    I've found the T&C's - It says '11. Proof of posting will not be accepted as proof of receipt. No responsibility can be accepted for claim forms lost, damaged or delayed in transit.' looks like they covered themselfs.
  • Brad
    I can never take offers like the Sony one seriously just for this exact reason, it all to east for them 2 months down the line to just give it aload of old bollocks and wriggle out of it.
  • Mark
    Had the same problem a few years back with the Microsoft HD-DVD drive offer of free films. Filled in all the paperwork and sent in the correct receipts but all I got was a letter back saying that I had not meet the terms and conditions. Tried contacting them but was just told the promotion had ended and they would not do anything about it.
  • MattWPBS
    Sony promo web page: Sony Ts&Cs: "5. All claim forms should be received by midnight on 31 January 2011. No claim forms will be accepted after this date."
  • Anon
    Sony: What a bunch of tossers! I'd treat "cashback" schemes like this with the contempt that it deserves.
  • tplatts98
    the terms can still be found here
  • Alexis
    I've never ever had a letter take 6 weeks to arrive anywhere in my life.
  • JD64
    I popped into my family home to see my dad just before Christmas and he keeps any post that still gets sent there for me. There was one quite battered letter that looked quite official so i opened it up and it was a contract from Brent and Harrow Council for my work experience. I am 30 so couldn't figure it out as why would I be doing work experience? Looking in more detail the letter had been sent 12 years ago?! At secondary school I did work experience with these guys. I can walk door to door between the 2 buildings in 40 mins!! Where was it in that time!? Perhaps it is like the film Event Horizon?
  • Boris
    If you have the time and patience stick a bit of wire in the set and let it do itself in. Retrieve wire and get Sony to fix it under warrantee. Do it again. Complain about an intermittent fault. Get money back and buy a new, better, cheaper set. I hear Sony’s are OK for the money.
  • George
    Have you tried Royal Mail for financial compensation?
  • Matt
    I got my cash back. I sent the letter on 27th Dec... Sony sent the reply on 3rd Feb (over a month later!) to say they had received. BACS was received on 20th Feb... Not the fastest turn around ever!
  • tightarsedbod
    The flip side to the story is Bitterwallet reader Tom DID save himself the 74p for the recorded delivery. So a little win there then.
  • CharlieSheen
    @tightarsedbod As Charlie Sheen says... save 79p.. WINNING !
  • muuuuuurg
    I believe Sony are in breach of Contract as the contract was formed when the letter was posted and not when received - This goes back to Household fire insurance company vs Grant 1879 -
  • Monkey
    Very poor show of Sony. Clearly they can see that all the paperwork was in order, and as the post delay wasn't the direct fault of their "valued" customer, or indeed wasn't any individuals fault at all, more an infrastructure matter, you'd have thought that they would have applied some common sense. Very disappointing Sony. I am actually in the market for a new TV but guess what, Sony, you've just lost a sale!
  • DeDe
    Sony/Comet just have done me too. Bought a Sony TV before Christmas with £150 Cashback offer. Was told by the Comet Employee that I need to DO NOTHING, but wait for Sony to send me a form to receive the Cashback, to fill it in, then Cashback would come in post. Coming to pay off the TV in full now, I query its about time Sony send me the form as I want it all tied up together. Oh no, Comet say the offer has expired NO CAN DO. I explain everything 3 times to 3 different people, but they just say NO. Swines, logically, why would anyone give up £150. I was given no leaflet in shop, was able to read no literature at the time, was just TOLD by a Comet employee and trusted him.

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