Warning: Ebates Is Freezing Accounts & Clawing Back Office Depot In-Store Cashback for Visa Gift Cards

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Ebates Office Depot In-Store Cashback Clawbacks

Before I begin and not related to this post, we are partnering with Ebates to giveaway a $100 Visa gift card. The drawing is still going on for another few days and you can register to win by clicking below. With that out of the way, lets start.

Register to win a $100 Visa here.

Ebates Double Cashback Promo

Ebates often has generous promotions making them one of my go to portals. For example, a few weeks ago they offered doubled cashback for in-store purchases at a variety of stores including Office Depot. This promotion just happened to coincide with Office Depot’s Visa gift card instant rebate deal, meaning that in some ways the heavens aligned. But as Admiral Ackbar famously said (RIP):

Ebates Office Depot In-Store Cashback Clawbacks

Unfortunately Ebates excludes gift card purchases in the terms for Office Depot in-store cash back. Here are the terms.

Earn Cash Back when you shop with your linked card at all participating Office Depot stores. Maximum Cash Back per qualifying transaction is $5.00. Debit card purchases must be processed as credit in order to be eligible for Cash Back. When using your debit card, do not enter your PIN. Offer not valid for gift card purchases. In-Store offers not valid for online purchases and may not be combined with other Ebates rewards. US stores only. Offer not valid at locations in US territories. Offer may be displayed on multiple websites but is redeemable only once per qualifying transaction. 

Note the two areas highlighted in bold above. First, the $5 limit didn’t exist when they ran this promo indicating they got hit hard with cashback claims and thus added it. Second, they do clearly say gift cards are excluded, however people have reported that gift card purchases often track. But now it seems like Ebates is cracking down.

Account Inactive

Earlier today Ryan one of the moderators of our Facebook group, reported that he couldn’t login and that the site said his account was inactive. A few other members who participated in the deal also reported the same thing. Finally someone called Ebates and found out their account had been referred to “another department” for handling. Uh-oh.

That same person later reported that their account was re-activated after they received this message.

Ebates Office Depot In-Store Cashback Clawbacks

When this member’s account was reactivated, something else was different. Every single dollar of cashback earned from Office Depot purchases was gone. Completely gone.

Analysis

I find the last line in their email above a little disturbing since they should be the ones policing this and not putting it on the consumer to make sure they don’t buy excluded items with a linked card. Of course my guess is that they simply haven’t implemented the technology required to do this.

Clearly Office Depot and Ebates are entitled to claw back this money given the terms and it doesn’t seem like they are being unfriendly about it either. With that said, it always sucks to suddenly discover that your account is frozen and a proactive email could have avoided that. Unfortunately it seems that they are reviewing accounts with a lot of cashback and most likely will claw back everything.

Conclusion

On one hand this is good news because Ebates seemingly hasn’t permanently blocked members from their accounts, but on the other hand I suspect many of you will be losing a lot of money that you thought you were getting back.

Have you had your account frozen by Ebates? Let us know in the comments!


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12 COMMENTS

  1. Yikes. I’m still showing a Cash Back Balance of $47.36 (4 x $11.84) from making four VGC purchases at OD recently. I guess it’ll be a matter of time before they claw that back.

  2. I don’t understand the quoted reply from eBates – cashback is not available from store pick up orders. Are they saying you can only get cash back from an in-store purchase if you don’t take it home with you? That you make the purchase in-store but then have to get them to ship it? That seems crazy.

  3. read carefully: “the merchant” (OD) has begun to revoke the transactions…so don’t blame Ebates, blame OD if anybody. They should be aware of this by now, but their IT probably doesn’t support sorting out the transactions in advance of submitting to Ebates, instead some marketing analyst probably saw their budget for affiliate marketing blow up and wondered WTF?

  4. I stopped using ebates in q1 2017 .. did a Black Friday deal for a hosting company and referred a friend. They shit us both down because the hosting company reported abuse … I tried for weeks to get my account reinstated but they said I had too many merchants deny cash back and was thus a liability for them

  5. “I find the last line in their email above a little disturbing since they should be the ones policing this and not putting it on the consumer to make sure they don’t buy excluded items with a linked card.”

    Give me break, the last line isn’t at all disturbing. People tried to game the system, when clearly giftcards were excluded, and have been excluded for some time. If you take advantage of something and/or try to exploit a loophole, you run the risk of getting shut down. It’s not like these people did it one time or opted into the offer one time, to really hit this deal hard you have to re-link it after every purchase. So someone doing that multiple times per day to the tune of hundreds of dollars in cash back is an obvious red flag. So yeah, don’t game the system again or you will be banned, seems easy enough.

  6. my ebates not able to log in, only made 120$ from OD/OM linked cards, now lost those plus some $20 legit balance/credit there, too bad. i am going to sign up anew acct later

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