Buying a Cafe Induction Stove? Don’t Count on Free Pots and Pans Rebate

Our new stove: To use it, we had to buy our own set of pots and pans instead of the ones that were supposed to be part of a “rebate” from Cafe Appliances. Counter-intuitive, right?

Are you thinking about buying a Cafe Appliance stove?

Here’s the TLDR version: If getting a free set of pots and pans is part of your motivation to buy a Cafe induction stove, you should know that you won’t actually get the pots and pans until 4-6 weeks after you take delivery of your new stove. In other words, if you don’t have pots and pans that will work with a Cafe induction stove, then the rebate offer is essentially worthless and you will have to buy a “placeholder” set of pots and pans until you get the other set from Cafe.

If the “incentive” of a free set of pots and pans (valued at $1,203, according to Cafe) is part of your rationale to buy a Cafe stove, I want to share our experience as a warning.

This is a warning not just for potential customers- but also for marketers working in corporate America whose companies also offer incentives. This is definitely not the way to do marketing or rebates if you want your customers to have a good impression of your company.

Here’s what happened.

Back in November, my wife and I were looking at stoves at Airport Appliances in Emeryville, California. We were debating between several stove options (our current stove is from 1982, is a General Electric, and came with the house).

We ultimately purchased a Cafe Induction stove (Café™ 30″ Smart Slide-In, Front-Control, Induction and Convection Range with Warming Drawer) from Airport Appliances in Emeryville. One of the appealing things about this oven was the “Free 10-Piece Cookware Set” (Valued at $1,023*, for a limited time with the purchase of a Café smart induction range) that came with the stove.

Part of the reason this Cafe appliance rebate offer was so attractive is because we don’t currently have an induction stove. So, getting free pots and pans would be really helpful with this new stove so that we wouldn’t have to buy a whole new set of pots and pans.

As our Airport Appliance salesman explained, Cafe stoves have been on back order because of COVID-19 and told us it would be several months before we got it.

Meanwhile, I submitted the rebate form to Cafe Appliances. A little while later we received an email back from Cafe Appliances, telling us they wouldn’t process the rebate because we didn’t have the serial number yet. We didn’t have the serial number because the stove hadn’t been shipped. A catch 22, don’t you think? Especially annoying because we shared an invoice as part of the process of submitting the rebate form.

So what’s the problem? Well, if you’re buying a new Cafe stove, and you don’t already have pots and pans that work with an induction oven (we did not), then it is not helpful to get the free pots and pans weeks and weeks after you get the stove.

It’s unclear who, how, or why Cafe appliances thought this was a smart way to provide this extra incentive- in our case, it’s mostly started us off on a bad foot with this new company.

In our case, we had to buy a whole new set of pots and pans that would work with a Cafe induction stove because the “free” set of pots and pans weren’t going to be shipped by Cafe until our stove arrived at our house and we submitted the serial number to Cafe to send the pots and pans.

Here’s my advice for the Cafe Appliance social media, marketing, rebates, and product teams:

  1. Think through timing of this rebate program- does it make sense to not send the pots and pans until 4-6 weeks after people have taken delivery of their new Cafe appliance? What do you expect people will do for the 4-6 weeks while they wait for the pots and pans? Not use their stove?
  2. Think through your social media response. I’m the type of consumer who lets you know when your products or services aren’t working. And, since I’ve done that a lot, I’ve seen how different companies respond (or don’t) when their customers reach out to them on social media. In this case, I reached out on Cafe Appliances Facebook page (not that helpful), and I’ve also reached out on Twitter and thus far have been underwhelmed with the response. To give an example, this email address listed on the GE Appliance Rebate website doesn’t work: It bounced back when I emailed it to ask about this problem.

Have you also had issues with GE Cafe Appliances? Share them with me as a comment and I’ll include them here.

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