Behind the Rebate Screen

August 28, 2004
You've probably never heard of Continental Promotion Group but chances are the Scottsdale, Arizona, company has processed one or more of the rebates you've submitted from Dell, Costco and Lowe's, among many others.

The company hires independent contractors to process the hundreds of thousands of rebates that pass through its massive warehouse. Most of them are entry-level employees, many working from home, for what insiders say is eight and a half cents per entry.

A Phoenix television station, KPHO-TV, recently aired a series of reports highlighting problems at the company. In those reports, former CPG employee Shaniqua Pritchet said her job was to review resubmissions by consumersr whose rebates had been denied.

"90 percent of the time there's no reason why they shouldn't have gotten their rebate," Pritchet said. "There are way, way too many errors."

One of KPHO-TV's undercover reporters went through a CPG training session for home data processors.

Chairman and CEO: Samuel S. (Sam) Garvin
VP International Sales: Rick Baer
VP Marketing: Mike Leonard

7405 E. Monte Cristo Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: 480-606-9300
Fax: 480-554-9838
In an audio clip recorded by the reporter, an instructor says: "While you're at home and doing your data entry, you get to decide at the same time if they've jumped through all the proper hoops and they're going to get their check or if they're going to get the nasty reject letter."

Continental Promotion Group attorney Brian Hatch told KPHO-TV the company is committed to make sure customers get the money they deserve. He said minor mistakes by the homeworkers do not necessarily slow down the rebate.

"The mispelling of a name might be in some ways a mistake, but it sure doesn't affect the ability of that check to be delivered, or for the consumer to cash it at their bank," Hatch said.

While Continental Promotion Group, Inc. may be paying its homeworkers mere pennies per transaction, it reportedly has earnings of more than $500 million. Its founder, Samuel Garvin, recently donated $60 million to the Thunderbird School of International Management in Phoenix.

The company says it "offers consumer promotional services such as rebates, sweepstakes, and other fulfillment solutions." It handles clients in 18 countries and six languages.

Advice from the insiders? Keep copies of everything -- receipt, rebate form, etc. If you're denied your rebate, complain loudly and often. You should complain not only to the rebate processor but also to the retailer or direct marketer.

If you're still denied your rebate, you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and your state's attorney general.

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