Staples and VISA headed in the wrong direction

We buy a lot of office supplies at Staples. As a result we sometimes get mail-in-rebates. Here is the problem – after a couple of weeks after submitting for the last mail-in-rebate we received a rebate envelope from Staples expecting the usual check.

Inside however was a plastic credit card with VISA’s logo on it. The letter enclosed explained that this was our rebate (for the royal sum of $10) and that we could use the card everywhere VISA is accepted. That’s great, but….

The card balance cannot be replenished, it is made of plastic and will eventually add to the landfills and Staples and VISA give us a moment at the register when we have to explain to the cashier that they should please process the card for $10 of our purchase and we will pay the rest in either cash or with another card. Hands up for how many people think that will not be a smooth operation in most stores!?

What we would love to know is what the reasoning behind this change in refund set-up is? Did VISA pay Staples to get exposure, did someone think consumers are inconvenienced by taking the usual check to the bank, or why on earth would you not make the card replenishable either online or in Staples stores? Why not add discounts to the card if used at Staples, etc. It seems many opportunities are not addressed and we are just left with more plastic in our wallets and an increased likelihood that the rebate will not be taken advantage of as we bail on dealing with using this inconvenient card.

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