NY Better Business Bureau: CyberRebate Unsatisfactory

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The Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York has given e-tailer CyberRebate.com an unsatisfactory rating after it received 73 consumer complaints in the past year.

Consumers' primary complaints include nondelivery of ordered merchandise and "failure to provide refunds or adjustments." CyberRebate is an e-tailer that offers exclusive rebates of up to 100 percent of the retail price for its products.

Joel Granick, CEO of CyberRebate, Cedarhurst, NY, said the unsatisfactory rating is unfair because the number of complaints is a small percentage of the order volume. "The BBB needs to do a little more looking into the number of complaints, relative to size," he said.

In business since 1998, CyberRebate has grown from a home-based business to one with 80 employees and $120 million in revenue last year. PC Data recently rated it the seventh-largest e-commerce site, with about 8 million users. Meanwhile, consumer complaints -- both to the BBB and to the company -- have not increased over three years.

Granick acknowledged that the company has gone through "some growing pains" with its tremendous growth over the past three years, but he said CyberRebate's customer service system is now very efficient.

"We've created a customer service department that answers every e-mail that comes in our doors ... to help resolve problems right away," he said. "That has not been the case from the beginning."

The growing pains included an investigation by the New York attorney general's office last summer because of consumer complaints that rebates were received later than promised and that the firm did not respond to inquiries about the status of rebates. After paying $40,000 to cover the attorney general's investigation, CyberRebate also promised to ensure that rebates are provided in the advertised time and that customers could check the status of their rebates via e-mail.

CyberRebate has since implemented a tracking system so customers can see when their checks were sent. Granick said some customers who complain do not check first with the system.

In addition, some customers complain because they have misconceptions about when they will receive their rebate checks. The site states that they will receive their checks 10 to 14 weeks after they submit their rebates. Some customers complain when they believe the check is late; in actuality, they may have submitted the rebate a month or more after they purchased the product, Granick said.

Meanwhile, BizRate.com customers give CyberRebate fairly high ratings, such as 8.9 out of 10 for on-time delivery and 9.4 for shipping and handling

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