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Computer retailer settles with Fla.

Bill McCollum, Florida’s attorney general

Bill McCollum, Florida’s attorney general Photo Credit: AP

Bill McCollum, Florida’s attorney general, said Long Island computer retailer Systemax Inc. — on behalf of its subsidiaries TigerDirect and Onrebate — has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle claims that it failed to pay advertised rebates to customers.

Systemax must also make good on the numerous rebates it promised customers but failed to fulfill, the Florida AG’s office said.

Systemax also had to promise to not throw away the rebate forms and other documents sent in by consumers attempting to claim a promised payment. “Consumer complaints reported that the rebate program was very difficult to navigate and often led to consumers giving up their rights to rebates,” McCollum, above left, said in a statement.

TigerDirect customers filed numerous complaints saying the seller was “falsely representing to consumers they would receive the rebates in approximately 8-10 weeks” when in fact the company did not pay within that time, the Florida AG’s office said.

The Florida AG’s economic crimes division began investigating the companies in April 2007. Its initial complaint against Systemax was filed in August 2008.

“The settlement specifically requires Systemax and its subsidiaries to process rebates in the time advertised and to initiate procedures that allow for the proper handling of rebate submissions,” McCollum said.

Systemax will pay $200,000 to Florida to reimburse it for legal and investigative costs, and will give $100,000 to a charity, the Florida Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. The charity will use the money to buy computers.

Systemax did not admit it did anything wrong.

Richard Leeds, chief executive of the company, said in a news release, "We are pleased to have resolved this matter. The Florida AG investigated the matter thoroughly and found no wrongdoing on the part of the company, any of its subsidiaries or any of its employees."

At stake was a total of $80 million in rebates, which the company says it has now paid. However, the Florida AG demanded a spreadsheet listing those individual payments to customers.

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