Rough Start for Iowa Appliance Rebate

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It’s either been a really rough start or a really big success for the Cash for Appliance program. It replaced the Cash for Clunkers program. Iowa gets 9,000 rebates you can put towards new, more efficient appliances. The Iowa Office of Energy Independence told people to start calling at 8am or get on the website, www. iowaappliancerebate.com. The office said its system could handle 800 calls per hour and 11,000 hits on its website. Well, people started calling and logging on and found busy signals and overloaded servers.

Here’s the message on the office’s website today:

Due to Iowans overwhelming and proactive response to the Iowa Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate program web site and toll free number, the system is temporarily down. We are working with our professional contractor to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. We are sorry consumers are experiencing problems and we apologize for this extreme inconvenience. Our contractor works with several states and Fortune 500 companies and will restore services as soon as humanly possible. We are advising all Iowa homeowners to keep trying the web site and toll phone number later today.
Thank you for your patience with this matter.

People aren’t happy with how the program has worked (or not worked, depending on your view). Here are just some of the emails I had waiting for me this morning.

From E.J.:
The Iowa Rebate Program is off to a whimper. The website never made it online (www.IowaApplianceRebate.com) and the phone lines are not working.

From Lanette:
I spent from 8:00 a.m. until 9:30 in two different phone as well as the internet site to apply for the applicance rebate program. The phone message said all circuits are busy, a busy signal, or due to high call volume please try again later. The website just said “service not available”. What a JOKE. They advertise for consumers to take advantage and it’s just like Iowa government to not be prepared for the response. Way to go again Governor Culver!

From Tom:
Will you please report on how good the appliance rebate system is “working.” OR NOT. The website crashed and the phone has no answer……….Also please report that this has been run by an OUT OF STATE FIRM!

From Scott:
The Iowa Energy Rebate site has been down for over an hour. State not prepared for requests.

From Bill:
on Ia appliance rebate. at 800am today Monday 3/1/09–the link is not available and the phone# is 100% busy. i checked with 6 other people and they are saying same thing too. Shouldn’t the State of Iowa known about this issue and people were going to be on it right away. This to me seems like another Culver screwup

From Joyce:
Please find out why the Iowa Appliance Rebate website did not update their website so consumers could complete an application as promised.
The toll-free number was constantly busy or occasionally a caller would receive a pre-recorded message that they were experiencing a high volume of calls and requested callers to call back later.
Very frustrating to say the least from a consumer’s point of view. This makes me even more leary of having the state or the federal government attempt to run anything else.

From Pam:
Just thought I’d let you know I have been trying to apply for a furnace rebate through the Iowa Office of Energy Independence for 1 1/2 hours this morning and have been unable to get through on both the phone number and the web site. They were supposed to be live this morning. I knew about this prior to the story you did on the news last night. I have tried other office phone numbers, and they are not answering any of those phones. My furnace quit working 1 1/2 weeks ago, so I have been using only space heaters to heat my house. Looks like I won’t be getting a rebate though since I can’t get through.

From Joe:
The Appliance Rebate Program has been a pain. I have burned up 3 batteries in cordless phones call since 8 AM. The website has not been available since before 8. Geeze! Was this thought out?

From Cody:
It appears the Iowa Appliance Rebate website is down and the phone number is impossible to get through on. Have you heard of an alternative way to get the rebates? Any help would be apprecieated. Thanks !!

From Tammy:
The rebate program was not very well prepared to handle the call volume or website access demand. I have been trying non-stop since 7:55 and the site has crashed and the calls don’t even get through, circuit busy message. I would not encourage anymore of your listeners to apply to this program. WAY to mess up a good thing IOWA!!

From Steve:
The Iowa Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program application process has got to be a joke. The website www.iowaappliancerebate.com which was supposed to be available at 8:00am NEVER came up correctly at all. The only thing I’ve received since 8:00am is “The service is unavailable.” As for the telephone number, I’ve tried dialing and redialing for the last 45 minutes and the only thing I get is a busy signal or an “all circuits are busy” message. There must have been a better way to implement this!!!

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