Hunter Douglas Rebate: 50 Shades of Grey edition, Part 1

Our recent move prompted us to outfit our newly naked windows, and covering up naked windows costs serious cash money if you are going with anything in the non miniature blinds category.

We settled on Hunter Douglas Architella Duette blinds and we were pretty happy that they were offering a $25 rebate on each window, because we bought 26 windows' worth of blinds and that adds up to some serious rebatage. It is a costly endeavor, to the tune of several thousand dollars. Several. Thousands. More than you would expect blinds to cost, at least if you are virgin to the blinds world. 50 shades of grey: window edition. Trust me, with how awfully that book is written, the window edition is much more arousing in my current world.

Fast forward, we get our rebate in the form of an American Express gift card. And sure enough, we see that Hunter Douglas is now offering a rebate of $50 per window. Jigga what? That's DOUBLE the rebate we got, and we missed it by just a couple weeks. That means we missed out on $650. That is serious qwon. Had we known Hunter Douglas was about to offer another rebate, right on the heels of the one we signed up for, we would have waited to order the blinds.

So I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I just eat the $650 arbitrary loss of a rebate? Or do I call Hunter Douglas, behemoth of a company in the blinds world, and see if they will do anything to ease the sting of losing out on $650? I choose option B. 

I email the company through its website. I am pleasantly surprised by the call back the next day. I am not as pleased by the response from S, who explains to me how rebates work. Honey child, I am an experienced retail navigator. I understand dates and cut off periods. But I also found out that Hunter Douglas offers 4 rebates a year. Basically they have a rebate every season. It's not really an exclusive, limited engagement type of thing. It's more of a constant, marketing deal to induce a sense of urgency.

But S is pretty sure that there's nothing Hunter Douglas can do. After some pushback from me (shocking), she agrees to send my concern on to a specialist at the rebate center. Excellent.

M then returns my call the next day or so. She, too, goes over the ins and outs of rebates and how they work. She's professional but firm. Hunter Douglas won't honor their new rebate offer even though we barely missed the cutoff date.

Here's where years of reportage experience kicks in. I have talked to way too many gatekeepers, filters, and stonewallers, to just crumple up and walk away from $650. I am not saying that I don't know how to take no for an answer. But I am saying I will fight... for my right...to REEEEEEBATE! Rest in Peace MCA.

I enlist M's help, explaining to her that $650 is a significant amount and that if there's anyone she can talk to, could she please do so. I also let her know that we have a lot of friends who will be shopping for window coverings and we want to refer them to Hunter Douglas. I also tell her the rebate dates seem very arbitrary and that I don't think it's worth Hunter Douglas' time/money to leave a customer so unhappy.

She agrees to have someone else call me back "the next day."

That day came and went, life happened, and a week and a half later I was like, "Hey, what happened?"

I emailed again, referencing my previous convos with S and M. (How appropriate, and no I didn't plan that. I love when blob entries make me look so clever.) I get a call back from another S the following day. She gives me the third go-round and explanation of rebates. Clearly I must not understand how these things work! *sarcasm* I again politely explain to her what I told M: Unhappy customer, random rebate dates, big chunk of money that Hunter Douglas would rebate anyway if we had waited just a few more days, etc.

She is tough and chewy cookie. She tells me there is "no one else" I can speak to. I ask if I should reach out via Twitter or social media with my concern.

BOOM. That, combined with my previous, convincing point that Hunter Douglas is a huge company, it offers rebates all the time and this is not a good way to do business, seemed to spur her to action.

I was put on hold for a couple minutes while she spoke with someone in marketing. She comes back and says, "We can give you half of the rebate amount back."

Finally. A starting point. Yes, a starting point. You think I should've just zipped it and taken that gratefully? I agree. $325 is better than nothing. Much better. But I also felt that $325 or $650 wasn't the point. It's "yes or no are you going to incur the wrath of a customer or are you going to just do the right thing, and do it all the way?"

So I tell S that I really appreciate her help and thank you very much for talking to management but can she please tell them that it makes no sense for them to offer half and that they need to make the customer happy and offer the rebate as it currently stands.

She is pissed. And exasperated. And annoyed. But so am I. So she says, I can't make any guarantees but I will ask and I will call you back tomorrow."

Progress.

Long story long, they are sending us a check for $650.

Part 2 will be my lesson learned, and some praise for Hunter Douglas. I'm not a total assface.