Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Free $98 from Office Depot

This isn't a deal you are going to take part of right now....sorry if you got excited! But, I wanted to write this post as an example of how important it is to:

  • Number one, be honest ( even with freebies )
  • Number two, sign up for all loyalty programs and newsletters from any and all companies
  • Number 3, open ALL junk mail ( I have preached on this enough over the last 2 years, right ).

So, my story starts quite simply. It was August and school shopping time. Office Depot was running some decent deals on items I needed off of the kids school lists, so the whole family packed up and hit our local store.

We bought our few items ( which did not add up to much ) and checked out. And, they applied my purchases against my Office Depot Worklife Rewards program. Click here to join for yourself.

Well, their statements and rewards come out on a 3 month cycle. I wasn't expecting anything when I opened my statement yesterday, since their cash out limit is $10. I figured it would just be a rundown of how much I had earned thus far ( which was way below the threshold ).

But, I opened it up and saw I got $98!!!

I thought, wow, this is some wonderful promotion they are running. I sat down to read through it all and see how I got this $98. Well, as I read the statement, I saw it showed I had bought over $1,200 worth of Toner, Paper and other merchandise. Hmmmmm!!!! I hadn't bought anything like that, since I don't even own a printer that requires toner.

My first thought was Uh, Oh, did someone steal my information? But, that didn't make sense since first, why would they use a reward card that gives ME credit and second, the items purchased were from months ago and I never got charged.

So, my next thought was that they had accidentally charged someone's purchases against my reward card and accidentally gave me credit. And, that means someone else is missing their $98 in rewards.

Today, once my youngest was down for his nap, I called their hotline number. I explained the situation and they looked up my account. They went thru the purchases, not quite wanting to believe I didn't buy all those items. They kept listing them and the dates, and I kept saying, "Nope".

Theirs was then the same thought as mine, that the store had used my reward number when ringing up someone else's purchases. So, I asked if we could find that person.

Unfortunately, I was informed that they couldn't tell who these rewards should have gone to, and they would just have to wait and see if anyone called to say they are missing ( I hope whoever that is, they are checking their statements ) and then fix their account.

But, she then surprised me by saying that since it was their mistake I could keep the $98 for myself. Woah!! I was excited.

It would have been so easy for me to simply take my $98 and go spend it and never let anyone know. Honestly, I didn't feel like wasting that 15 minutes of my day to call Office Depot when I had so many other things to do ( the kitchen floors still need scrubbed, maybe tomorrow ) But, I knew I wouldn't feel good about myself. That money belonged to someone else.

Thanks to taking that time out of my day, I now feel good about this $98, my decision and know that Office Depot will take care of the issue for the other consumer. ( if he/she calls them, let's hope )

Well, I thanked the customer service rep thoroughly and then hung up a very happy person. I needed new ink for my printer and am almost out of paper, so I will be going to stock up.

So, let me ask you:
  • Did you read all your junk mail today?
  • Have you signed up for all the Loyalty Programs you can? If you would like to read about all the ones I have shared, click here.
  • Most importantly, do you try to be an honest consumer? Will it always work out to your advantage when you are honest, not necessarily. BUT, you will know you are doing the right thing, and that is worth much more!

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Jennifer said...

I use my card when I order work items and I got a $32 reward card yesterday! Yay!

Carrie @ Moneysavingmethods.com said...

Way to go, Jennifer! Free money!

thecouponproject said...

Way to be honest, Carrie!! Great post. Enjoy your little Christmas gift from Office Depot!

Meagan said...

That's really awesome. I just got something cool for opening my junk mail. My bank offered a roadside assistance program that I could try for free for 1 month. If I did, I could get a personal DVD player for free! So I tried it and when I went to cancel, they said they'd send me a $25 gas rebate if I wouldn't cancel. So, I got the DVD player in the mail. Got the rebate sent in and canceled a few weeks later. I had to pay for an extra month, but I still came out making $10 and a free DVD player! Thanks for the advice!

Carrie @ Moneysavingmethods.com said...


I love those free trials! They are the best. Onne year, I got my husband a free surround system by trying a trial. They did the same thing, offered me rebates to stay a member. The rebates on my gas more than covered the monthly membership and earned me a bit. I definitely take advantage of those deals!

Way to go, Meagan!

Connie Petertonjes said...

Carrie, I totally believe in being honest about stuff like this. I figure in the long run, you will come out ahead. And, that is so cool that they gave you the $98!

Anonymous said...

Your post was right on! Thank you! Money is never more important than your morals and values and what a valuable lesson for your kids (even if you hadn't been able to keep the rewards!)

Rachel from TX said...

Love how you were honest about it AND got to keep it. One day Zappos sent me somebody else's order but with a shipping label w/ my name and address (person didn't even live within hours of me so neither they nor I could figure out how it happened) w/ 3 pairs of expensive shoes. I called them to let them know about it and ended up having to wait on hold for a while then explain a couple times what happened... took about 15 minutes of my time and I just got a thank you lol. But I wouldn't have felt right about keeping them so I don't regret it one bit :)

Danielle Miller said...

Well, I will be honest here at least. If I had a mistake like that, I wouldn't waste my time to call it in. I spend enough time waiting around on hold for things that I have to do. If it's something concrete, like finding a wallet on the floor or something, worth the time. But a mistake on a rewards statement? Certainly a very nice thing for you to do, but what are the odds that someone is going to call missing them? And if I was the one missing them . . . what are the odds that Office Depot would actually take the time to fix it? I would probably just be told that I'm responsible for making sure the cashier uses my card and if I don't then, sorry about my luck. Awesome to be on the receiving end of the mistake though!

Faith said...

Kudos to you Carrie! Honesty is the best policy!