Easylife rewards club - preying on the vulnerable

My 87 year old mother was recently signed up by Easylife to their rewards club which she did not want.  She had previously bought items from them.  Gets a phone call from a very persistent salesman, tells him repeatedly that the rewards club is of no interest to her but he would not take no for an answer and unfortunately she is too polite to hang up. Eventually he persuades her to just "take a look".  She thinks he is going to send her some further details and agrees.  A few days later she receives a welcome letter and some items she doesn't want.   She realises she's been signed up, but the covering letter says she has 30 days to cancel so she puts it to one side.  After 14 days (cooling off period?) Easylife attempt to take payment.  Fortunuately her credit card company are on the ball and contact her, so payment is declined and Easylife are permanently blocked from taking money.  She has now sent in her cancellation and I will deal with them if she hears anything further.  Thanks to the credit card company it's all sorted for my Mum, but how can we get Easylife stopped from using these dubious selling techniques?  I can see from this forum that Easylife has been preying on their (sometimes vulnerable) customers for some time.

Comments

  • The same thing has happened to my Aunt however they billed over £246 before she noticed. Sadly they took these payments at a time when she was dealing with the death of her husband, as you might imagine her mind was not focussed on checking her statements. However when she did notice she contacted Easylife and demanded that they refund her the monies, she has also blocked them with her credit card company. However just in the past couple of days she received a Perx magazine saying that they hoped she was enjoying the book club and how she would feel like it was her birthday every 3 months. It gave her details of how to cancel the subscription. This company is unscrupulous in its targeting of vulnerable individuals, goodness knows how much money they are making from people who are oblivious to the fact they are paying weekly / biweekly / monthly and annual subscriptions that they have no idea of. Something needs to be done, they were recently fined just under 1.5 million pounds by the ICO.  Collectively we need to make sure they are not allowed to practice this subscription method. 
  • dekkard
    dekkard Posts: 228
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    Forumite
    Same experience as you two...
  • DRBerry
    DRBerry Posts: 2
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    Newbie
    Disgusting company, they will continue to do this because they get away with it, the first you know about these subscriptions is when they take your money. If you aren't checking your accounts religiously then sadly the money keeps rolling in to them. The clever thing is you never receive anything in the post so how do you know you are subscribed. I believe they call this stealth selling, I call this a scam and they should be financially punished in the same way they punish the innocent people who end up subscribed to these various clubs, gardening, motoring, book, Perx etc. Block any future payments to them, contact your bank / building society / credit card provider. Also ask them for a right of access which they must legally provide you within 28 days this will give you all information that they hold on you, you can then check that. Subsequently ask them to delete all of this information and cease any further contact with you.
  • There is a new app called ScribePay that notifies you of subscriptions before money is taken out of your account. Now, you need to pay a £4.99  monthly membership fee, but if you want piece of mind might be worth checking out. 
  • alrk
    alrk Posts: 47
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    Forumite
    edited 22 October 2023 at 4:38PM
    Another tale here. I noticed a £69 debit from my mothers bank account and assumed she had been ordering something which she had then forgotten (alzheimers)

    checking her bank account they had credited £18.50 in feb 21 presumable after a query.

    nothing further until october 23 when £69 was debited.

    they have agreed to refund (i have LPA)

    i queried what the payment was for, thinking she had ordered something for the garden, but the reply was : 

    ” This charge was a subscription fee for the Gardening Club. This was originally offered as a free trial during a telephone conversation when placing an order with Easylife.  We have now ensured that this account is cancelled to avoid any further charges in the future. “

    How can they justify this kind of behaviour. When the refund is received (and bank account blocked to them i will ask more questions.

    this is shocking. What a way to run a business
  • Another instance here which may be from the same company - paperwork headed Premier Offers Direct but when you ring their number the message says "Thank you for ringing the Rewards Club" before going into a cycle of counting your position in the queue then restarting at 8 again!
    My mum had a phone call 2 weeks ago from a persistent salesman whom she eventually told to "send details in the post". My sister was with her at the time and at no stage did she agree to any payments.
    Today she received a puzzle book with a covering letter saying unless she cancelled they would start taking £25 a month(!) from "card details already held by group companies". She has never had any interest in puzzles!
    My mum is 87 and her memory is not great, so this appears to be another case of preying on the vulnerable. I have emailed them after failing to get through, and will pursue it. I have asked for a call transcript. I have already contacted Citizens Advice who will pass it on to trading standards. If I find out more names of the companies involved I will post them on here.
  • Oh They've stepped up a gear.
    My Father in law bought a £57 shoe rack. Which was delivered and was OK for the price.
    There was a phone call "you have one a prize" , but he told them to send him details in writing.
    Then the next month 4 payments £65, £82  on the 10th and £65 and £82 on the 20th appeared on his credit card bill .
    £294
    I got the same " Rewards Club" phone hassle and eventually got through . 
    This is total Fraud. Its actually SIMPLE THEFT.

    "The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Easylife Ltd £1,350,000 for using personal information of 145,400 customers to predict their medical condition and target them with health-related products without their consent.The company was also fined"

    "Easylife also received a separate £130,000 fine on 4 October 2022 for being responsible for over 1.3m unsolicited direct marketing calls, which is a breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). This penalty was not appealed and was paid in full.

    If they are taking £300 a month from 1000s of people its a serious problem. they can pay £1m  for data protection ! So they are stealing a lot of money !
    It seems blatantly obvious that this company directors should be in jail. 

    I would be interested in helping build a solid case against these people.

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