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Deceptive rewards program goes local!

I frequent the Redfern Fruit and Flower Market, I was actively invited to join their 'rewards program' where it is stated clearly "Every Dollar Spent WILL Be REWARDED" for every $1 spent you get 1 point upon reaching 500 points your receive a gift basket of fruit and veg, thinking it was a good idea I joined.

 redfern fruit market rewards program offer

However, this rewards program had a sting in it's tail, after an initial purchase and reward allocated , I spent $9.20 only to find it is not honoured as a 'invisible' condition that there is a minimum spend of $10, this would seem to contradict the point of sale posters "Every dollars spent will be REWARDED", this condition was not on any of the point of sale nor located in the terms and conditions of the loyal2 app (the application is mobile based from loyal2.com). I approached the owner who advised I had not read the terms and conditions, only to discover it is not in the terms or conditions provided on the app. I contacted the application owner at Loyal2.com and was advised it was not their policy either. It is highly regrettable that businesses ignore rulings by the ACCC not engage in these practises at a 2002 ruling into NAB's loyalty program it stated:

"Loyalty program promoters risk misleading consumers and breaching the fair-trading provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 if they:

 

  • advertise awards that are not available as represented

 

  • hide in the fine print or fail to disclose the truth about the restrictions imposed on the redemption of those rewards

 

  • seek to retrospectively change programs or offers to the disadvantage of consumers.

 

"The ACCC will continue to monitor consumer complaints received about the operation and conduct of loyalty programs".

 

I will pursue this with the Department of Fair Trading in NSW as a matter of principle.

Below is full judgment of the ACCC in the NAB case.

 

ACCC ends investigation of proposed retrospective point value changes to the NAB Rewards Program

11 June 2002

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has concluded its investigation of alleged retrospective point devaluation changes to the National Australia Bank's Gold Rewards Program, Acting ACCC Chairman, Mr Sitesh Bhojani, said today.

 

"Last month, the ACCC wrote to the NAB about changes it announced to the redemption rate for National Gold Rewards members who are also Qantas Frequent Flyer members following a request from the Federal Treasurer, Mr Peter Costello", Mr Bhojani said.

 

"NAB previously represented to consumers that NAB points could be redeemed at a rate of 1 National Gold Rewards point for 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point. However, last month the NAB foreshadowed a rate change effective from the 15 June 2002, that 1.5 National Gold Rewards would be needed to redeem 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point.

 

"If this change had taken effect, it would have devalued NAB points accrued before 15 June 2002 by one third. The ACCC was concerned that by retrospectively changing the redemption rate, NAB risked misleading consumers by misrepresenting the value, characteristics, uses or benefits of the consumer's National Rewards points.

 

"NAB has informed consumers that it will maintain the 1 for 1 conversion rate for Qantas Frequent Flyer points earned prior to their July 2002 credit card statement cycle. From July 2002 the conversion rate for new NAB points accrued after that time will be 1.5 NAB points for 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point, reflecting changes made to other NAB rewards.

 

"NAB has provided the ACCC with a written response confirming this statement.

 

"Complaints made to the ACCC about loyalty programs indicate consumers are feeling misled by the promotion of these schemes, especially Frequent Flyer style programs that focus on the trips and special deals members can obtain, with limited mention of the restrictions imposed by the schemes' terms and conditions.

 

"Loyalty program promoters risk misleading consumers and breaching the fair-trading provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 if they:

 

  • advertise awards that are not available as represented

 

  • hide in the fine print or fail to disclose the truth about the restrictions imposed on the redemption of those rewards

 

  • seek to retrospectively change programs or offers to the disadvantage of consumers.

 

"The ACCC will continue to monitor consumer complaints received about the operation and conduct of loyalty programs".

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