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|| Member Message Board

When Canon UPC codes cost $475
Robert Leverton, Photographer
Ellicott City | MD | USA | Posted: 7:26 PM on 01.12.06
->> Canon is currently running a rebate offer that requires receipts, warranty cards, and UPC code cutouts from the product boxes. Inadvertently my wife tossed out two lens boxes. Heck they were empty and sitting on the table and looked like trash.

So here is the rub, I call Canon to see if there is anything I can do to prove that I had purchased them and still get the rebate (I have the receipt and warranty cards). NO! YOU MUST HAVE THE UPC CUTOUTS the voice robotically said. I asked “is this what Canon wants to stand by? What is written on a rebate coupon or find a way do what is right for a customer who had purchased their product.” An automaton supervisor repeated “YOU MUST HAVE THE UPC CUTOUT.”

That’s $475 in lost rebate because I don’t have the box the lenses came in. Yes, it is my fault the boxes got tossed. And yes, losing the rebate money bothers me. However, what really bothers me is the automaton responses. Canon was not interested in doing what is right for a customer who legitimately bought their product and was trying to file for the rebate. Canon simply stood by the legal mumbo jumbo.

This whole thing reminded me of the difference between good ice cream stand and a bad ice cream stand. A good ice cream stand will make you a new cone, at no cost, if walking away from the counter you trip and the ice cream goes flying onto the floor. A bad one laughs and says “You are the one responsible, it was in your hands. I don’t own you a thing!” Yeah, no kidding Canon… I know what was legal but more importantly I know what was right!

Anyone have an EF 15f2.8 lens or an EF 16-35f2.8 lens box UPC cutout? I have the 20D UPC code and have it under lock and key.
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Andrew Mo, Student/Intern, Photographer
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 7:44 PM on 01.12.06
->> There may be some listings on ebay for the kinds of empty boxes you're looking for. Just make sure the UPC code hasn't changed on these lenses over the years.
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christopher koutsis, Photographer
huntington | ny | USA | Posted: 3:45 AM on 01.13.06
->> Just write up a bill and give it to your wife...I'm sure she'll understand ;)
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david pardo, Student/Intern, Photographer
Walnut | ca | USA | Posted: 4:10 AM on 01.13.06
->> sucks to hear about your story.
You have to call a different number in order to get your rebate money. I had lost 2 warranty cards for the triple rebate they had last year, and it was a huge mess. But after making several phone calls, A canon representative was able to send me my warranty replacement cards. I don't remeber the number, but i delt with a person every time.

Also, it won't do you any good to get a box with a UPC code on it. Canon matches the serial numbers listed on your recipt and warranty card which also has to match the serial number on the UPC sticker. Actually, that's why Canon is making it so difficult, because Anyone can buy a new lens, make copies of everything, take the lens back and get rebate money. So that's why Canon wants the UPC code in stead of a simple cutout that says "Canon". I hope this helps.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer, Photo Editor
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 6:47 AM on 01.13.06
->> ...and while I am not a lawyer, it's my understanding that getting a different box would be fraud. You are not meeting Cannon's conditions, you would be trying to misrepresent something else (another box) as one of the required items for the rebate. Once again, the difference between "legal" and "right" is a dubious one...but pretty clear. Don't do it.
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Lancaster | OH | USA | Posted: 8:29 AM on 01.13.06
->> On a related note ... I submitted the voluminous paperwork for a couple of Canon rebates in November. Any chance I'll get them before I retire?
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Mike Brice, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 9:14 AM on 01.13.06
->> I'll have to say, that's one thing about Nikon, always received my rebates within just a couple weeks. Although I did also have to submit the UPC code on the box.
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Brett Beier, Photographer
Kalamazoo | MI | USA | Posted: 10:41 AM on 01.13.06
->> Here's something to try... since you have the warranty cards just not the upc codes, try to send it in anyways... then when Canon denies the claim for those two items, they'll send you a card in the mail with a way to try to get it cleared up. Call the number and see if there is any way to get it to go through (if you get a copy of the UPC barcode from the place you bought the lenses from even if it isn't the same box). Maybe by that time, Canon will realize that you did in fact purchase it and come good with the money. I would hope that no matter what you are at least going to get the $100 for the 20D. Just one more thing to keep in mind... and hopefully EVERYONE does this... make copies of ALL items submitted for rebates... its the only recourse that we have against the companies if they say they didn't get everything.
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Robert Oliver, Photographer
San Diego (Oceanside) | CA | USA | Posted: 10:48 AM on 01.13.06
->> more like a $475 lesson.
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William Jurasz, Photographer, Assistant
Cedar Park | TX | USA | Posted: 11:17 AM on 01.13.06
->> Robert, sorry to hear your woes but your ice cream store analogy is not quite valid. The store owner actually hands you the cone and sees you fall. There is no doubt in his mind about what happened. How is Canon to know you honestly have that product and have not received a rebate for that product already (i.e. double-dipping)? Would the store owner still offer you a free cone if you tripped around the corner out of his sight?
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Robert Leverton, Photographer
Ellicott City | MD | USA | Posted: 12:38 PM on 01.13.06
->> I have credit card receipts, store owners who will vouch I bought the items, etc. Having been to law school, I can see William is the kind of person who only believes in direct evidence and not circumstantial evidence. However, trust me on this, a person can be convicted of murder based on circumstantial evidence alone. The evidence I have, while circumstantial, is more then sufficient to convince a reasonable person that I purchased said items.

