TalkTalk Quidco scam

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olip74
olip74 Posts: 98 Forumite
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edited 20 May 2015 at 4:36PM in Mobiles
Here's an interesting one. Recently Quidco were offering £60 cashback for taking a SIMO deal with TalkTalk. It was open to existing customers (which I am) and, as usual, Quidco require that the transaction is completed online and tracked by cookies.

I duly tried to sign up on 09/01/15 at around 18.00 only to reach this page:

150509_Talk_Talk_SIMO.jpg

I called the number to verify that this wasn't a credit/fraud check and it wasn't, they didn't ask me for any details other than to confirm my identity. I ended up taking the deal as it is the best on the market but I smelled a rat.

Quidco advise that they claim the referral fee via a third party affiliate and pay this directly to me. They say they could only lodge a claim if TalkTalk explicitly confirmed (i.e. in writing) that they would pay the referral fee. I've dealt with three people at TalkTalk now and I've had the following assertions and excuses:

* TalkTalk do not offer cashback.
- That's fine but I've pressed them on this and they have so far stopped short of asserting that they do not pay 'referral fees'.
* TalkTalk have 'nothing' to do with Quidco and anyone can use TalkTalk branding including their logo, as displayed on the Quidco Web site.
- To my mind the branding is intellectual property and Quidco must be licensed to use it? Even if there is no direct relationship, TalkTalk must deal with the third party affiliate, otherwise where does the money come from? Again, silence on this point.
* The domain I visited at https://www.secure-mobiles.com is not a TalkTalk Web site.
- The page carries TalkTalk branding including the text '© TalkTalk 2015'. A WhoIs search reveals the IP location as 'Carphone Warehouse' and was registered in 2005 before TalkTalk was demerged from CPW group. Besides, if I go directly to the TalkTalk Web site and place a SIMO deal in my basket I am then taken to the same domain. This is a TalkTalk domain!
* TalkTalk would never prevent a transaction from completing online.
- What can I say?

The manager I spoke to has referred this to head office but he declined my offer to send the above image as evidence and says that he will contact me again, rather than putting head office directly in touch with me. He also declined to explain their complaints process or send me anything in writing in case I wanted to proceed to the regulator (presumably Ofcom?).

I know that cashback has a tenuous legal status but TalkTalk have explicitly derailed the process here. I checked all the small print and requirements before I went ahead. As an experiment today I attempted to go through the process again and, guess what? I was able to add a deal to my basket and proceed (but the Quidco cashback on offer is now £20):

150520_Talk_Talk_SIMO.jpg

Has anyone else had similar issues? How far should I pursue this? I've spent a couple of hours on this now, which is barely worth the effort. It's not so much about the cashback rather than TalkTalk's disingenuous marketing and Teflon shoulders. For their part, Quidco don't seem overly concerned that one of their promoted retailers has prevented customers from getting their cashback.

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  • Silk
    Silk Posts: 4,836 Forumite
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    olip74 wrote: »
    * TalkTalk do not offer cashback.
    - That's fine but I've pressed them on this and they have so far stopped short of asserting that they do not pay 'referral fees'.
    Yes they do it's done through Affiliate Windows
    olip74 wrote: »
    * TalkTalk have 'nothing' to do with Quidco and anyone can use TalkTalk branding including their logo, as displayed on the Quidco Web site.
    That's true in a way, the relationship is through AW's
    olip74 wrote: »
    * The domain I visited at www.secure-mobiles.com is not a TalkTalk Web site.
    That would suggest it was CPW who offer the cashback not TalkTalk direct
    olip74 wrote: »
    * TalkTalk would never prevent a transaction from completing online.

    Clearly they did, whether it was deliberate or details on input were wrong to flash up a security issue, who knows.


    The problem with speaking to TalkTalk frontline staff is most of them will probably be unaware of the cashback/affiliate marketing side as it's not done at their level.
    It's not just about the money
  • olip74
    olip74 Posts: 98 Forumite
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    edited 20 May 2015 at 2:24PM
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    Thanks for the info!
    Silk wrote: »
    That would suggest it was CPW who offer the cashback not TalkTalk direct
    The CPW reference (and e2Save) is in the WhoIs info but is probably there from when the domain was registered, which was before TalkTalk was spun off. But it's enough to prove the connection to TalkTalk and, as anyone can see from the picture in my OP, the page is copyrighted by TalkTalk.

    http://whois.domaintools.com/secure-mobiles.com
  • Silk
    Silk Posts: 4,836 Forumite
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    olip74 wrote: »
    Thanks for the info!


    The CPW reference (and e2Save) is in the WhoIs info but is probably there from when the domain was registered, which was before TalkTalk was spun off. But it's enough to prove the connection to TalkTalk and, as anyone can see from the picture in my OP, the page is copyrighted by TalkTalk.

    http://whois.domaintools.com/secure-mobiles.com
    From what I can see when you buy something from TalkTalk such as a phone or sim etc when you go to checkout it changes to secure-mobiles, so on reflection probably it wasn't CPW offering the deal
    It's not just about the money
  • olip74
    olip74 Posts: 98 Forumite
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    edited 1 June 2015 at 11:33AM
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    I got a letter in the last few days saying the price of mobile services will be going up from July ("no more than 50p", but actually unspecified). As if that wasn't bad enough my wife, who actually uses the SIM, says she is not getting any 3G (HSDPA) reception locally even though I switched from Tesco who use the same MVNO, i.e. O2!

    I got the deal specifically for the data allowance. Could the TalkTalk service actually vary from Tesco's (given the same MVNO)? I've checked the coverage maps for TalkTalk and O2 (Tesco redirect to O2 anyway) and this would appear to be borne out. The O2 Web site shows 3G as "Good indoors and outdoors. Good for mobile broadband." whereas TalkTalk's Web site says "Internet & email on 2G". Colour me confused!!!

    This is the tin lid on my whole experience. The letter clearly states I'm entitled to leave and I may do just that. What a bunch of rotters TalkTalk are.
  • Tony5101
    Tony5101 Posts: 1,589 Forumite
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    Have you changed the APN settings over to the TT settings from Tesco?
    This could explain the lack of 3G
  • olip74
    olip74 Posts: 98 Forumite
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    Tony5101 wrote: »
    Have you changed the APN settings over to the TT settings from Tesco?
    This could explain the lack of 3G
    Yes, I got a text with the new settings, rebooted the phone and selected the TT network.

    I don't understand why the TT coverage map would vary from O2's. Academic now as I've had enough hassle with these people and have cancelled the contract. I was assured I would be allowed to leave without penalty but I'll have to see. Regretting having ditched Tesco Mobile who were excellent throughout.
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