(Posted Friday 1-23-2004) When I went to Fry's Electronics in Phoenix, AZ in mid October of 2003 I'd been forewarned about buying anything from their store that had any kind of rebate attached to it. Personally I've never had any problems with (the mailing of) rebates but looking back now I wish that I'd of taken the advice given. This is my story and if you don't want to get ripped off by Fry's Electronics I'd advise you learn from this experience:

On Saturday October 11th 2003 I purchased two items from a Fry's Electronics store. The first was a phone that had a $10 mail in rebate and the second was a 50 pack of CDR burnable CD's. The latter also had a mail in rebate for $5. Both items were purchased way within the time frame given for the rebates validity and both rebates were mailed within 96 hours of purchase.

Firstly I've got to say here that it's completely beyond my intelligence how a company conducts its business by asking its customers to wait up to THREE MONTHS for the return of the rebate check. Two weeks I can understand, a month is pushing it, six weeks is a total insult but 12 weeks, come on? Anyhow both rebates were sent to two different addresses in two different States. The CDR rebate was meant to be back at my home within eight weeks and the phone rebate, (as stated above,) three months.

By January 8th 2004, 'THREE MONTHS LATER' neither rebate had come back. I must add here that in my 13 years of living in the United States I've never lost one piece of mail and all mail that I've known of, that was on its way to me either within the United States or from overseas has NEVER gone missing.. Delayed maybe, due to 9/11 or nearer the Holidays for example, but the odds of both pieces of mail going missing to two different locations, sent from two different mail boxes on two different days in my opinion isn't a mail issue. I believe both pieces arrived and we're dealing with bull sh*t here.

Their policy is for you or I to waste another 74 cents and mail a letter to both rebate stations to inquire about the status of each rebate. Sorry but if a company can't get something mailed off to you in the time frame mentioned above (and from two different locations might I add,) then I feel that I'm dealing with complete incompetence here and wasting more of my time and money on a company like this is suicide. So forget it!

Disgusted by their performance and uselessness I filed three complaints with the Better Business Bureau (known as the 'CAB' - Citizens Advice Bureau in the UK) in early January of 2004. On Friday January 16th, I got a letter back from Fry's Electronics in the Bay Area in CA. I was asked to fax them what I'd originally sent to both rebate centers (in the mail). So I faxed them the original photocopy of the rebate form that I'd filled out (before mailing) and my rebate receipt from the stores cash register (both of which I'd photocopied before I mailed out both letters in October of 2003) along with my BBB letter and a hand written letter of disgust to them.

I also mentioned in my (hand written) faxed letter to them that if I didn't hear back from BOTH rebate centers by Monday 1-26-04 (giving them nine days to act) then I'd be contacting Consumer Affairs next, followed by both States' Attorney Generals.

On Wednesday January 21st I emailed Fry's Electronics Customer Support requesting a phone/fax/email number/addresses of the CEO of Fry's stating that I'd like to personally talk to him or her before I got in touch with Consumer Affairs. Hearing nothing back, on Friday January 23rd I emailed them again. By this point I'd found an alternative email address for Fry's customer support so I contacted them also. (MIGHT I ADD BY "MONDAY MAY 10TH," 2004 I'VE STILL HAD NO REPLY TO EITHER EMAIL?)

On Monday January 26th, 2004 after hearing nothing back from Fry's via the BBB, the phone, by mail or email and having given them NINE DAYS to act, (as said) I then filed a complaint with Consumer Affairs.

I'm not saying don't buy anything from Fry's Electronics, I'm simply forewarning future customers out there to 'be prepared to get ripped off' and never see your money again if you decide to buy anything from them and expect to get a rebate check back. If I hear anything at all from Fry's I'll update this page, but if I don't, which I don't expect to, then assume that I got ripped off fair and square by TWO different Fry's Electronics Rebate Centers.

I'd appreciate any feedback from others out there who may have had a similar experience? I say this as once you start to do the calculations here Fry's Electronics could be withholding thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars which isn't theirs! What a nice way to make money ha? Gain a customer's trust by advertising a rebate, this entices the consumer to buy and we never see the $5 or $10 (or maybe more) again. That certainly adds up to whole lot of money when you consider a few thousand customers here and there!

Complaint filed with the California Attorney General Bill Lockyer for his staff to review on Thursday 1-29-2004.

Thanks for your reading, Johnny Anderson.

I've gone to since posting this and it seems there are MANY dissatisfied customers out there who have previously shopped at Fry's. What a joke for a company!


CONCLUSION: On Monday 3-22-04 I recieved a certified envelope containing my rebate check. Finally it had arrived after "ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE DAYS" of waiting. And this was only made possible by filing complaints with the BBB of Industry and San Jose, CA, along with the Attorney Generals office of CA and Consumer Affairs.

Another thing to add here is a week ago Fry's Electronics asked the BBB if I could FAX my info to them (again); sound familiar? I replied (to the BBB) by saying that TWO MONTHS ago I'd done just that and was still waiting to hear back. I said that I had no intention of wasting my time and money yet again, with the incompetent staff of Fry's Electronics.

So in the end I waited FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS for a rebate that was supposed to take no more than 3 MONTHS. And this only came after numerous complaints were filed with organizations that were willing to help and I'm most grateful for that help, believe me.

Today is Monday 5-10-04 and I've still had no response whatsoever from any of the 3 emails that I sent to Fry's Electronics on 1-21 and 1-23-04 where I requested the CEO's information. This company in my opinion IS the epitome of the worst and most appalling customer service that's out there in the United States today.

There's an old saying and I think it fits in very appropriately here; AVOID FRY'S ELECTRONICS LIKE THE PLAGUE! Thanks for reading, Johnny Anderson.

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