I was unaware that I had signed up to a Webloyalty discount deal costing £10 a month
I bought some kitchenware as a gift for my daughter from Argos online. When I came to pay, I noticed a link which asked if I would like a “£15 cashback voucher” on my next Argos purchase online. I jumped at this. It was only when my credit card company contacted me about unusual transactions that I became aware that I had agreed to pay Shopper Discounts & Rewards £10 per month. When I queried this I was told I had not read the small print. I have cancelled the monthly debit, but was it really my fault? I thought I was still dealing with Argos. It has put me off buying anything online. JJ, York
Argos frequently has promotions where you get a £10 voucher if you spend £100 or £5 for a £50 shop. So to see a £15 voucher, especially if you have spent a reasonably large amount, should be no surprise. But this is different. You get the voucher only if you sign up for Shopper Discounts & Rewards, a separate scheme operated by US group Webloyalty. This costs £10 a month after an initial free period.
There is no clear indication that you are leaving Argos when you click on the offer. Both Argos and Webloyalty say this is apparent, however, as it refers to the website of a “partner”, a word capable of many interpretations.
Webloyalty says it offers “a minimum of 10% cashback at more than 650 popular online retailers”. But, while this number does include Apple, Boots, Gap, Halfords and Lastminute.com, you can only access the full list if you join and receive a password. Webloyalty says that is because the list changes from time to time.
For your £10 a month you would also have received a £10 monthly cashback when you made subsequent Argos purchases. This is paid by cheque.
Argos, which has had other complaints, referred you to Webloyalty on this issue, saying only: “We are committed to offering our customers the best service possible and we monitor and review customer feedback on an ongoing basis.”
Webloyalty did refund your £20.
Discount schemes can have value for regular shoppers, but what is on offer and its provision by another organisation need to be much more explicit.
This week’s column is guest-written by Tony Levene. We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at [email protected] or write to Bachelor & Brignall, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number
Money | guardian.co.uk
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