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Q I'M WRITING IN connection with a rebate offer for the purchase of Old Vienna beer last summer.

During the hot months we entertained often because we had a pool and purchased approximately 30 cases of that beer with the understanding that I could submit one completed refund offer along with my sales receipt for every two cases of beer that I purchased.

I should have received $3 for each purchase of two cases. I began mailing in the refund offers and receipts at the end of May 1989 and continued until their promotion ended on Sept. 30. I did not receive a refund on that offer until November, when I received three checks for $3 each along with a letter from Century Importers stating that the offer had a limit of one per household.

The refund offer had no such limitation and the outlet that sold me the beer also agreed that there was no limitation of refunds allowed to each household.

I have written to Century Importers directly as well as the local distributor of Old Vienna beer, expressing my disappointment in their handling of this promotion. The only response I've received is one more $3 check. It is my estimation that they owe me a total refund of approximately $90.

I'm not a coupon freak, but I think their refund offer was misleading and I'm not the only one who took advantage of (or was taken advantage of, as the case may be) their offer. Your help would be appreciated.

-- J.R., Kenmore
A WE'VE BEEN TOLD that a new check has been issued to you to resolve this misunderstanding. We don't know how much that was, but based on $3 for every two cases purchased, your 30-case consumption should mean a total of $45 in refunds and not the $90 you claim.

In any event, Owen A. Brady, director of marketing for Century Importers in Baltimore tells us:

"This customer had a legitimate reason for his unhappiness as the fulfillment house we used for the promotion did not include in its computer program instructions to handle the refunds for multiple requests.

"Fortunately, the same program that rejected multiple requests also kept a record of those who submitted them. As a result, we have been able to correct the problem, although not as rapidly as some of our customers would like.

"We have been in contact with this customer and a check has been issued to cover the previously rejected submissions.

"No company with a consumer product in a very competitive market likes to have dissatisfied customers. We certainly wish this annoyance for our customers (and for us) had not occurred. Steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence and we thank you for alerting us to this particular situation."

News Power is designed to help persons who feel baffled, cheated or ignored. Because of the heavy load we cannot tackle every case, but select those where we can do the most good. We'll tell you if we can't handle yours. Send your problems by mail -- mail ONLY -- to News Power, Buffalo News, 1 News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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