My Ethical Dilemma

If I order something for someone else who doesn’t use the Internet, and I go through Ebates or MyPoints, am I stealing from that person by taking the rebates or points for myself?

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I recently started using Ebates and MyPoints again. I used them faithfully years ago, when I had less money but more time to find the best deals.

My boss doesn’t use computers, so she brings in her catalogs with the corner of the page turned down. She gets a lot of catalogs in the mail, from places like Collections, Etc., Chefs, Lakeside Collection, Miles Kimball and other similar places. I have to tell you I find myself getting caught up in the excitement and sometimes I order from the catalogs, too. The last time I ordered from Lakeside Collection. I ordered these cute camisole sets and some undergarments. As it turned out, they didn’t fit me and they were also very cheaply made. I ended up sending them back. Thankfully the company paid for return shipping.

In addition to ordering for her personally, I also do a majority of ordering of office supplies for our company.

So potentially, I could make a lot of “rebates” back from Ebates, and garner a lot of MyPoints.

Yesterday, she asked me to order $250 from Chefs. I went to Ebates and they are giving a 6% rebate. I went back and forth in my mind for some time about what I should do. Should I sign her up for her own account? BTW, I also handle her work email. I could sign her up and she’d make $5, then I’d make $5 for referring her. And then she’d get $15 back on top of that.

I hadn’t thought it through that far yesterday, and I just decided to go ahead and use my account and then I could give her the $15 once it comes back if I changed my mind. Too bad I didn’t think further, because between the two of us we could have made $25, instead of $15. Of course she would have made $20, and I would have made the $5 from referring her.

So my dilemma is, it feels like I’m stealing money from her! If she would do this ordering herself, and use Ebates, she could get the money back herself. But since I know about it, shouldn’t I help her out?

When it’s smaller amounts, like 2% on a $24 purchase, I don’t have that twinge of guilt.

Now on the other hand, one of our managers uses his personal credit card all the time to gain rewards. Not for company use, either. He’ll charge big dollar items – we’re talking $10,000 worth of electronic equipment, to his own personal credit card, and gets the rewards back for it. He doesn’t turn around and give the rewards back to the company. The reason he uses his card is our company cards have much lower limits. The manager before him told me he got airline miles so his family (mom, dad and 6 children) could go on vacation.

But my boss is elderly, and she’s in hock up to her neck with credit card debt. Every time she asks me to buy something for her, she uses a different card. I think this latest spending spree is because she’s expecting her stimulus check to arrive any day.

I can’t stop ordering for her, that would be an easy answer. Should I just set up an account for her and order using her account, and also set up an account for the company? It’s not like I’m doing this ordering on my own time. But the other guy who orders gains rewards… what should I do? Just look at it as a finder’s fee?

What would you do?

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4 comments to My Ethical Dilemma

  • Tricia Meyer

    As the owner of another cash back site (Sunshine Rewards), I think you should keep on shopping! You could tell her that you use an online shopping site to try to get the best deals, but if she isn’t interested in shopping herself online, it probably wouldn’t make her want to join anyway.

    Think of it this way…she doesn’t LOSE anything by you doing the shopping. If you tell her that you use a site where you can get rebates and she DOES want to join, you can get the referral fee. So it’s a win either way. :)

    [Reply]

  • Mrs. Accountability

    Tricia, thank you for your resonse! I will visit your site and see what you can offer me.

    So today, she asked me to order a $500 sewing machine that she is having shipped to her daughter’s house. She says it is mainly because she bought her daughter a sewing machine about thirty years ago, but then borrowed it and never replaced it. Plus her daughter helps her a lot, so she wants to send her a nice surprise. Charged to her Sears card. Today she stood over my shoulder, so I couldn’t exactly sign in to my own account with the big banner on the screen which says you will save %. I told her I had signed her up with a site that would save her $9 and she should get a check within three month’s for $14. I am still debating about the previous purchase… sigh

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Another option is to sign up for a cash back site where you can donate your cash back to charity… then it’s a win-win for everybody.

    Two sites I know of that make it easy to donate cash back to charity are Extrabux.com and iGive.com.

    [Reply]

  • susan

    Thats true dear. You can also donate the cash back to a library. Check out shopforthelibrary.net. Iv been a member for a year now. and it feel so good to help. A portion of your purchase price goes to benefit your chosen library. Isnt that great?

    Or if you’re a pet lover, donate it to petgive.com. Give to your favorite pet charity, just by shopping.

    [Reply]

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