Buyer Beware: SOYO / Tiger Direct

I don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t make a lot of money. It seems to go hand in hand. So for me, I will most often only purchase items that I perceive to be an excellent value. This theory of purchasing has earned me the nickname of “the deal king” from quite a few of my friends (online and off).

I’ve bought a big box of Kraft’s newest food, valued at over $40, for $5 delivered. I’ve bought a very nice set of cold cathode tubes for my computer for $3 delivered (no, I didn’t need them). I’ve picked up up two office chairs that initially cost $120 each for $40 each. I’ve bought a $40 coatrack for $4. I’ve picked up 120 gig hard drives for $40. I’ve had dinner for two at Quizno’s subs for under $6– over 20 times. I receive over 15 magazines on a monthly basis, and I haven’t paid for a single one.

I am the deal king.

So, when I get screwed by a company, I do not take it sitting down.

An example:

HardDrive.com

They have to be one of the shadiest companies with which I have had the pleasure of dealing.

A while back, I decided that my computer’s CPU was running too hot. It is a Prescott, after all, and they are known to run hot. I decided to purchase some Arctic Silver 5, which is a thermal compound that is applied between the CPU and the HSF (heat sink & fan).

I searched my deal sources, and was able to locate Arctic Silver 5 for a steal of a deal– around $5-7 I think. I ordered it up, and waited for it to arrive.

Several days later, it arrives. I open it up, and it isn’t Arctic Silver at all! It’s some crap brand that, after research, offered little to no cooling benefits over the wax pad installed by Intel at the factory.

I contacted the company, and the gentleman (it’s a long stretch to call him a gentleman) said it must have been a picking error. He said that Arctic Silver 5 had since gone out of stock. The first thing that told me was that this company was willing to intentionally send the wrong product in hopes that the customer would not have the drive to complain.

He told me to head to the post office and send it back to him at my expense. Well, seeing as the item was under $10, and the shipping was going to be over $1, I was not willing to spend over 10% of the total item cost to make up for the incompetence of a company to whom $1 is a drop in the bucket. I requested that that they send me a postage-paid envelop to allow me to return the incorrectly shipped merchandise. They refused. I suggested that they eat the cost of the item, and simply ship the item to me at their expense– after all, picking errors are the fault of the company, and writing off product losses is a cost of doing business. They again refused.

I decided to call back and try to get another customer no-service rep. I called the “general” line. To my surprise, the very same person answered. I thought that was fishy, and I hung up. I then realized that this company also operates several other companies (Thortek.com and DieCastAutos.com). All of their phone numbers rang to the same place, and the same guy answered the phone.

Finally I decided to speak with this guy again, and told him that it was his duty to make the situation right. He informed me that since he didn’t like my attitude via my refusal to ship the incorrectly picked product back to him on my dime, he would not be offering any sort of assistance. No RMA, no credit, no prepaid envelope– nothing. Surely this is the sign of a scum bag working for a scum bag company. What a mope.

I told the person at HardDrive.com that I would be contesting the charges on my credit card, and he would be getting no money out of me. He challenged me to do it. Lesson learned– don’t challenge me.

That was enough for me.

I rang the folks at Arctic Silver. I spoke with a nice gentleman over there who was very interested in listening to my story. I explained it, and offered to send him photos of my receipt and the product shipped. He went well beyond the call of duty and offered to UPS me a *real* tube of Arctic Silver 5 at no cost. I was amazed.

He was very interested in hearing that HardDrive.com was scamming their customers. See, Arctic Silver 5 is the *best*. There is no better thermal compound I have found. Because they are the best, they have an amazing reputation. There are people out there who swear by Arctic Silver, and I am one of them. It truly is an amazing product.

Anyway, here’s what happened:

- I sent the photos of my order to Arctic Silver.
- 1 day later, HardDrive.com had disappeared. They were *gone*.
- 1 day after that, my real Arctic Silver 5 arrived, direct from the manufacturer.
- 1 day after that, a credit appeared on my credit card statement showing that HardDrive.com had credited my purchase in full.

I WON! Actually, this was more than a simple victory. This was a lesson to places like HardDrive.com that a resourceful individual could make it very uncomfortable for them to do business with their suppliers if they don’t take care of their customers. It was also a lesson to Arctic Silver– one they must have already learned long ago– that providing both an outstanding product and equally outstanding service earns repeated business, word of mouth referrals, and an excellent reputation.

SOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo……

Now let’s talk about SOYO. I hate SOYO. They are scam artists– have no doubt. A couple of Google searches proves this:

soyo rebate complaint
soyo rebate ripoff
soyo rebate scam

Yep, they’re scammers alright. Here’s my story:

Back in July, I purchased a SOYO barebones kit. It was priced at $179.99. According to TigerDirect, the product qualified for 3 rebates to the tune of $140. That means my out the door cost would be $39.99 + shipping ($15.57). A good deal, right?

Well, I’ve only received one rebate check for $40. The rebate form suggests that it will take 12-14 weeks from the time the rebate form is postmarked to the time I receive my checks.

As of today, it has been 22 weeks!

I’ve emailed them numerous times. I get generic responses like (December 1, 2004):

“We would like to apologize for the delay. Your rebate has not been processed. Please keep checking www.verifyrebate.com to check on your status. Thank you for your patience.”

So, I’m basically out a hundred bucks for now. That is entirely unacceptable. Tomorrow, I will be emailing them with my demands– 2 checks, $100 total, FedExed to my house. The email will be carbon copied to my attorney. That will hopefully light a fire under their butt.

If it doesn’t, though, I will be headed to the Chatham County courthouse next week to file a small claims suit against both Soyo and Tiger Direct (the retailer). Soyo and I have a contract, and it is clearly outlined on the rebate forms. If I make a mistake, the contract is void and they do not fulfill the rebate. Understood. But, if they make a mistake, the contract is still valid. Soyo and I have not mutually departed from the rebate contract, and they are therefore liable for the $100 total payment to me. Additionally, Tiger Direct advertised that I would be able to submit and receive three separate rebate forms. If, however, I am not able to collect the rebates as specified in the presale terms, the transaction is not complete. Tiger Direct almost certainly knows that SOYO is a scam of a company, and while I cannot prove it, I can prove that they advertised 3 separate rebates for this product. They are complicit.

So, we’ll see how it goes. I’ve been calling Soyo all day at 909.292.2500, but it is either busy, or dumps me to a voice mail. I may call their investor relations department, and let them know that both Soyo-rebates.com and Soyo-rebate-scam.com is available, and hosting is cheaper than ever.

So, here is the lesson of the day:

NEVER TRUST SOYO. NEVER NEVER EVER.

Soyo is a horrible company, and their rebate fulfillment is on par with Belkin (another horrible company for rebate submission– don’t get me started on them)

We’ll see how this works out!

Mike

18 thoughts on “Buyer Beware: SOYO / Tiger Direct

  1. A-farking-men. They have screwed me to the tune of $30. Not a big deal, I know, but the rebate was a selling point on the mobo. It has now been 11 months and 1 day without a rebate or an explaination. 1 unanswered email, several unanswered phone calls. Never again will I buy anything from SOYO.

  2. I have to admit, I was also sceptical when every call, no matter the time, was always answered by the same guy at Harddrive.com (never did get his name). I had no problem ordering blue-faced Samsung CD-RW/DVD and A-Open cd drives. Apparently, I was one of the few to not have problems since, as you pointed out, they have disappeared(their URL is now in use by a different company(I hope!).

    As for Soyo, I bought an 845G board to build an inexpensive computer for my parents and it crapped out while I was burning it in. No second chances for that one, I replaced it with an Asus board and have since bought others – they’re that good.

    And since you asked, I do like the layout/design of your blog.

  3. I have been burned too. I bought the same barbones kit in July and I am still waiting for the $100. I have rec’d the same generic emails too.

  4. Sounds like you have learned some valuable lessons. I, first off, swear by Artic Silver 5 myself. Second, Tiger Direct always seemed kinda shady to me. I have never used a Soyo board But I almost bought one a couple years ago. Third, I agree with Ted, Asus boards have always done well for me, I have one in my system now.
    Have you never been to newegg.com? I have spent well over $2500 with them over many orders. I have NEVER had a problem with them. The opposite in fact, it is a pleasure doing business with them.

  5. So, last week I sent an email to Troubleshooter Tom Martino. A day later, I received a message from Brian on his staff.

    I finally got a free moment to call Brian back, and he asked if I could call back tomorrow at 2:00PM so I may go on the air with Tom to discuss Soyo’s rebate dysfunction.

    I’ve built a timeline/information file:

    What I have:

    1. Original Rebate Forms (PDF)
    2. Copies of completed rebate forms.
    3. Copies of timestamped envelopes.
    4. Screenshots from TigerDirect.com
    5. Email correspondence.

