In just about every single Staples.com deal, several Staples Rewards members report they are not receiving free shipping when placing an order at Staples.com. I too had the same problem and was able to get it resolved about 1 month ago. It took at least 4 calls, with the CSR trying something different each time. Although it is hard for me to say exactly what solved the problem, I believe the information below will be helpful.
For everyone's benefit, today I called Staples.com and Staples Rewards to speak to a CSR about this problem and reviewed the steps they perform to solve this problem. The CSR at Staples.com was most helpful, and appeared to be very knowledgable about the issue.
First, there are two Staples "Customer numbers". One number is your Staples Rewards number. You will notice on the back of your Staples Rewards card below the bar code it says Customer Number. In my case, I also have a customer number on the Staples.com site and it is different from my Staples Rewards number. There is no way for you to see the Customer number of your Staples.com account on line. This is something on their side. I do not have any current catalogs from them, but I suspect it is probably printed on the mailing label. To get this Customer Number you have to call Staples.com
Today it was explained to me that those of us that created an account on Staples.com prior to the introduction of Staples Rewards will have two differnt Customer Numbers. Those that registered after its introduction have a single customer number for both Staples.com and Staples Rewards. I am not sure I agree with this. The only way I see the Customer number could be the same is if you register on Staples Rewards first and Staples.com second. I believe this to be true because the Staples.com site asks for the Staples Rewards customer number if one is available. Perhaps it usese this number to create the Staples.com Customer number.
You are registered at Staples Rewards
You are registered at Staples.com
You have your rewards number set up on Staples.com in the "My Account" / "Personal Information" section in the field labeled "Staples RewardsSM, Staples Teacher Rewards™, Tax Exempt, Customer Number:"
-- Login to Staples.com and go to "My Account" / "Personal Information" and remove the data in the field labeled "Staples RewardsSM, Staples Teacher Rewards™, Tax Exempt, Customer Number:"
-- Remove your cookies
-- Login to Staples.com and go to "My Account" / "Personal Information" and enter your Staples Rewards number in the field labeled "Staples RewardsSM, Staples Teacher Rewards™, Tax Exempt, Customer Number:"
-- Try to place an order and look for free shipping
Call Staples.com and tell them your Staples.com account needs to be linked with your Staples Rewards account.
-- The CSR will do this by logging into the AS400 and looking up your account. In the customer record there is a field that needs to be updated with your Staples Rewards number. If your account is configured correctly, this field flashes and is red in color.
-- The CSR described instances where the account looked to be set up correctly but was not giving free shipping. For those accounts, he removes the data from this field, saves the record, and renters the data and saves the record. He also has the customer perform the steps I outlined in solution #1 above.
I was lead to believe this solution is mandatory for those of us that have the two customer numbers as I described above. I got the impression if you have a single Customer number the free shipping should work from the beginning.
NOTE: becuase of downstream applications that need to be updated he said it could be 48 hours or more before the change takes affect, so be patient.
NOTE: I ran some tests tonight and determined that when I have either my Staples.com or Staples Rewards number set up in my profile on Staples.com I get free shipping. I changed this to a dummy value and I no longer received free shipping. I changed it back to my Staples Rewards number and free shipping returned.
NOTE: Per Staples Rewards CSR - if the Staples.com Customer number is in the Staples.com profile you will not automatically recive Staples Rewards credits for your purchases. This appears to be true. My Staple.com account was set up with my Staples.com customer number and the last purchase I made is not shown on the Staples Rewards site. This is not much of a problem as I can manually add these purchaes on the Staples Rewards site.
NOTE: When I contacted the CSR to fix my account, they always made some sort of updated based on my Customer Number. It was during one of these calls that they asked me if I new what number xxxxx was. I said no. It was in a follow up call that I determined this was my Staples.com customer number. Following the CSR updates, and waiting the required 48 hours or so, my account still did not give free shipping. One day I deleted the Customer Number in my Staples.com profile and put in the Staples.com Customer number. That is when Free shipping started to work. It was not until tonight did I determine that putting the Staples Rewards number there also gave free shipping. I believe the deleting and re-entering of the Customer Number in my Staples.com profile triggered something. I also believe the AS400 update that occurred serveral days prior also contributed to the solution.
Note: Note the statement below that appears on the Create account page on Staples.com. They actually make a reference to a manual process that must occur to link the account types below. This link is probably required becuase a Tax Exempt Account is issued one Customer Number which must be linked to one of the two Rewards programs they offer. This would be very similar to those of us that have two Cutomer Numbers.
To shop tax free, enter just your Staples-issued Tax Exempt Number. To shop tax free AND earn Staples RewardsSM or Staples Teacher Rewards™, please call 1-800-793-3320 and a Staples Associate will link your numbers together.
This is a start. Let's see what others discover. In the end I think we can have a simple list of steps that can be dictated to the Stapels CSR to resolve future free shipping issues.