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This holiday season you may find yourself looking for killer online deals for that special technophile in your life. Tiger Direct gets a lot of attention as an inexpensive, although sketchy, retailer of electronics. Its reputation and low-cost owes something to its controversial rebate program, which is partially tied to an antivirus suite known as “Total Defense”.

For example, just recently I purchased an Intel 530 240GB SSD for $99. Although, the price could have come in for as low as $69.99 using an American Express card. I noticed several fairly sketchy things:

First: This deal came with two rebates: One from Total Defense and the other from Intel.

Second: Reviews indicate it suffers from serious issues.

Third: The Total Defense bundle includes a subscription service that bills customers even if they uninstall the software.

Unfortunately, Tiger Direct’s rebates can cause a terrible amount of confusion, damage and cost quite a bit of money. After years of experience with such run-arounds, I’ve documented three of the major pitfalls and how to bypass them. This article covers the three major stumbling blocks to getting rebates paid:

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First: How to bypass clerical issues.

Second: How to avoid installing Tiger Direct’s unfortunate antivirus suite.

Third: How to avoid getting unwanted credit card charges.

Note: There’s some confusion regarding Total Defense. It doesn’t appear to be owned by Tiger Direct, although Tiger appears to be the only retailer that offers their rebates. Also, I don’t advocate signing up for the Tiger’s Total Defense antivirus suite. I do suggest making sure you get your money back.

tiger direct frontpage

Step One: Register and Print Out the Rebate Forms

Laziness will cost you. The first step requires online registration and printing out the rebate and invoice forms. Tiger makes these forms easy to spot when you first buy the item, but difficult to locate a week or two later. They also don’t supply invoices, unless you request them. Thus, the sooner you take care of it all, the better. Before buying an item, make sure to locate and print out the PDF rebate files.

rebate info

Inside the PDF rebate forms are links to the actual rebates which you must print out. After following the link inside of the PDF, you will be directed to register at a third party rebate processor. Complete the forms and then print out the paperwork.

Additionally, you must also print out your invoice. Tiger Direct doesn’t supply these, but a handy way to acquire them is by going to their Order Tracking page and having them email you the invoice. This gives you both a copy of the invoice and an email, which you can easily print out.

invoice tracker

Step Two: Virtualize Total Defense’s Installation

Tiger’s unfortunate antivirus suite Total Defense failed to impress many customers. Reports of lost data, disrupted Internet and more abound. Unfortunately, Tiger requires that you install their software before you can file for the rebate. Rather than installing it, I highly suggest using virtualization software, such as VMware or Virtualbox (our guide to VirtualBox). Virtualization software can install an operating system within an operating system, allowing for easy full-system backups. You can also dump a virtualized installation after evaluating certain software.

Recently Microsoft announced that XP’s availability via download Download Windows XP For Free and Legally, Straight From Microsoft Download Windows XP For Free and Legally, Straight From Microsoft As the years progress and Microsoft moves on from Windows 7 into Windows 8 and beyond, it's certainly starting to feel like Windows XP is just an artifact of the past. But is it? There... Read More , meaning you can now get an XP license for free. Simply put, just install the virtualization software and slap XP on it. Then install Tiger’s antivirus suite to get the activation code. Then dump the entire installation.

virtualbox

I suggest keeping a virtualized copy of XP around, just for the sole purpose of evaluating software. If you don’t like the software, dump the entire installation.

Step Three: Cancel the Regular Payment Schedule

The worst feature of Tiger’s antivirus software is that it will begin charging you $79.99 after the first year elapses, unless you opt out of their program. Those who forget will receive a nasty charge on their credit card. You must unenroll and keep in mind the various exceptions and pitfalls that will cost you the rebate.

Visit Total Defense Website and Unenroll

Yes, Tiger uses a separate website for rebates. To opt out, you must go to the Tiger’s Total Defense website. You can also opt-out at any time, even before the software is activated. I suggest doing that immediately, if you prefer another anti-virus suite. Total Defense hasn’t been well-reviewed.

total defense

Beware!

You can only use the Total Defense rebate a single time. After that, you are no longer eligible for additional rebates. So if you make a purchase, and already cashed in your Total Defense rebate, you won’t receive the money from it. A few key points of caution to remember:

  • If you don’t hear back from Tiger Direct within the allotted amount of time, call them or visit their rebate center.
  • Remember that they have your credit card number. If they don’t, then you won’t be able to receive the activation code.
  • Another concern regarding rebates — once you file them, you no longer can return the item to the vendor. Only the manufacturer’s warranty applies.

Conclusion

Tiger Direct’s Total Defense antivirus package suffers from serious problems. However, as a one-time payment of $60, it can sometimes provide a killer deal. Just don’t fall for their tricks – make sure you file on time by printing out the PDFs early. Also, it helps to use virtualization to avoid an uninstallation process and potential damage to your system. Finally, remember to cancel their renewal service otherwise you’ll receive a bill within a year.

Image Credits: Tiger Cub via MorgueFile

  1. video
    February 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    They just declined my rebate on TotalDefense product. I had no idea that they are affiliated with this fake antivirus "vendor". The reason was that they claim that I didn't send the receipt/invoice, which was not sent to me by TigerDirect initially. I had request it later. However, when I re-submitted the rebate, they claim that I'm too late.

