Do Cashback Sites have a Future?

Interested to know subscribers' views about the evolution of TopCashback, Quidco and others:

Having used one or more of these sites for some years I have noticed a trend - the cashback is taking longer and longer to become payable (6 months+ is no longer unusual); claims for missing, incorrect or declined cashback are similarly taking much longer than they used to. Generally retailers are applying more and more restrictive Ts & Cs which in turn lead to more instances of declined cashback and so on.

With these sites having been in operation now for so long, I find it frustrating that this is still unregulated space. For example, there's nobody to arbitrate if you disagree with a cashback "operator" and a legitimate complaint can't be resolved.

To some extent the same time delay and restriction frustrations apply to loyalty schemes but at least with most of these you have a parent organisation to revert to if you are unhappy.

My sense is that the long honeymoon period is ending and that consumers are beginning to tire of the whole business of cashback. Quite literally, too little (or nothing at all), too late.


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  • jackomdj
    jackomdj Posts: 3,073 Forumite
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    Still worth using if you are ordering online anyway. I have started using Kid start who seem to pay reasonably quickly. (Still use quidco if rate is higher)
  • Greengage
    Greengage Posts: 39 Forumite
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    jackomdj wrote: »
    Still worth using if you are ordering online anyway. I have started using Kid start who seem to pay reasonably quickly. (Still use quidco if rate is higher)

    I agree - if you've already decided to buy from a particular online retailer then any cashback which follows is just a bonus. The problem comes when the cashback offered is part of your decision what, where and when to buy. This is where the entire concept falls over since the retailers themselves play judge and jury and are ultimately accountable to no-one.
  • Frank99
    Frank99 Posts: 609 Forumite
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    I don't think they will be around forever although i didn't use them in the £5 Quidco fee days, started when Topcash and the free versions came on the scene.
    I notice the amount of cashback paid to existing customers is low and sometimes declined but if a retailer needs more custom they will remain available on the site.
    I used to love the no purchase offers in the old days, in particular "paid clicks" but they have all but dried up leaving offers which you need to jump through lots of hoops for in order to earn a dime.
    Enjoy everyday like it's your last!
  • Tumi99
    Tumi99 Posts: 6 Forumite
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    Ultimately what might be seen as a freebie costs the consumer in higher prices for everyone. It has become increasingly difficult to actually get the 'big ticket' (£20+ e.g. mobile phone, broadband etc) cashback advertised. As others have said they are a law unto themselves seems they can advertise large enticing cashback rates with impunity knowing peoples purchase decisions are heavily swayed by cashback especially for the ‘big ticket’. What’s the point really given you know receiving the cashback is a lottery and then there’s all the hassle and time of having to chase missing/underpaid cashback.

    How they keep winning awards is beyond me. Helps being in a market of 2 I guess and would have been 1 had their merger not been called off. Signs of a toughening market.
    Only use if you nickel and dime the odd £1 of cashback. Better search on the coupon sites for the odd % off.
  • Tumi99 wrote: »
    Only use if you nickel and dime the odd £1 of cashback. Better search on the coupon sites for the odd % off.

    I am certainly coming round to the same thinking. I suspect the policy of some retailers to decline larger cashback claims is entirely premeditated and comes with very little risk since they don't have to give a specific reason and the consumer has no access to the technical data that would prove/disprove eligibility. Thus, for retailers, the cashback sites present a low-cost or free advertising service which they are bound to exploit.

    This will surely change when the various regulatory bodies have decided whose court this ball sits in (Advertising Standards, Trading Standards or Financial Services) and come up with measures to protect the consumer.
  • jon81uk
    jon81uk Posts: 3,773 Forumite
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    I still find Quidco pretty good. I had a hotel stay last October and just had the cashback confirmed this week so three months after the stay and around 5 months after booking. I got about 10% back I think so was definitely worth having.
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