New Year, Same Old CyberRebate Nonsense

The Enron bankruptcy — all US$60 billion of it, complete with political shockwaves and thousands of evaporating pensions — should put the dot-com devastation into perspective. And for most of us, it probably does. After all, even e-commerce flameout champion Webvan couldnt nose over the $1 billion bar.

But size apparently doesn’t matter as much as one might think. For sheer volume of self-pity and vitriol, there is still nothing that can touch CyberRebate.

Happy Anniversary

It’s been more than nine months since CyberRebate abruptly folded up shop, leaving hundreds of shoppers in the lurch. You know the shoppers in question: They’re the ones who spent $150 for DVDs based on a promise that they’d get almost all of their money back.

To hear former CyberRebate customers describe it, as they do endlessly in online forums, they are the ones whose life savings and retirement accounts went up in smoke, the ones whose former CEO is bashfully pleading the Fifth before Congress.

In reality, CyberRebate victims have found plenty of other scapegoats to blame as the bankruptcy proceeding creeps forward at a turtle’s pace. Many already have begun to recover their losses by suing credit card companies.

Cyber Chatterboxes

The most active message board has been marked recently by occasional success stories of former CyberRebate customers foisting their own foolhardy purchasing decisions onto their credit card companies.

A round of cyber-cheers went up on the board when the Feds shut down NextBank, a unit of NextCard. Some posters said they hope other credit card companies will be next. In fact, wishing for the demise of various credit card companies is a recurrent theme on the boards, as if forcing others to endure the same misery will somehow help CyberRebate’s victims get their money back.

In fact, given the lengths to which the company’s former customers are going — easily witnessed in the play-by-play of a dozen court cases nationwide — it seems pretty obvious that it’s no longer about money at all, but revenge.

Bitter Lessons

This brings us back to other bankruptcies, notably the Enron debacle. While I’m sure they’d all secretly love to wring the necks of their executives, the bulk of Enron employees have behaved admirably.

I watched one woman calmly talk about how her life savings had been plundered and how her retirement had to be pushed back years to make up for the losses. And she did so without a hint of bitterness.

It’s hard to imagine, really. Maybe she and others from Enron are still in shock. Then again, maybe they’re just adults who realize that it won’t do any good to sit around and sulk or scan the horizon for potential scapegoats. What happened happened.

And the funny thing is, the vast majority of Enron employees don’t bear any culpability. They didn’t know that books were being cooked like five-course meals in the executive suite.

Stuck in a Rut

The same can’t be said about CyberRebate’s victims. To their credit, many do recognize that they got a bit greedy. One poster suggested the victims’ group hold a planned meeting in Las Vegas, since all the site’s customers had a little gambler in them.

It will be a year in May since CyberRebate went bankrupt, but many of those who were burned seem unable to move on. Some have learned enough about bankruptcy and fraud law to pass the bar exam. Others have fought credit card companies and won — no easy task and a feat to be applauded.

Most still can’t pass up an opportunity to wash their hands of any responsibility for their lost money, though. Their anger and resentment was justified, but only to a point.

They may have memorized the bankruptcy code, but many of them still have a lot to learn.

What do you think? Let’s talk about it.

Note: The opinions expressed by our columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the E-Commerce Times or its management.


  • Mr. Regan-

    You say in your article:

    “the ones whose former CEO is bashfully pleading the Fifth before Congress.”

    I would just like to know IS THIS TRUE? If so, WHERE did you get that information.


    • I didn’t buy anything from Cyberrebate, but if I had, I would expect my credit card to protect me. You certainly have an elitist attitude about the situation Mr. Regan, but I’m pretty sure you’d be calling if you got ripped off. These people were promised products and then a rebate. They didn’t get it. Their card holder agreement should be honored. How did Cyberrebate get a merchant account in the first place? And the credit card companies were openly promoting using their cards to make purchases at Cyberrebate so they could collect the interest. How can you blame these people? I’d be in line at the court house myself.

      • Wow, mister, where I come from your posts would be considered fighting words. Did you stop to catch your breath before you began writing, or did you just launch into a 150-word diatribe about nothing?

        You could have summed everything up by saying something like: “Mr. Regan, your opinion piece is poorly thought out and does not cover all of the facts. We are not interested in anything but recovering what was lost blah blah blah.”

