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Rebate gremlins strike again, this time on iPhone deal

THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU

$1,419,130

Updated: November 20, 2012 11:21AM



Dear Fixer: I’m a divorced father of three. On July 2, I went to a local Verizon store to shop for four iPhones for myself and my kids.

The salesman there said I was in luck — because I am a Comcast customer in good standing, I qualified for a $50 rebate on each line, for a total of $200. The rebate was to be paid with gift cards.

The salesman got us all signed up for the phones. He told me I would get an email soon and would get the gift cards in 30 to 45 days.

The gift cards never came. I have been calling Comcast. A representative from Comcast is trying to help by intervening with the rebate center, but he hasn’t had any luck.

I don’t remember the Verizon salesman asking me for my Comcast account number or asking me to fill out any special form — though I’m not sure if I needed to or not.

I promised my youngest daughter we would use the gift cards for fall school clothes shopping and she keeps asking when they are coming.

Mark Lindroth, Romeoville

Dear Mark: Tell your daughter to start making her clothing list, because your rebate is finally on its way. Comcast spokeswoman Angelynne Amores got the folks there to verify that you do indeed qualify for the $200 gift card promotion and she apologized for the delay.

It appears the salesman at Verizon did everything correctly, so we’re not exactly sure what happened. Maybe the rebate gremlins ate your application.

A word about rebates for the rest of us: As Mark found out, most rebates are paid by third-party vendors, which can add a layer of red tape. Here’s some advice for anyone who’s going for a rebate:

♦ Photocopy everything that you are asked to mail in. That includes the completed rebate form, the receipt, the UPC code or other proof of purchase — even the envelope you plan to mail it in.

♦ Follow the directions precisely. If you’re supposed to underline the price on the receipt, don’t circle it.

♦ Submit your request by certified mail, return receipt requested. If you submit online, print your receipt.

♦ Do everything before the deadline and note on your calendar the approximate date you expect to get your money.

For whom the violation tolls

In May, we fixed a problem for Timothy Wrath of Cary, who had never been to Massachusetts for but some reason was getting turnpike violation notices from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

We were able to rule out the Evil Twin Theory and instead discovered that there was an Illinois semi-trailer with the exact same plate number as Timothy’s (though it was a commercial, not passenger vehicle, plate).

MassDOT ended up canceling the violations, so it got fixed.

The Illinois Tollway is now informing other Illinois drivers with license plates beginning with “P” about the problem. This month, they sent I-Pass customers a letter about it, which Tim passed along to us.

It turns out some of the same “P” numbers are on trucks as well as cars. As these trucks travel across the country, in some cases the toll violation notices are being sent to the owners of passenger vehicles that have the same plate number.

If you’ve received a bill for someone else’s out-of-state violation, call the Tollway at (800) 824-7277 immediately and ask to have it removed.

Free help for homeowners

Homeowners on Chicago’s South Side and surrounding hard-hit suburbs will benefit from a three-year, $649,164 grant that will launch a “Focus on Foreclosure” initiative by Chicago’s Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services.

The organization will use the money to hire a full-time attorney to provide legal representation for homeowners facing foreclosure. It also will hire a full-time paralegal to work out of its Blue Island and Palos Hills offices and the Markham courthouse.

The grant was announced this month by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The money comes from the $25 billion national foreclosure settlement secured in February with the nation’s five largest bank mortgage servicers.



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