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Topcashback or 'Whatcashback'?

edited 4 May 2019 at 3:22AM in MoneySaving Dads
2 replies 2.1K views
purplemike60purplemike60 Forumite
6 posts
edited 4 May 2019 at 3:22AM in MoneySaving Dads
On 15th April my daughter passed her driving test and, amongst other money draining activities, I needed to arrange breakdown cover insurance for the Nissan Micra I had bought her.

Whilst I was familiar with AA, RAC and Green Flag, my first port of call was to check to see if there were any deals on offer.

Green Flag was the cheapest (as usual) but MSE did suggest that an excellent deal could be had with RAC through a cashback site called TopCashBack. £135's worth of RAC breakdown cover through this site would actually work out at £75 as they offered a £60 cashback, it said. In fact, the cashback increased to £70 If the cover taken out included personal insurance.

It seemed like an excellent deal and, as it was recommended by MSE, I thought: "what could possibly go wrong?" However, just to be sure, I did have a quick scan of the Topcashback T's & C's.

Reassuringly, the very first paragraph stated proudly: "At TopCashback our aim is to save our members the most money, doing the things at which we can be the best in the world. We also aim to always apply our ‘fair play’ policy (which can be stated as ‘do as you would be done by’) in all our interactions.
To put it another way, we aim to make our site the best and most trusted place for our members to save money."

'Fair' and 'Trusted' are words I like so I thought: "fantastic! Let's do this!"

Topcashback also pointed out, very transparently, that the retailers pay them a commission and it is this commission which is used to pay the cashback. All fair and encouragingly straightforward, I thought.

I did read a disconcerting paragraph a bit further on that said: "Payment of Cashback to you is at our discretion and we may refuse to pay Cashback to you for any reason." But, with 'Fair' and 'Trusted' still emblazoned on my retinas and the reassurance that this company was endorsed by MSE (and was working with the RAC, for goodness sake) I nodded to the man on the Clapham Omnibus and took out the Classic (free) Topcashback Membership and used their link to connect to the RAC and purchased £135 worth of breakdown cover.

That's when it all went horribly wrong................!

Firstly, no cashback entitlement showed up on my account summary.

Secondly, I received no confirmation in my Inbox from Topcashback to confirm their involvement in this transaction or their willingness to pay up.

However, I did take a screenshot (as I always do) of the online transaction with the link address to RAC, which also contained the Topcashback thread. (I should rename myself: 'ScreenshotMike'!)

The account 'wallet' did say to give any transaction 7 days, before making a claim, which I did. Then after 7 days, still nothing so I opened a claim. I actually opened a claim for £70 by mistake so you can imagine my surprise when the online ticket confirmed the claim had been opened for an 'expected cashback' of £22!

I began to feel like a victim of a Ponzi scheme. What the hell was going on?

I decided it was time to call Customer Services and talk to a human to get this relatively simple situation, as I saw it, resolved asap. Slight problem with that; this is an internet company. No phones! Well, there was one phone number I found. But, you guessed it, the people with the phone could not help me with my query.

However, they did kindly tell me they would pass my message to the people without a phone who could help.

Still with me?

What then followed was a series of tickets, messages and 'nudges' backwards and forwards which mainly consisted of me saying: "Where's my money?" and them saying things like (and I've paraphrased here): Please don't telephone our colleagues, the ones with a phone, as they are unable to help you. We are an internet company. Please be patient, this claim is with the merchant and could take between 1-3 months (YES, ONE TO THREE MONTHS!) before it is resolved.

And my favourite message of all said something like: If you message us, this will delay the claim as we will have to put the claim on hold until someone reads your message. However, if you 'nudge' us (there's a nudge button, I'm not kidding!) that will not hold up your claim as we do not reply to nudges. Am I in the 'Twighlight Zone'? ('Black Mirror' is probably more accurate for this one!) What is the point of being nudged if you don't respond to it?

When I obviously contested the incorrect amount logged at £22 instead of £60 they replied with a message that said: the amount had been claimed for a cashback in the £22 section and was not in the correct slot and now it had been actioned it may have to run its course before the new amount can be entered, but they will have a word with the agent and see if, as a matter of goodwill...!

...I won't go on as you are probably nodding off by now. All I will say is the reply read like the lyrics from the song: 'Alice's Restaurant' and I still do not understand what they meant or why it happened, although I got a sense that they were somehow trying to blame it on me. I only say this because, when I spoke to the team with the phone who couldn't help me and I told the supervisor about the problem with the missing cashback, I had a similar feeling when she said (and I'm not sure if she meant this kindly or condescendingly): "perhaps cashback sites are not for you."

Who are they for, then? People who don't mind buying a pig in a poke? People who don't expect the deal they are promised?

Amazingly, they emailed me yesterday with a link to my account which showed the claim for £60 cashback had been agreed! Amazing things happen when you shout loud. However, too late I'm afraid as, after the previous day's shenanigans, I had got on to RAC quicker than you could say "caveat emptor" to cancel the policy before the cooling off period ended. I must just say that I am a big fan of RAC and have their breakdown insurance on our family car. I explained the situation to them and they were nothing but understanding, patient and professional - oh, and their refund will only take 14 days.

I have now gone with Green Flag who, for my teenage daughter with her first car, are more than suitable and are actually £7.80 cheaper than the RAC/Topcashback deal.

I hope this situation is just an unfortunate blunder and is not indicative of Topcashback's usual working practices. Whatever the fullness of time reveals about Topcashback and other internet-only cashback sites, one thing is clear to me; like a sealed plug on an electric appliance, you are screwed if it goes wrong and you can't get in to fix it.

I checked my account again this morning and the £60 cash sum is still sitting in my Topcashback wallet, which I am now no longer entitled to. I have messaged them to say I've cancelled the breakdown cover with RAC and gone elsewhere but they haven't replied or removed the money.

If they don't respond, do you think I should give them a 'nudge'?


  • Molineux99Molineux99 Forumite
    16 posts
    I've been scammed by Topcashback too via their shameful Agoda scam - they sat on that for over a year and then just closed it with a dismissive attitude - never been near them since.

    So offer a deal to someone - a company gets your business, Topcashback get their commission and you get nothing but grief - great business model !

    Shamefully they are still doing business with Agoda their scamming partners !
  • sheepy21sheepy21 Forumite
    221 posts
    I’ve had loads of cash back from top cash back and Quidco without much issue. I’ve made about £200 in 9 months. I currently have a ticket open with top cash back but just going to wait for it to run it’s course. Cash back is never 100% guaranteed
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