As for the accusation of fraud should I submit a UPC code from other then the box the lenses came in. Not true, the "intent" of the rebate is for a customer who purchased x product during x period. I don't suspect Canon is paying people for UPC codes printed on cardboard. Thus, fraud would not attach. This is similar to me signing my wife’s name on x document with her permission. Fraud has not been committed. However, this is a photography forum and not law journal so lets drop the legal hypotheses.

Bottom line: My beef is that Canon did not demonstrate goodwill towards it customer (me). Now I am telling members about how Canon treated one of their customers when something did not fall neatly within the lines of everyday business. I'm not going to dump the $30k worth of Canon gear I own because they shorted me on a rebate. (Hint: Again, it’s not about the money). However, I will no longer tell people Canon is a great company. Perhaps I'll start saying good things about Canon again in the future when a service tech goes above and beyond for me on a repair and renews my faith in the company as customer oriented.
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Alex Menendez, Photographer
Orlando | FL | USA | Posted: 1:43 PM on 01.13.06
->> The problem I have with the whole UPC deal is that they make you cut it off of the outside of the box itself. why don't they include a UPC in the packaging ifself so that all of the empty boxes you put into storage don't have a whole in one side of the box? The boxes that you do cut are so thick that you practically have to destroy it to get the UPC anyway and when you decide to resell the lens to upgrade to a new one, you can't sell the lens with the original packaging.
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Jason Chan, Photographer, Student/Intern
Temple City | CA | USA | Posted: 1:46 PM on 01.13.06
->> come on guys, I was trying to read sportsshooter so that I could get AWAY from my law school've already got me started thinking about new hypos based on the facts and now I've run out of time...back to homework.
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Michael Hickey, Photographer
Kokomo | IN | United States | Posted: 2:08 PM on 01.13.06
->> I believe Canon farms out the rebate system to a company that handles other company's rebate programs, although bottom line it's Canon, a lot of the details may have been handled and set up by a different company.
Good luck.
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William Jurasz, Photographer, Assistant
Cedar Park | TX | USA | Posted: 2:31 PM on 01.13.06
->> Robert I take offense to suggesting I don't believe in circumstantial evidence and I am well aware that circumstantial evidence is often times stronger than eye witness evidence, etc. yawn. And yes, OJ is guilty. Your argument about reciepts and vouchers from store employees does not address what I said about how double-dipping. Having the customer send in a cardboard UPC code from the box is a simple, effective and cost efficient means of keeping that from happening.