    Timeline:

    07-29-2004 Ordered product. Was to have 3 rebates: OnRebate- $40, Soyo: $60, Soyo: $40.
    09-07-2004, 11:30AM Contacted TigerDirect, “Nadina” says copies OK for all rebates
    09-07-2004, 11:40AM Contacted OnRebate, copies OK (888)222-9300
    09-07-2004, Sent rebates, retained copies.
    11-15-2004, 2:54 PM Received confirmation of OnRebate $40 to be sent
    Shortly thereafter: Received OnRebate $40 rebate, cashed, closed out paperwork
    Interim: Allowed specified time to pass on Soyo rebates.
    11-29-2004, 2:05 PM Sent email request for update (Soyo)
    12-01-2004, 7:29 PM Update request read by Soyo (Email return receipt)
    12-01-2004, 7:29 PM Received form email update (Recommended keep checking verifyrebate.com)
    12-06-2004, 3:03 PM Sent another email request for update (Soyo)
    12-08-2004, 3:07 PM Request read by Soyo (Email return receipt)
    12-08-2004, 3:07 PM Received form email update (Claimed behind in processing, recommeded checking verifyrebate.com, wait couple more weeks, they wrote down my name)
    12-27-2004, 8:43 AM Sent email request for update (Soyo)
    01-19-2005, 12:00 PM Left message on general voicemail (909.292.2500)
    01-19-2005, 12:30 PM Sent email request for update (Soyo)

    We’ll see how it goes!

    Mike

  6. Alright, so I called Tiger and explained my situation to Marcel. He was very helpful and friendly, and has written an email (including the above timeline) to his supervisor for immediate attention. I have no doubt the email was sent, but whether or not I’ll get satisfaction, I’m not sure.

    I called Soyo. For people reading this in the future (this post is getting some traffic), here are some helpful numbers:

    Soyo’s main line is 909.292.2500. They seem to have an extension block from 2500 on up. At any time, you can press 0 to be taken to the operator. She is almost guaranteed to send you to the rebate department if you say the word “rebate,” so I would try to keep that hush-hush.

    x2526 Tech support (no help with rebates, no transferring)
    x2800 Disconnected
    x2550 Disconnected
    x2510 Steve’s(?) voicemail
    x2504 E-store
    x2502 Donya(?) voicemail
    x2528 Rebates, voicemail
    x2543 Pat(?) voicemail
    x2542 Libby(?) voicemail
    x2541 A real live human, I think it was they mysterious “Steve” from extension 2510.

    Steve calmly explained that they have “outsourced” their rebate fulfillment. These folks seem to need some sort of public relation training. “Outsourced?” Why don’t you just tell me my rebate form is lost in Delhi? Steve seemed to think that telling me that they have outsourced the work somehow makes Soyo less liable for their incompetency. He told me that they outsourced the work to VerifyRebate.com approximately 2 weeks ago. I asked if it was really only two weeks ago, and he said yes. I explained that Soyo had directed me to contact VerifyRebate.com on December 1, 2004, and he blew it off as though I were the one who was incorrect with the timeline. Maybe that is the problem– maybe Soyo is operating on the 21 day week! Steve gave me a “special” email address for “problems”– soyo@verifyrebate.com. Shhhhhh. Don’t let that unguessable secret out of the bag. Steve, you were very calm and polite, but the help you offered is less than worthless.

    That is all.

  7. At least you can keep a sense of humor about it all. I’m waiting for a rebate from Epson. I think they use that same company. It’ll be interesting.

  8. Alright, so, there was a time discrepency.

    I called at 2:00 my time (EST), and he said he needed me to call between 11AM and Noon EST.

    I’ll be calling back tomorrow. :)

    Mike

  9. Wahoo! I was on the air.

    Tom seemed to only have a few minutes to talk about this, and I understand. I’m talking a hunded bucks, and the previous callers were talking foreclosure on a $300,000 house. Yeah, I’m at the bottom of the priority list.

    I was incredibly nervous. I spent about two hours on hold only to find that, once on live radio to millions of people, I do not know how to breathe between sentences. It’s pretty unnerving.

    Anyway, Toms staffers had already left them a message. It was either Chris or Brian– either way, they were very friendly and polite when I spoke to them.

    Tom basically said that he hates companies that do business this way. He outlined how some will issure rebate, but not send a check until you call. Even after you do call, they’ll often still not send a check.

    He said that if they don’t hear back from Soyo, he’ll make sure that *thousands* of people leave them a message. And if they don’t respond back after that, they will receive thousands more messages.

    We’ll see how it goes. Small claims court is still an option, and I’m getting the details on that together.

    More to come, I’m sure. :)

    Mike

  10. I received a call from Chris @ The Tom Martino Show yesterday with an email address for someone over at VerifyRebate.com. I just sent them a very polite but firm email asking where my rebate is, and what I need to do to facilitate the processing of my rebate.