        Of course, if you did not have the sense to use CyberRebate, than it shouldn’t be expected that you would spare us board denizens the recycled tripe we have already read.

        • Gosh Jack…so you’re suggesting that perhaps NotaReganFan cut to the chase with his/her point much in the same way that Mr. Regan could have made HIS point by simply stating that it seems that even after 9 months CyberRebate victims are still wallowing in self pity and really should just move beyond the incident and get on with their lives? (his opinion, NOT mine) Oh, but then I guess there wouldn’t have been any misguided, ignorant article to publish. If Mr. Regan is entitled to post HIS “recycled tripe we (CyberRebate victims) have already read”, than why shouldn’t NotaReganFan have the same entitlement? Actually it seems to make far more sense for NotaReganFan to do so because s/he has had something at stake. I can’t imagine what Mr. Regan’s motivation was, other than obviously being hard up for a topic to write about. And on TOP of everything else, the article is so full of holes it is a literary disgrace.

          • Mr. Regan … ahhh, I mean “Jack” (whatever you want to be called today), I still would like to answer this hypothetical situation:

            If you took your car into the repair shop for work, and while it was there, the repair shop went out of business, locked their doors with your car inside, wouldn’t you try everything you could to try to get your car back?

            It IS the same thing we’re doing. Laws are set in place to protect us. We’re ONLY trying to make the credit card companies adhere to the laws. I see nothing wrong with that.

            Do you?

          • The reality is that I could care less what you or Regan or anyone else says about this matter. All I did was comment upon things.

            Although if you want to start digging into the heart of the matter, unless you are employed by the E-Commerce Times, you and the other cybercry babies do not really have the right to publish anything on the site, although thanks to the beauty of the net you could set up your own web site and say whatever you want about the issue.

            I haven’t been able to find out who owns this publication, but I would imagine that they really do not have any interest in giving you a free platform within the main body to spew your rhetoric.

            You said that you can’t imagine why Regan wrote about the issue, well it seems to me that he has done a fine job in stimulating conversation. Maybe that was the motivation, or maybe it’s merely because his job is to write opinion pieces, which is what this article was, opinion. Most opinion pieces are not held to the same standards as other news.

          • Gee Jack, for someone who couldn’t care less about what I, Mr. Regan or anyone else thinks, I find it interesting that you would feel compelled to respond to posts here not once, but TWICE.

            I was never suggesting that any of us “cybercry babies” have the right to publish an actual article on Newsfactor. I was merely speaking to people’s right in general to express their point of view regardless of how lengthy what they have to say might be. Why should NotaReganFan anymore deserve idle criticism for launching into a lengthy “diatribe about nothing” than Mr. Regan? Wouldn’t it have been a lot simpler and made more sense to have just skipped NotaReganFan’s diatribe than to not only read it, but find it necessary to respond to it, and in so doing insult not only the post but the poster as well? There’s a difference between claiming to merely be commenting on something and thinking it’s okay to insult people whom you know nothing about because you can hide behind a keyboard and fairytale nickname. What motivates people such as yourself to do this has always mystified me.


          • …(Cont’d)…

            I’m so sick and tired of arrogant, self righteous Monday morning quarterbacks such as yourself and Mr. Regan forming opinions about and passing judgement on CyberRebate customers and how they’re dealing with CyberRebate’s bankruptcy when undoubtedly all you really know of the situation is what you’ve learned from brief e-zine articles.

            I AM the founder and one of the managers of the forum that Mr. Regan so “admiringly” refers to in his article. As for being a “cybercry baby”, I believe I’m anything but. Sure I was angry, but I channeled that into forming the forum so that others in the same boat could help one another toward getting their money back. We’ve learned a great deal from one another, formed lasting friendships, and many of us (myself included) have been able to recover our money. And more and more continue to as time goes on. There are far more small claims cases being won than lost. So to hell with sitting on our duffs, resigning ourselves to our losses and “moving on”. And there’s a BIG difference between whining and complaining about a futile situation and taking the bull by the horns and going after what is rightfully ours.