But as you say lets drop the legal discussion. The rebate has certain rules. Canon owns the sandbox so they set the rules. You cannot oblige to the rules and therefore you don't get the rebate. Why the big surprise? Why should any of us be surprised?
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 6:24 PM on 01.13.06
->> As Michael stated, it's very rare that a company handles their own rebate fulfillment. There are several large companies that handle all of the processing, verification (along with fraud detection), and check cutting/mailing for the bulk of product makers. One major one is A.C. Nielsen (yep, same as the TV people). If your rebate goes to El Paso, TX... that's Nielsen. They actually ship your rebate off to nearby Mexico for keying. The town of Young America, MN effective IS the fulfillment company of Young America.

Companies like to use rebates instead of coupons for one reason alone: It's cheaper because they know that X% of consumers will fail to meet the "performance" criteria of the rebate offer. Some people forget to mail it in time (or forget about it all together), some people lose the receipt, others lose the UPCs. It's basically a gamble... Canon is betting you $475 that you won't be able to meet the terms of their offer. Expect them to show you no mercy if you fail. Mail it one day after the deadline, "Sorry, you lose!" The fact that you actually bought the item is irrelevant. They don't care. I lost a big fat check for a flatbed scanner once for this exact reason.

Rebate fraud is also a cottage industry in America. You wouldn't believe the amount of it that goes on. There are actually people that attend UPC code and rebate form "swap meets" and own their own cash registers in order to crank out bogus receipts. Fulfillment houses have sophisticated systems that attempt to catch fraudelent submissions. These often consist of systems that detect people that use variations of addresses and names to avoid detection.

The UPC code also performs another major security feature for the maker... It's the best defense against someone claiming a rebate and returning the product.

So go ahead and give it a try, I realize that this isn't a tube of Crest tooth paste... but knowing how the rebate game works, I think your chances of being SOL is around 90%.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 6:51 PM on 01.13.06
->> "I think your chances of being SOL is around 90%"

I think Geoff is being generous. I have it at about 97.35%.

His explanation is why nearly all big-box companies like Best Buy, Staples, and other use mail-in rebates to entice buyers instead of coupons in today's market. It is by far the most convenient method to entice discount seeking buyers to purchase items at full price and know that only 48%-62% of the buyers will actually complete the rebate process properly. The rebate system is a very effective system in increasing bottom lines compared to offering coupons to generate sales.

Really I'm quite surprised this hasn't caught on in the event photography marketplace. Probably this genre more so than an other in our industry would be ideal to use a similar marketing technique.

Here is the scenerio:
The last day of a multi-day event offering 8x10 normally priced 8x10 or 5x7 prints at 30% or 50% off. The customer buys the prints paying the normal price and is handed a receipt along with a rebate card that has to be mailed to the company. The rebate must be redeemed with in 30 days of the event with a copy of the receipt, the card, and a photocopy of each image purchased.

Estimated redemption rate would probably be in the upper 20% max. Who is going to take the time to find a place to have each image copied? How many of the rebate cards would actually make it home with the client? How many of those buyers would not remember until after the deadline to submit the rebate because of their normally hectic lifestyle along with shuffling junior(s) from practice, games, and other tournaments.

Of course then there is the obvious - how many parents who purchased $200 or more worth of prints who lost both the receipt and rebate card would call asking to have the rebate honored because the lost or threw away the required documentation?

The real opportunity would be for an enterprising individual to create a rebate clearing house for all event photographers who used this system. Hmmmm . . . may be I need to patent this idea (see
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Robert Leverton, Photographer
Ellicott City | MD | USA | Posted: 7:45 PM on 01.13.06
->> OK, I hear you all. So what is the score? Big companies 9932232 to the customer’s 2? Seems like a lopsided game, but I love the underdog and will continue this with Canon, as I did today.

No luck with Canon today, they tried to quickly pawn me off to the rebate company. I tried to explain the customer goodwill concept to the young girl on the other end of the phone through my ice cream analogy. Her response “I don't like ice cream, so I really don't understand what you’re trying to say." This is going to be a futile battle. Hard to believe I’m a military man and in a roundabout way I fight for the rights of companies to mess with you and I. Wait, Canon is a Japanese based company... I'm fighting for them too?