    This shows all signs of a scam operation. I think it's time for authorities to look at their practice with rebates. Interestingly, they accepted one of my rebates in the same order bundle, while both rebates had the same documentation. So, they declined the same document in one rebate, but accepted in another. How ridiculous is this?

    • Kannon Y
      February 1, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      That sucks. I'm sorry.

      They did something similar to me, twice. Both times it due to processing errors on their part, but both times they sent me the money after I called in. It helped that I kept backups of all my documents and would be able to prove that they caused the problem, if they asked. Fortunately, they also kept backups of all my documents.

      Their policy is to allow (IIRC) thirty days additional time after they reject the rebate. You get one more try - if they reject it the second time, then it's gone for good. Time issues are the exception for this rule - if you are outside of the rebate period (oftentimes 60-days) they automatically void your rebate. Timing is of the essence.

      How quickly did you submit and resubmit the rebate? It should like they're not observing their own policy, in which case you would need to escalate the matter to a manager. They still might pay out.

  2. A41202813GMAIL
    December 26, 2013 at 4:42 am

    Is ( TD ) Saying They Have Nothing To Do With It ?

    Sorry, I Do Not Buy It.

    The Flying Theory Is, They Are Afraid Of DDOS Attacks From Outside UNCLE SAM, And Have Chosen To Deny Some Traffic, Plain And Simple.

    Thank You.

    • Kannon Y
      December 26, 2013 at 4:47 am

      That's possible. I would imagine that they'd want as much business as possible, though. Hopefully this issue is resolved soon though. I can lodge a complaint with them if you wish.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      December 26, 2013 at 5:18 am

      I Would Appreciate That Very Much.

      Thank You.

    • Kannon Y
      December 26, 2013 at 6:27 am

      Complaint filed. I'll let you know if they respond. I write quite a few of these emails each month and rarely receive a response to complaints. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      December 26, 2013 at 6:42 am

      You Are Very Gracious.

      Happy Holidays.

    • Kannon Y
      December 28, 2013 at 2:18 am

      They said that they had no clue what was happening. They then said to clear cache and cookies. :-(

      I'm pretty sure that the ISPs are blocking them. Sorry that their customer support is so bad.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      December 28, 2013 at 4:59 am

      Thank You.

      Are You Talking About ISPs In UNCLE SAM Country Or Abroad ?

    • Kannon Y
      December 28, 2013 at 6:25 am

      Likely your local telecom. It appears that not everyone in your location is getting blocked, but many are. My best guess is that it's specific to your ISP. But it's possible the fault could be elsewhere. Good luck!

    • A41202813GMAIL
      December 28, 2013 at 7:05 am

      As I Said, I Tried It With A Family Of Mine.

      Different ISP, Same Result.

      Thank You.

  3. A41202813GMAIL
    December 22, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Is ( TD ) Not Allowing IP Addresses, Out Of UNCLE SAM, To Browse Their Site ?

    They Keep Sending Me Newsletters, I, Obviously, Can Not Follow Completely.

    It Started A Few Weeks Ago.

    Yes, I Used Other Browsers.

    Yes, I Cleaned My Cookies.

    No, No Other Sites Seem To Have This Problem.

    Any Feedback Will Be Greatly Appreciated.

    Thank You.

    • Kannon Y
      December 25, 2013 at 2:02 am

      Have you tried using a different computer or mobile device? I think they are a US-only retailer, though.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      December 25, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Hello,

      Yes, I Tried Other Computer Inside The Home Of Some Family Of Mine.

      Same Thing.

      Until Several Weeks Ago, ( TD ) Was My Main Site For Browsing Hardware.

      Thank You For Responding.

    • Kannon Y
      December 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      It seems Tiger Direct is not even sure why:

      https://www.facebook.com/TigerDirect/posts/10151395710133639

      And the blocking appears to be going on in many other countries. I wish I could help more. Sorry that the ISPs are filtering.

  4. jason
    December 21, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Tiger is still the nest place for barebones kits. You pay what you would have paid anywhere else, and 6-8 months later you get a few surprise rebate cards in the mail.

    Whenever I price out anything, mail in rebates don't get included. Sometimes I forget about them, sometimes they just don't show up. Either way, they come months after you get yer stuff, so it's not very attractive to spend $50 more to get $100 back way down the line.

  5. Jack
    December 21, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Tiger Direct has been my prefered vendor for years. I have never had a problem with any of their rebates.

    • Sam
      March 5, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Yup. Same experience Jack. Believe it has to do with ID 10 T error

  6. Qwertinsky
    December 21, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Just say no no rebates!

  7. dlc
    December 20, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Why do business with crooks in the first place.

    • Kannon Y
      December 21, 2013 at 12:44 am

      I wouldn't call them crooks for legal reasons, but I would agree that their rebate program is hurting them more than it helps find new customers.

      That said, Tiger Direct has paid every single rebate I've filed for. On the one occasion that I did file my forms incorrectly, they allowed me to remedy the situation over the phone. It was tedious, but they do pay the rebates.

    • dlc
      December 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

      I stopped doing business with Tiger Direct years ago. They abuse your personal info by selling it to several spam companies and very sneakily signing you up for recurring payments for crap they sneak in on you. Companies that do this dishonest crap should go out of business. JUST DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH CROOKS.

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