Andrew Pollack's Blog

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Actual useful things that drive my brand loyalty - Great things smart companies are doing

By Andrew Pollack on 07/27/2004 at 10:27 PM EDT

I was doing some catching up, going through my bills today and I came across a receipt from BJ's for a couple of air conditions that had rebates on them totalling forty bucks. Now if you have ADHD, you have to really think twice about taking something that's a good deal because its got a rebate. I'm getting better about it, but realistically I end up eating the damn value of the rebate about 60% of the time. This time though, not only did the receipt have the rebate information on it, it had a special code and suggested I try just going to their website for the process. I did. In 2 minutes I punched in my membership number and the rebate number, filled in my mailing information so they could send me the check, and was done. No cutting UPC codes off boxes (admittedly long gone), no long forms to fill out, 2 minutes. It makes up for those damn self service cash registers I hate so much. Nicely done. I checked Staples and Best Buy and both have rebate assistance areas on their web sites, but neither was that easy. These just offered instructions on how to navigate the various manufacturers' process.

A little while later I decided to try do download my credit card statement into my Quickbooks so I logged into my account at MBNA.

Now I switched to MBNA recently from American Express because instead of being shuffled off to India for support, I get to talk to people who speak my language natively and fluently and actually care about helping me. In fact, from having done a brief bit of consulting there I happen to know that every single management employee at MBNA (in theory right to the top) is required to spend time on the phone taking customer service calls each month -- and it is logged and checked up on. This company earned my business by employing several thousand of my neighbors in a small, historically poor area. They hired so many people and paid them so well and with such good benefits that the impact on the mid coast area of Maine is visible.

Back to the story -- I noticed that MBNA now offers a tool called "ShopSafe". This is a neat idea, and I know other card companies have similar programs now, that lets you use a specific "One Time Use" credit card number for a purchase. They've made it very easy in fact. When you go to check out at a web site, you can click a system tray icon on your PC and a small dialog box opens. Enter you MBNA username and password and it gives you options for lots of things -- like accessing your statement, paying your bills, etc. -- including this dialog box to create a "one time use" card number. The small dialog box can be anywhere on the screen, but stays in the foreground so you can see it while enter the data in the website. This number is valid for only one merchant, and is valid for the amount and time limit you specify. Period. Again, nicely done.

Both of these services are entirely more likely to generate business from me on a continued basis than all the advertising in the world. In fact, I just noticed a "business services" section at the Bj's website with travel and car rentals and things. I'm off to go look.

There are  - loading -  comments....

My own thoughts on this are...By Carolyn on 07/28/2004 at 01:14 PM EDT
You don't have to have ADHD to miss out on rebates. I've done this regularly
either because I haven't installed software soon enough to see the rebate
deadline date in the package, or because the rebate was for something that
required the collection of receipts and UPC codes.

I like the receipt/internet option also. I used that last year when I bought my
new Linksys router. They also let you track the status of your rebate on their

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