MSE News: Millions using vouchers to slash costs

Former_MSE_Guy Posts: 1,650 Forumite
I've been Money Tipped! Newshound! Chutzpah Haggler
edited 7 November 2009 at 11:08AM in Discount codes & vouchers
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"There are over 400 times as many people using discount vouchers as there were five years ago, research reveals ..."



  • *Jelly_Tots*
    *Jelly_Tots* Posts: 2,102 Forumite
    I absolutely love voucher codes ! But one thing that concerns me is that there is a legal grey area with these codes. I'm not concerned for the companies (they know these codes get spread far and wide), I am concerned that vulnerable people may be getting into trouble for using them. These codes are published on a lot of websites - and it often doesn't make it clear that they can only be used once, or are only for first time customers. There are a lot of websites like Littlewoods (and all their sister organisations like Very etc) and Vertbaudet that allow people to use codes a multitude of times (I'm not talking once or twice - I mean people using them dozens of times). People think (mistakenly) that this is allowed and it is only months afterwards that they get a call from the Littlewoods fraud dept. or their credit card is charged the full price. By this time, the 14 day return period is over and the customer hasn't got a leg to stand on.
    I think the fault lies with the companies - there are definitely ways websites can detect if someone using the same code over and over (even if they use different e-mail address). Priceminister recently gave a £5 off code out and people on MSE stated the website knew if you were using the same card/same address with the same code more than once. So the technology is there, so why do Littlewoods say it is illegal to use a code again and again when they allow it at the point of sale, when they could easily change their system to make it clear which codes are allowed. It is putting the customer in a difficult position. Yes, we all like saving money by using voucher codes, but I would like to know at the point of sale if the code is allowed and that everything is above board.
    Hope this makes sense - sorry for the ramble!
  • *Jelly_Tots*
    *Jelly_Tots* Posts: 2,102 Forumite
    And before anyone starts to preach "'s their own fault - they know they shouldn't using the codes over and over again", I beg to differ. There is nowhere during the purchasing process that the customer is warned they might be charged full price if the code is rejected at a later date, or that they might get hassle from the company.
  • While this story might have some merit, your headline figure of 400 times more vouchers used than in 2004 is clearly nonsense. It seems to be based on 14.3 million vouchers downloaded from this year versus 35,000 in 2004. But was only registered as a domain name on 3rd December 2004 - so it's not a fair comparison! If you wanted to do a pro rata comparison you'd compare a figure like (roughly) 35,000 * 12 = 420,000 which corresponds to a 34-fold increase; but much of this increase could still be attributed to the fact that people hadn't had much time to hear about in December 2004 rather than any increase in the voucher market as a whole.

    What is certainly true is that the methods used to derive the 400 figure do not justify the statement in the first sentence in the story: "There are over 400 times as many people using discount vouchers on their shopping as there were five years ago". Instead what you can say is "there were over 400 times more vouchers downloaded from in the whole of 2009 than in December 2004, the month in which was founded.".
  • How do you know whether a discount voucher is a scam to make someone buy something they would not otherwise have done so, or a genuine saving? Is that not the question the OFT is investigating? My money is on them being a scam put into the hands of gullible, greedy consumers short of money by middlemen on commission who live in big houses, so just as unsustainable as every other con that has ruined our country from sub prime mortgages to free flight vouchers that come with a £1,500 loan on a credit card or £30 shopping vouchers with £2,000 to spend on a credit card. Please, where is the OFT to put these conmen away?
  • ben500
    ben500 Posts: 23,192 Forumite
    Wonder how much that figure will fall next year now Tesco coupon redemptions have been killed off?
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