          • Gee Reenboe,

            I AM touched by your honest appraisal of my posts, and your insightful commentary. I have never been called a Monday Morning Quarterback, as a matter of fact I always played Offensive and Defensive line positions. The QB takes too many hits, your body just doesn’t hold up, but that is a side issue.

            You may be sick of commentary about CyberRebate customers and their inability to deal with bankruptcy. Personally I AM sick of the whining and crocodile tears issued by people like yourself. No one deserves to be ripped off, but life is a risk that we all take. To use your terms, sometimes you take the bull by the horns and sometimes the horns stab you in the a**. Deal with it.

            So you established a forum and made friends, that’s nice. Do you have a group cheer or slogan? Maybe a sleepover would be nice.

            Life is not always fair and does not always require “justice” via court cases. I AM sick of having to pay more because a group of whiny, sniveling, self-indulgent and self-absorbed people think that they have been wronged and use the court to press their waste-of-time case.

          • From the East, To the West, CRRA is the best! We’re gonna B-E-A-T beat ’em, B-U-S-T bust ’em, Beat ’em, Bust ’em That’s our custom, We are gonna readjust ’em! …Oh, and like Mr. Regan mentioned, the sleepover is in Las Vegas…this summer. All joking aside, you’re right…life is NOT always fair and DOESN’T always require justice via court cases. But sometimes it DOES, and obviously this is one of those times because it’s being substantiated time and again by all of the judges ruling in favor of CyberRebate customers. If we only “think” we were wronged, none of the credit card disputes or court cases would have been won (HARDLY a waste of time). Where did you get YOUR law degree? You’re just sore Beav cuz ya think we should’ve had to learn some kind of lesson. But it’s not like we had purchased stolen hubcaps from “Guido the trenchcoat-wearing hustler” in some back alley in East L.A. or bet on a cock fight through some bookie.

            CyberRebate was an established, highly publicized BUSINESS that every credit card company allowed purchases to be made from. We are now simply holding them to their obligation to protect us under the laws that exist to enforce that obligation. NotAReganFan’s example couldn’t have been MORE fitting. I’m not whining OR shedding any crocodile tears. Why should I?…I got every red cent back without ever even having to file a small claims suit. Oh, and my a** is just fine thank you! In your words, deal with it.

          • Sorry, I AM not Keith Regan. I don’t know the man, and know nothing about him beyond what he writes.

            Your example would be good if I agreed that it corresponded with your situation, but it does not.

            I still think that some people are shirking responsibility for accepting a risk here. I don’t condone CyberRebate’s actions, but I don’t think that the response from your group is all that smart either. If I were a betting man I would lay money down that some of the members of your forum do not agree with you either, but figure that they have nothing to lose in trying to get their money back.

          • …oh, so just because you don’t agree that the example corresponds with our situation makes it so? I think it’s more a matter of your not wanting it to or not wanting to accept that it does. It’s a perfect example. And there are plenty of small claims court judges who would agree by virtue of the rate at which they are ruling in favor of many a CyberRebate customer. And obviously their opinion is of far more value ($) than yours. Our response is not smart? Uh, let’s see…don’t fight back, lose a heap of dough. Fight back, get money back. If fighting back is dumb, I don’t wanna be smart! You truly must be nuts if you think we should’ve gone, “aw golly gursh…I shoulda knowed better. Dadgumit! I guess I’m just gonna have to accept this ‘spensive lesson cuz I wuz such a durn gullible sucker”. Puhleeze!

            Regarding members of our forum not agreeing with us? With 3,000 members, you’re probably right. We know that there are some that didn’t even make purchases from CyberRebate. So your point is???…We shouldn’t invite them to the sleepover? Awww, but we’re such a warm, accepting group of people. We’d probably even invite YOU if you promised to play nice! And if you were lucky you might even win the BIG door prize…a lifetime supply of dead Plenticell Batteries, courtesy of none-other than CyberRebate!

          • You just don’t get it, Reenboe. Insurance companies settle cases all the time because they don’t want to risk having to pay more, even though they may be right.

            Just because Judge Judy agrees with some of you, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the world has to agree too, nor does it always mean that the plaintiff is right. Sometimes it just means that the defendant couldn’t marshal the resources to put up an effective defense.

            When you go to Vegas, try to remember that you can’t sue the casino because you don’t win at the blackjack table.

