Customer makes Discover pay up on cash back rewards

Customer makes Discover pay up on cash back rewards
December 28, 2012 7:12:40 PM PST
Many credit card companies entice customers with rewards, points and cash back. However, rules can change, even while you're using the card. One East Bay man claims he lost out on benefits he thought he had coming to him. So he went to 7 On Your Side for help.

This man bought two iPhones, expecting a cash back reward. However, his credit card company said, "Sorry, the iPhone 5 is no longer eligible for rewards." That didn't seem right to our consumer, so we stepped in to help.

Sean Cooper of San Leandro lets his new iPhone 5 read his messages aloud, it also plays his music, and takes impressive pictures at Yosemite.

"I had the last one for two years and so the new technology is always a draw," said Cooper.

He had pre-ordered two of the newest iPhones -- one for himself and one for his dad, but at $360 each, they weren't cheap. So Cooper decided to use his Discover card to get a five percent cash back bonus and take a little sting out of the price.

"I double checked the terms to make sure it was included," said Cooper.

He went to the ShopDiscover website which lists the retailers and their offers on cash back rewards. Cooper says checked the Apple Store section and found cash back offers for several products including the iPad, iPhone and MacBooks.

"It said the iPhone was OK and you could order up to two, so I went through the ShopDiscover website and I ordered it on Apple," said Cooper.

However, the cash back bonus never showed up in his account, and when Cooper asked Discover about it, the company said iPhones were not included for rewards.

"They weren't going to be willing to provide the cash back," said Cooper.

Discover told him Apple decides which products are eligible for the five percent bonus and the company had excluded the iPhone 5 soon after Cooper ordered it. However, as a courtesy, Discover offered a cash back bonus for one phone, but not two. Cooper said that wasn't good enough. He says he had used the Discover card based on a promise of five percent back for both phones.

"Ultimately, it's an issue of consistency because if not this transaction, what about the next?" said Cooper.

He contacted 7 On Your Side and we asked Discover what happens when cash back offers change after a purchase.

Discover said: "We work very closely with both merchants and card members to ensure we properly communicate merchants' terms and conditions on ShopDiscover, which can change without notice. We also strive to make every card member experience a positive one, and will work with them to try to solve any issues that may arise, as we did in this case."

And it did. Discover agreed to pay cash back for not one, but both of Cooper's iPhones. It amounts to about $36 bucks, but Cooper says it's about having confidence in his purchases.

"I'm still a happy Discover card holder," said Cooper.

Discover says the rewards offered on the website do change without notice. In this case, there was confusion over whether the iPhone was excluded before or after Cooper ordered his phones.

We'd like to thank Discover for stepping up with that reward.


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