Monday, December 7, 2009

Adorama Camera & Bing Cashback

At the moment, responding to queries about Bing cash back seems to be taking up more of my time than almost anything else.

So, what exactly is Bing, and why is it generating so much interest?

Bing is the name of Microsoft's new search engine, launched about 6 months ago, replacing its Live Search / Windows Live Search / MSN Search services. There's an excellent description of it here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing

So far, so good; but what is Bing cash back; how does the consumer get it - who pays it, when and how?

Bing cash back is part of Microsoft's strategy to encourage us to use the Bing search engine, instead of Google, and replacing Yahoo. It's a program which gives you money back when you buy goods from Bing shopping.

Adorama currently pays Microsoft 3% for bing cash back purchases as a referral fee, ie, advertising (although this is subject to change at any time). Microsoft made a strategic decision to return the referral fee to consumers in the form of a discount, in order to encourage them to use the bing search engine in preference to Google etc in the future. (Some other places with cash back (like fatwallet.com) offer to split the referral fees with the purchaser. So Adorama might pay them 3%, and they will subsequently offer 1 or 2% to the buyer and keep the difference.

To be eligible, you must be a US citizen, and at least 18 years old with a valid mailing address in the United States. You will also need a valid Windows Live ID, (if you use Windows Live Messenger for instant messaging, you may already have this).

When you search on Bing shopping for the product(s) you want to buy, you should see listed all the shops that sell it/them, in price order, after Bing cash back has been deducted.
Then you just click on the link, pay for the item, and Bing will email you to confirm that you've earned cash back. After a 30-90 day waiting period (to allow for customer returns), your Bing cash back account will be credited.

Bing Cashback is a different beast from Bing shopping. The Cashback on any item can -and does - change on a daily basis. The real complications seem to arise for customers who go into the Adorama site from Bing Cashback to purchase an item that they have noted is eligible for, say, 10% Cashback. However, this doesn't mean that everything purchased on that occasion is also eligible for 10%.

Some customers have got lucky and found that all the items they've selected are indeed eligible for a higher level of Cashback. Others are disappointed to find that only the original item is eligible for 10%, while other items are eligible for only 3 or 4% - or for no Cashback at all.

The FAQ section, should be able to answer all of your questions:

http://www.bing.com/shopping/pages/faq.aspx?FORM=R5FD3#

Points to be aware of:
You cannot use any coupons, discounts, gift cards, or gift certificates with your purchases through Bing cash back, (including cell phones as part of certain new service plans).

If you have a PayPal or Amazon Payments account to link to, you should receive your cash back faster than if you are reliant upon bank transfers or paper checks, which can take up to 3 additional weeks to process.

If you use a PayPal account you will be eligible for Bing's quick cash back program from some stores, which will enable you to avoid the usual waiting period.

Bing cash back does not work if you are using private browsing features for example in Private Browsing in Internet Explorer 8.

You may experience problems when new tabs or windows are opened, so it is important to stay on the page while you are shopping through Bing.

When a purchase is made by an Adorama customer, you will not receive an immediate email from Bing. This is because we do not charge your card until the item actually ships; the sale is, however, reported to Bing within 72 hours of shipment.

Bing then sends a confirmation email out to the Adorama customer, confirming the
purchase.
Within the email are links that allow the customer to sign up for an account and receive their cash back. (I have included a sample below).

Customer funds will show PENDING for 30 days, representing a bit beyond our return policy, after which those funds become available

If the orders were all placed through Bing then you will get your cash back on all of them; it's fully automated.

The one thing that we can't see is if your order was actually placed via Bing or not; that question would be for Bing.

SAMPLE:
From: cashback@microsoft.com
To: gmobile@hotmail.com
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 22:25:02 -0700
Subject: You've earned cashback from Bing

Hello, XXX!

Thanks for searching, shopping and saving with Bing cash back, the search that pays you back!

From your recent purchases, you have earned cash back savings!

To view the details for this purchase or your other Bing cash back transactions, sign into your cash back account. We'll let you know when you can request your cashback reward!

You earned $1.36 from your Deep Discount purchase on 6/10/2009:

Details
cash back

Deep Discount
Unit price: $33.99
Quantity: 1
$1.36

For more information about Bing cash back, see the cash back FAQ or contact us.

Thanks,
The Bing cashback team

For more information on the BING program, please visit their website at: http://help.live.com/help.aspx?mkt=en-us&project=tou&querytype=topic&query=TOU_CONC_WLSearchCashback.htm


If you have any questions for Bing Customer Service, please use the following link:

https://support.cashback.discoverbing.com/Default.aspx?mkt=en-us

to describe any problems you have with your order information; someone from Microsoft should contact you within 2-3 business days. You will be required to email your order confirmation email or screen shot of the receipt. (They will work directly with us, so you don't have to do anything further).

I have read postings by consumers suggesting that retailers may benefit from cancelling a cash back order. That is not the case; Microsoft uses the referral payments from Adorama to fund the cash back - therefore if Adorama were to state that an order wasn't eligible for cash back some reason, then Microsoft would benefit, not Adorama!


With thanks to Scott Brown from the Customer Service Department at Adorama Camera, for helping me to put this informative piece together.

Helen Oster
Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

helen.oster@adoramacamera.com
www.adorama.com

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