This morning I was greeted with a pleasant email from our friends at eBay and Microsoft. Since I already had a Nintendo DS Lite and assorted games in my Amazon.com shopping cart, I decided to investigate the coupon opportunity presented by eBay and our friends at Microsoft Live Search.
Here's how to save up to 40% with a coupon + Microsoft Cashback:
1. Search for an item on www.live.com.
2. Click the sponsored ad with the Microsoft cashback symbol You'll be taken to eBay.com.
3. Make sure the item is Buy It Now and the seller accepts PayPal. If the item is eligible,
you'll see a cashback notice on the "commit to buy" page.
4. Enter code: CSHOPEBAY2008. Pay with PayPal before midnight PT on Dec 1, 2008.
I found what I was looking for on eBay with free shipping, albeit at a higher price than on Amazon. The special coupon deal should make up more than the difference between the prices on the two sites, right?
The discount looked good, in effect I would be getting about 3 games for free with this deal - great!
Then I saw the detail "you must have a Microsoft cash back account" whats that? Hmmm, lets look into that before we pull the trigger on this purchase.
When I read the terms below and found there would be a 60 day delay to realize my $71.97 savings on top of several other possible ways that I would not or could not qualify for my "coupon" the thrill was gone. I went back to Amazon and bought my Christmas gift.
Amazon does not play these games, or make people jump through these hoops. Most buyers would not bother to read the fine print and therefore would expect a actual discount at checkout. The way this coupon seems to be setup, you must first buy from the eBay seller, before learning that your coupon would not be good for another 60 days. Technically, that is not a coupon, that is a rebate.
Yes, there are small links which will lead anyone to the information presented below, but how many shoppers will actually follow those links before using the buy now button. The sellers should not be dealing with unhappy buyers who have been lead to believe they would be saving money instantly with this deal.
Does this make for a Great Buyer Experience?
But before you dive into the dry fine print of the cashback program, check out this recent article on APPScout about the Microsoft Live Search Cashback Program (Thanks to Elizabeth for forwarding the link). I think the App Scout article confirms my reaction to the 60 day delay in payment. The article also suggests that Microsoft has reacted to complaints about the 60 day delay by offering instant reimbursement for "some" eBay buyers, but those eBay buyers will only know if they received the reimbursement after they have made the purchase. (How fair is that? You MIGHT get your 40% off today, or 60 days from now, or never... it really depends upon who or what we may think of you.)
eBay Terms for Live Search Cashback Rewards
Your participation in the Microsoft Live Search cashback program ("Cashback Program"), is subject to the Microsoft Service Agreement at http://tou.live.com (the "Program Terms"), and these eBay Terms. In the event of a conflict between the Program Terms and the eBay Terms, the eBay Terms shall apply.
- Qualifying Purchase
- Receiving Cashback Rewards
- The Microsoft Live Search Cashback Program provides cashback for up to 12 qualifying purchases per account on www.ebay.com. The amount of cashback will be determined by eBay, specified at the time of checkout on the "purchase review page" and equal to a percentage of the sale price (excluding shipping and handling fees, insurance fees and other such fees) ("Cashback Rewards"). The maximum amount of Cashback Rewards per qualifying purchase is $200.00 USD. In addition, all Cashback Rewards (including Cashback Rewards earned in connection with purchases made on websites other than www.eBay.com) are subject to the annual $2,500.00 per person cap set forth in the Program Terms.
You are eligible to participate in the Cashback Program as long as you: (a) are at least 18 years of age and reside in the United States, (b) have a confirmed US eBay.com account in good standing, (c) have a verified US PayPal account in good standing, (d) have a Microsoft Cashback Program Account in good standing; and (e) comply with the eBay Terms and the Program Terms. In order for your accounts to be in good standing, they must not be limited or suspended. To make a qualifying purchase, you must do all of the following:
- Search for an eBay.com item on www.live.com.
- Click on an eBay.com sponsored advertisement on www.live.com that has the cashback icon a gold circle with a dollar sign, next to the advertisement. When you click on the advertisement, you will begin an online session. Sponsored advertisements typically appear at the top or along the right hand side of the page of a www.live.com search results page in a shaded or colored area of the page.
- Purchase an eligible eBay.com Buy-It-Now item using PayPal within 60 minutes of the time you began the online session. Cashback Rewards will apply only to the first eligible item you commit to buy during an online session. You may make only one qualifying purchase per online session.
- To make additional qualifying purchases, you must repeat each of these steps including initiating a new search on www.live.com.
After your first eligible purchase is completed, you must go to My Messages on eBay.com and look for a message from eBay with "cashback" in the subject line. Click the "Get Cashback" link or button in the message to set up a Cashback Program account with Microsoft by providing all information required by Microsoft (or, if you already have a Cashback Program account, log into your account in order to associate your eBay purchases with that account). Once you have created a Cashback Program account and have logged in to associate your eBay purchases with your account as described above, the Cashback Rewards will be available in your Cashback Program account approximately sixty (60) days after you pay for your qualifying purchase. PayPal in its discretion may decide to pay your Cashback Rewards more quickly on a case by case basis. Cashback rewards are issued to the PayPal account you used to make the qualifying purchase on eBay.com. Only certain items selected by eBay from time to time in its sole discretion will be eligible for Cashback Rewards. eBay will notify you on the purchase review page of the Buy-It-Now transaction process if the item you wish to purchase is not eligible.
Please review the purchase review page carefully before you commit to buy an item. Please note, the following will always be ineligible for Cashback Rewards: purchases that are completed on www.express.ebay.com or www.half.ebay.com; purchases of automobiles or other vehicles; purchases of real estate. Cashback Rewards cannot be transferred or applied to multiple eBay.com accounts. Purchases on eBay.com of gift certificates, gift cards and items acquired for resale will be eligible for Cashback Rewards. eBay may permit you to combine Cashback Rewards with other eBay promotions, coupons, or gift certificates. With the exception of eBay promotions, coupons and gift certificates, Cashback Rewards cannot be combined with any other offer on purchases on www.eBay.com. eBay shall determine in its sole discretion whether your purchase is a qualifying purchase under the eBay Terms. PayPal may disqualify transactions or remove previously paid cash rewards from your PayPal account if you return or cancel a qualifying purchase, participate in any fraud or abuse relating to the Cashback Program (including conducting "sham" transactions or otherwise colluding with merchants, or otherwise), or fail to meet the Program Terms or these eBay Terms. In the event that you receive Cashback Rewards for a purchase that is later determined to be an ineligible purchase, you provide PayPal with the right and authority to remove the Cashback Rewards from your PayPal account, even if it means that your PayPal account will have a negative balance for which you will be liable. Live Search cashback is a Microsoft Corporation program. Cashback Rewards are funded and paid by Microsoft. Neither eBay nor PayPal have any obligations to you regarding Cashback Rewards or your participation in the Cashback Program except as set forth in these eBay Terms. eBay is the official time keeper for determining whether your purchase is made within 60 minutes of the time you initiate an online session. You hereby agree to release eBay Inc. and PayPal, Inc. from any claims, demands and damages arising out of or in any way connected to your participation in the Cashback Program. In addition, you hereby agree to release Microsoft from any claims, demands and damages arising out of the eBay Terms. eBay provides Microsoft with limited information about your eligible purchase (such as the date, time, amount, and item description) when you apply for a Cashback Reward. Microsoft will use this information only to process and manage your Cashback Rewards, and not for any other purpose. eBay may change these terms and conditions from time to time by posting revised terms and conditions on www.eBay.com, and all such changes will be effective when posted.