          • We wouldn’t dream of it . . . unless the casinos put it in writing!!!

            (CyberRebate DID put it in writing – my order confirmations say “free” no less than 3 times per e-mail! Not “maybe free”, not buy it, and you’ll “gamble if it’s free”. Just plain “FREE”.)

            Everyone knows the score in Vegas – they call it gambling! There IS a big difference, and we all know what that is. If you didn’t purchase anything from CyberRebate, then you probably don’t know their slogan “CyberRebate, Land of the Free” and “CyberRebate, where EVERYTHING comes with a rebate!” It’s quite a bit more detailed than what Mr. Regan would have his readers believe. It was a well planned fraud (or Ponzi scheme) and we are innocent victims.

          • Also, Jack, to redirect. Small claims court judges ARE ruling in our favor. (Yes, some Credit Cards are settling out of court – those would prove your point that “they don’t want to risk having to pay more, even though they may be right”.) But, I went to small claims court agaist my credit card company (and yes, they had a lawyer there!), I cited state and federal laws, and I WON the verdict.

            They didn’t settle, they LOST. They were in the wrong!

          • What the rest of the world thinks is irrelevant. If Judge Judy is presiding over my case, it’s what SHE thinks and what SHE decides that matters because SHE’S the one who is going to determine what my credit card company has to do or not do. She is the bottom line (this is all hypothetical, of course, since I never had to go to court).

            Frankly, I don’t think it’s an issue of right or wrong because there are always going to be those who think we should have had to eat our losses and those who are going to think that we didn’t get what we contracted for and thus the credit card companies had a responsibility to cover us under the law. And while some credit card companies may be honoring disputes based upon not wanting to risk having to pay more (in my case it was because they misled me and omitted important information during the dispute process which I was able to prove), there are those like Juniper Mastercard that recognized and readily acknowledged the validity of the disputes. So, between those and the judges who are ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, who are we to argue? And I’m sorry…if a major credit card corporation can’t marshall the resources to put up an effective enough defense against Joe “Littleman” to be able to win, then I have to believe that no defense existed. They couldn’t have had a leg to stand on. Wouldn’t you think that if they were going to risk additional loss by going to trial rather than merely settling beforehand that they would be as prepared as possible? (Cont’d)…

          • (Cont’d)…

            We’re talking about unchartered waters, unprecedented circumstances with regard to the whole Cyberrebate debacle. And if there is any precedent to be set and true right or wrong to be established with regard to (G*d forbid) any future such circumstances, they’re being established as we speak through the court cases that are happening every day.

            So exactly why do you care so much about this issue anyway, Jack? Do you spend equal time monitoring department stores for shoplifters because you’re worried about how they’re going to jack up >>no pun intended<< the price you pay for underwear? Last I heard it's no crime nor is it immoral to dispute a credit card charge, so if my credit card company decides to honor my dispute, so be it.

          • JackBenimble, I’m just curious. I don’t understand your point of view at all. Are you saying you believe these people should just accept the money they lost, and not try and get it back? If that’s the case, it seems pretty ludicrous. Cyberrebate was a pretty large company promoted by other large corporations, and cardholders were encouraged and directed to the Cyberrebate site by a lot of the credit card companies themselves. Are you saying these people shouldn’t try and force the credit cards to honor the cardholder’s agreement? I’m just having trouble believing someone who’s intelligent enough to write reasonably well would think that’s even an option. Whether or not you think they were fools for spending at Cyberrebate, why wouldn’t they take every action possible to get their money back? Wouldn’t it be stupid not to?

          • Reenboe,

            The truth is that I just happened to get involved. Blame me for adding to the mishugoss if you will, but I AM interested in trying to eliminate some of the unnecessary chaos and confusion that can be caused when people think that they have been wronged.

            Some of it is just, but much is just mud that people sling at the wall hoping that it will stick.

            And yes I AM interested in preventing shoplifting, insurance fraud and anything else that causes higher rates and fees. If the meshugehnehs of the world want to band together, that’s fine, but there needs to be a balance to their noise. Someone needs to remind people that sometimes mistakes cost money, there are limits.

