Attitudes : It Pays to Speak UpApril 2010 By Jeff O'Heir
Any good news in this industry, especially during these unstable times, is worth trumpeting. So hats off to Panasonic for working on a solution to the rebate reimbursement problem that's been dragging CE retailers down for the last several years.
For the full story, see page 18 or go to Dealerscope.com for the back stories. The chain of events leading to Panasonic's announcement is a great example of what happens when buying groups, dealers and anyone else in the industry voice their concern about an ongoing problem that seemingly can't be resolved.
Bob Perry and other executives at Panasonic recognized the problem early on and began working on a fix about a year ago, a short time after Dealerscope ran a cover story that explored the issue. Meanwhile, other manufacturers for the most part have ignored the industry's plea to quicken the time it takes to issue dealers rebates from consumer instant-rebate programs.
Fed up with the problem, Nationwide's Mike Decker and other dealers at the buying group's recent partner conference, told us in blunt terms about their frustrations with having so much of their money tied up by manufacturers for so long. After reading the stories, Perry called us to say that the Panasonic Hub, an automated system designed to deliver the rebate payments within 10 business days, will launch at the beginning of this month.
This series of events, and the resolution from at least one manufacturer, is the culmination of buying group executives and retailers speaking their minds in an attempt to let the entire community know what's hurting the industry. Let's hope more manufacturers step forward to fix their end of the instant-rebate reimbursement problem and other issues that hinder retailers.