    To Chris @ The Tom Martino Show– Thanks a bunch. Even if I don’t get the money, I really appreciate the effort you’ve put in to this. You deserve a raise. :)

    More to come, I’m sure.

    Mike

  11. Well, the list keeps growing, victims are scattered everywhere in Soyo’s wake! Count me as one of them but don’t stop at complaining about it, do something! Write your states attorney in your own state. Write the FTC and file a complaint, you can do it online for the overseas Soyo Enterprise Limited headquartered in Taiwan. Soyo Group Inc is in the U.S. but stay at it and maybe someday we will win!

  12. I am lacking my soyo rebates also. I have 150$ worth of rebates that i have not recieved from JUNE 04. I cant believe that a company is still in business like this. Their products are crap, tiger direct is crap for using a company like this as well. I will never use soyo again and will spread the word, on what a dirty business they are. I see how they operate, and they expect everybody to just forget about their rebates. I think they need a class action suit for everybody combined.

  13. Just to update, I finally rec’d all of my $ from soyo. I found this guy’s email on the fatwallet site and by-george it worked. I just emailed him and my rebate that had been approve in october was mailed out 1 wk later, and i sent him copies of the missing rebate and it was also mailed out just 1 wk later. hope this helps someone. Kenneth

    from:
    luisb@verifyrebate.com

    Dear Customer:

    Your rebate X’tream Series Barebone (KT600) _Bonus_ $60.00 will be mail
    out to you shortly and you should receive it within two weeks.
    According to our record, we did not receive your $40.00 rebate request. If
    you believe your mail was lost or misdirected, please contact your mail
    carrier directly. According to the rebate program’s terms and conditions
    “manufacturers are not responsible for the lost or misdirected mail.”
    If
    you would like to dispute your rebate, please mail your missing documents
    along with this letter to:
    Special Care Customer Services Dept
    1042 N. Mountain Ave #B 291
    Upland CA 91786
    We would like to thank you again for your inquiry and patience.
    Please DO NOT deletes previous correspondent for further assistance.
    Customer Service
    http://www.verifyrebate.com

  14. I was also in contact with “LuisB.” He asked me to resubmit, which I did via certified mail.

    As of right now, one of my rebates are listed on the VerifyRebate site ($60). Last week, they were both on there, but for some reason the $40 rebate fell off the system. Hopefully that means it has been sent, but I doubt it. For some reason, I didn’t keep a screen shot of the status showing I was due two rebates, but at least I have a screenshot for the one.

    I emailed LuisB again yesterday to find out why the one rebate fell off the system, and I have had no response.

    It has been 29 weeks since I originally submitted my rebate. I will be filing a complaint with the FTC and my state’s Attorney General. I will be including all of the comments on this post, as well as information I gather from other sites.

    Soyo is a bunch of scumbags, and they deserve to be harrassed a bit by good ol’ Uncle Sam. “FTC: For the consumer.” Right?

    If they do decide to screw me over on the $40, well… let’s just hope the don’t decide to screw me out of the $40. See, as of right now, they have approved the “Bonus” rebate, and not the standard rebate. So, logic dictates that if they received and approved the bonus rebate, but not the standard one, there is a problem on their end. With all of the documentation I have gathered, I am 100% confident that, were I to file a small claims suit, I would prevail on the merits. Additionally, my state allows me to recover court costs and attorneys’ fees, and my attorney charges at the rate of 2 rebate submissions per hour (you do the math). It would be a big mistake for Soyo to deny my rebates!

    Thanks for commenting, Kenneth!

  15. The funny thing is that when I resubmitted the missing rebate, it never appeared on the website and the check was dated only 3-4 days after they would have rec’ed my ‘lost’ submission. Either he has nothing to do over there or as every one says they are keeping the money and just hoping that those who don’t follow-up w/ the rebates will just forget about them.
    best wishes and good luck, kenneth

  16. Hi…I just wanted to reply about HARDDRIVE.COM. I use to work for them for a few years. The company name is THORTEK CORP. They are or claim to be a computer store and diecast store. They have recently changed it to a pricing site. However, they have a big store here in town and sell computer stuff and build computers. The other half of the store sells diecast. I would not recommend at all buying from them. They have terrible customer service and dont care about there customers at tall. And they throw computers together the easiest, cheapest way. I have seen way too many bad experiences come out of that place than good. Maybe thats why me and almost everyone that use to work there has moved on to bigger better things. One of the guys that worked there opened up an online computer store and also has a small store in a strip mall. His store is called SPACECENTERSYSTEMS.COM. DO NOT BUY from them either. I have read like 175 BAD feedbacks about them and they have been only open like 6 months. So everyone, just becareful. These are people you DONT want to buy from. I have seen it first hand.