The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has forced HP to change its cash-back and gift promotion systems.
The change comes after the regulatory body received more than 190 complaints about the technology vendor’s delays in providing the promised rewards for PC and printer purchases.
The ACCC first approached HP about the issue in late 2008 and said the vendor had cooperated fully by implementing a voluntary and approved change to its systems.
According to the ACCC, HP has created a new claims procedure, included clearer timeframes for the scheme, implemented a new complaints system and updated its website to specifically include information for scorned cash-back customers.
“Cash-back offers are popular with consumers, so it is very important that companies making such offers treat consumers fairly,” ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuels, said in a statement.
“The ACCC will look to enforcement action where it considers a trader has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to cash-back or prize offers and is unable to resolve the ACCC's concerns.”
According to a statement released by HP, the vendor dumped its previous third-party service provider as part of the solution.
"We have moved to a new service provider, Crossmark, for the management of reward fulfilment, and have worked with them to develop an online claim process," the statement said. But despite the changes, the vendor admitted the average cash-back submission will take 40 days starting from when the payment is validated by HP.
"HP has a policy of 75 days as the maximum period for cash-back claims to be fulfilled, if the customer has met the promotion requirements," HP stated.