Guess what, y'all? It doesn't happen often. In fact it never happened to this journalist before. But I submitted an order to a company that I should not have. The promise was good: Buy through us and we take care of the rebate for you for a reasonable fee. But the reality was quite different.

Somewhat fortunately, I did have enough skepticism to limit my order to one item: a package of eight tea candles by the A.I. Root Company. Before I go any further, let me state for the record that I do not know of any scandal surrounding the A.I. Root Company. In fact if you want to buy candles, ordering straight from their site (Root Candles) may be the way to go.

In this case of the promising middleman or the middleman with a promise, CyberRebate.com, was NOT the way to go. For the candle package that you could order from the A.I. Root Company's online catalog for a base price of $5.50 U.S., I was charged $27.99 U.S. BASE PRICE by CyberRebate.com - I was not provided any perceivable rebate, at least not a positive one as provided by the traditional meaning of the word, rebate. Rather, I was charged a total of $30.30 U.S. for my package of 8 TEA CANDLES.

The only sign of anything added to or subtracted from the $27.99 base price (By the way, don't you LOVE prices ending with .99?) was $2.31 attributed to taxes. Nothing attributed to Shipping & Handling and more disturbing to the consumer, nothing attributed to either CyberRebate's service fee or the promised rebate.

So where does their service come into the picture? And really, where does a rebate - any rebate - come in?

Maybe the answer lies amid the legalese goobligook that now embodies CyberRebate.com's site.

Gee, I hope I didn't give them my credit card number.

- SC.