Yes this is a lost cause, but I'm going to have fun with it!
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Isaac Davis, Photographer
Saugus | CA | USA | Posted: 8:07 PM on 01.13.06
->> Time out guys.. Robert, this is your chance my friend. If you are like me, and have every container since you purchased an Atari 2600, then you have the ammo you need. You can now tell your wife without fear of repercussion that you need to keep those boxes.

In all seriousness, I feel a small amount of yout pain. Our kids all got computers for Xmas, and my wife and I went out and purchased everything, came home, and put them together. We took advantage of a number of rebates. I was carrying things out to the van and my wife made a comment about them submitting the rebates. How nice and strange of them I thought. A company actually handling the rebates. We get home everything is unboxed, and my wife proceeds to toss everything in the trash. A few days later she turns to me and asks about the UPC codes. A collective DOH! was emitted by both of us. Thankfully it wasn't to the tune of $475.
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Temple City | CA | usa | Posted: 10:48 PM on 01.13.06
->> lets me see if i understand this correctly...
john doe is upset at canon cause jane doe, john doe's wife, threw out the boxes to product a, b but not product c.

customer service will not honor the rebate for purchasing products a, b and c because john doe does not have the upc symbols cause jane doe threw out the boxes to products a and b.

the legal standard of "what a reasonable person" would do really has no merit since this is not a legal matter.

but if you really want to take the legal angle, and you want to take into consideration what the intent of the rebate is, then the intent of the rebate is not just to give customer a rebate. if that were the case, then it would simply be an instant rebate.

but in this case, in order to fulfill the full intent of the rebate offer, then the customer must not only purchase the proper items, but must also follow the rules for redeeming such rebate.

in this case, the customer must return a copy of the receipt AND the UPC symbols of the qualified products. any derivation from such will make the rebate offer null and void.

most reasonable people would ask canon for a break.

most reasonable people would understand when the request is denied.

most reasonable people would not expect canon to overlook the missing upc codes because jane doe threw them out.

most reasonable people would understand that it was jane doe that threw out the boxes not canon.

most reasonable people would not request other people's boxes, because that actually would be fraud.

most reasonable people think john does is unreasonable because jane doe is the one that threw out the boxes.

be reasonable.
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Robert Leverton, Photographer
Ellicott City | MD | USA | Posted: 12:46 AM on 01.14.06
->> Most reasonable people can quickly identify the gentleman from Temple City who is not attending law school as an AWESOME photographer. The previous statement is in no way meant to infer that if you are in Law School (specifically Loyola) that you are not an AWESOME photographer but is merely provided for the purpose of differentiation. All further references to the gentleman from Temple City who is not attending law school shall for the sake of brevity be identified as DM

Most reasonable people could deduce by John Doe’s earlier post he was attempting to move past the legal mumbo jumbo.

Most people would confirm John Doe was trying to move on by his final statement in his last post “Yes this is a lost cause, but I'm going to have fun with it!”

Most people could see that John Doe was “trying” to show the humor of dealing with large companies hiding behind phone operators who do not like ice cream.

The gentleman previously designated as DM, did not make the connections that most reasonable people would have made. Thus, through the logical argument of affirming the consequent one would say: The Gentleman designated as DM is an AWESOME photographer but not a reasonable person!

John Doe waits, with tongue firmly in cheek, the rebuttal of the distinguished gentleman designated as DM.

However, John Doe is wondering if the gentleman from Temple City who is attending Loyola has spotted the logical fallacy committed by John Doe in making his argument? Specifically, the statement identifying the gentleman from Temple City who is not attending law school and designated DM as an unreasonable AWESOME photographer.

We are sorry for the interruption by the legal “I know more then you” test; we will now return you to your photography forum.
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G.M. Andrews, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 3:22 AM on 01.14.06
->> Can someone tell me how to get back to the "Nikon vs. Canon" thread?
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Thread Title: When Canon UPC codes cost $475
Thread Started By: Robert Leverton
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