          • Narf…(NotaReganFan 🙂 …. I’m not sure but I think that Mr. Regan might be referring to Enron’s CEO in that statement as opposed to our “good friend” Joel Granik.

          • Reenboe-

            You could be right, but if he was referring to Enron, he might want to clarify that paragraph.

            (What the hell IS he saying??? Hard to believe this guy makes a living writing!)


            “To hear former CyberRebate customers describe it, as they do endlessly in online forums, they are the ones whose life savings and retirement accounts went up in smoke, the ones whose former CEO is bashfully pleading the Fifth before Congress.”


            “To hear former CyberRebate customers describe it, as they do endlessly in online forums – one would think THEY were the ones whose life savings and retirement accounts went up in smoke, & whose former CEO is bashfully pleading the Fifth before Congress, and not Enron.”

  • I would say it is a terrible comparison between Enron and Cyberrebate. Enron is about bad business, investing, and retirement accounts. It is also not about dot-coms. The Enron debacle is also far from over. A lot of people are waiting (and hoping?) to see what Uncle Sam is going to do. One or two ex-employees’ view on the matter is also not indicative of the whole.

    Cyberrebate seems to be about laws surrounding credit cards, and consumer rights and protection. As far as government agency intervention, there seems to be none and thus the mess as far as the company itself is pretty much over. I’ve read that Miss Cleo is soon to get her day in court (yeah!), where’s the help for these people?

  • So what would you have us do? Just take our losses and move on? WHY? You would not fight if you had been WRONGED? Hypothetical: If you took your car into the repair shop for work, and while it was there, the repair shop went out of business, locked their doors with your car inside, wouldn’t you try everything you could to try to get your car back? Or would you just “move on”? How is what we

    are doing any different? Why are we so wrong? (I’m having a really hard time seeing your viewpoint).

    You think was a risk for us. But remember, was supposedly making money by selling the surveys we filled out, and from those who would not bother to send in their rebates. They had been in business for over 2 years and mailed out countless rebates just fine! Why wouldn’t we believe they could do it? Yes, in retrospect, there were signs – but did YOU see them? Did you report your findings to the Attorney General’s office and report them as

    conducting a fraudulent business? No??? But you somehow thought WE should have known better?

    One more thing, Mr. Regan . . . “revenge”, my ass! It’s about “justice”, buddy. There’s some more research for


    justice – 1. Quality of being just. 2. The principal of practice of just dealing, rectitude, integrity. 3. Uprightness; equitableness; fairness.

    revenge – To inflict harm or injury in return for.

    We only want what was contracted for. That is not revenge. This is justice. It is

    right. It is fair. It’s American!

  • Unfortunately, Mr. Regan is one of those reporters who is very bad at research. A good reporter does hours of research before he writes a scathing article criticizing anyone. He apparently did none, other than read some of the posts at CRRA (I AM a member). He read the one on the “union” party, but failed to read about the illegal activities of some of our charge cards. If he did do his research (and yes, I hope Mr. Regan is reading this), he would know that this great country of ours has LAWS set in place to protect consumers from FRAUD. Even our credit cards have laws they are supposed to follow. That’s what we are doing, trying to make the credit card companies follow the laws. Is that so bad?

    Mr. Regan, I challenge you to do your research (do you know how to run a google search?). Try reading The Fair Credit Billing Act, Truth In Lending Act, Regulation Z, your charge card cardmember agreement and any other reporter’s story on the CR scam. Would you also like to read the magistrate’s decision from my small claims court case? He thought my charge card company should follow the law. You and your kind disturb me. It does not make you look wise or superior when you put others down.

  • Please research the law on sales and credit cards before you ramble about customers who were scammed by CyberRebate. Your article is not worth 2 cents and is purley personal opinion.

  • your article stunk. why don’t you try to find out the real story before you go and judge other people? we were promised something and did not get it. period. if you purchased something with a credit card and did not get it, you would dispute the charge with your credit card company too(unless you are foolish). the credit card companies have been jerking people around and lying to them, and they should be taken to court. I hope this experience will force credit card comapanies to take a closer look at the type of companies they deal with. Amex, Visa, MC, and Discovery sure did not mind raking in the extra bucks they got off the transactions with Cyberrebate, but now you think they should not be held responsible when this company defrauded us?

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