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    • mrcol1000
    • By mrcol1000 6th Jun 13, 12:47 PM
    • 4,579 Posts
    • 3,942 Thanks
    mrcol1000
    • #2
    • 6th Jun 13, 12:47 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Jun 13, 12:47 PM
    Is this really news? How many times have you signed up for freebie for it not to appear and receive a 10% voucher instead? Endless freebies have never appeared.
    I think in these times of social media where an offer sent to a 1000 customers can quickly be shared by hundreds of thousands of people, I think companies really need to bare this in mind and either put a limit or be prepared to fufil a huge amount of orders.
    Of course its unfair on a small company to try and meet tens of thousands of free orders but don't do it as you risk alienating a lot of potential customers.
    Equally though if you sign up for something that is free then why complain and moan and cry if you don't get it? It was free so give it a go and forget about it.
    • mrcol1000
    • By mrcol1000 6th Jun 13, 1:01 PM
    • 4,579 Posts
    • 3,942 Thanks
    mrcol1000
    • #3
    • 6th Jun 13, 1:01 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Jun 13, 1:01 PM
    Its also interesting if you read the article its due to "fraudulent activity". As normal, greedy people sign up with endless e-mail addresses and in their mums, aunties and friends address and so mean that everyone else misses out.
    Re-reading the article I back Wahanda. If people are going to abuse an offer to attract new customers then why should they bother? I blame the MSE mentality of getting everything you can for as little as possible, whether you want it or not.
  • LChampalimaud
    • #4
    • 6th Jun 13, 2:14 PM
    An open letter to MSE
    • #4
    • 6th Jun 13, 2:14 PM
    I am extremely disappointed in the way that MSE have portrayed this. For an organisation that says it is committed to being objective and impartial, I find that this is very far from it.

    First of all, they have claimed that Wahanda pulled a "free manicure deal". As MSE are fully aware, that was never the deal that was being offered. The deal on Stylist was £10 off your beauty purchase. It was MSE that re-shaped it into a "free deal" and this was not the spirit of the offer.

    Second, and in support of the above, MSE completely ignore the fact that the offer had been live on the Stylist website for a week without the minimum spend and without incident. The only thing that changed was the way that they promoted the offer and they now seem to refuse to take any responsibility for this.

    Thirdly, MSE continue to downplay the extent of the fraud. I cannot understand how they can simply suggest that Wahanda "deal with the fraudulent level" when we are talking about 30% of orders being fraudulent. That is a staggering number and is directly related to MSEís promotion of the offer. We did not have this issue with Stylist or any other partner using the same technology over a period of many years. Moreover, the article completely ignores that when a customer makes an order, they are booking a specific date in a spa or salon's agenda. That time is then blocked out to other customers and the business will draw on resources to support this. To say that Wahanda could simply "deal with" the fraudulent activity I think is to say that MSE do not care about the viability of thousands of small businesses across the country.

    Fourth, the article makes no attempt to mention that the promotion in question is still the best offer Wahanda have ever provided and still entitles the consumer to up to a 50% discount. Nor does it acknowledge that thousands of MSE readers are confirming that this is a good deal by taking advantage of the offer following the introduction of a minimum spend.

    Lastly, MSEís position with regards to the ASA suggests that Wahanda is responsible for the way the offer is promoted and worded. In fact, because they do not share the wording with the retailer before featuring promotions on their site, we actually had no control over how the offer was positioned. As MSE are very aware, an accurate representation of an offer to the consumer goes far beyond a strict interpretation of the T&Cs. The fact of the matter is that the original Stylist offer (which Wahanda did approve) clearly stated the offer correctly and was problem free.

    I obviously regret that we have had to change the T&Cs of the offer and I am sorry for any issues this has created for consumers. However I am really disappointed that rather than try to resolve matters and sensibly explain to consumers the situation, MSE have taken a biased, erroneous and inflammatory approach, which ultimately does the consumer a disservice.

    Regards,

    Lopo Champalimaud
    CEO and Co-founder of Wahanda
  • tattybonce
    • #5
    • 6th Jun 13, 2:49 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Jun 13, 2:49 PM
    Well that was a lovely speech. The only thing is, customers, especially new ones, would like to deal with companies they can trust. Not ones that alter terms and conditions of offers. I think you will lose 1,000s of customers through this. A minimum spend should have been issued from day one and it wasn't. It is unfair to the public to start moving goalposts. Anyway, I will jog on ......... Groupon have good deals today .....
  • Wywth
    • #6
    • 6th Jun 13, 2:52 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Jun 13, 2:52 PM
    Let me get this clear.

    Did MSE first contact Wahanda before the email was sent out/published on MSE site and discuss this? Did MSE inform Wahanda they will/might include details in their weekly email in advance? Did Wahanda respond confirming the terms of the offer. i.e. no minimum spend and would be valid until June 12th?
    Presumably there was no mention this deal was exclusively for readers of Stylist magazine ... and even if it were, did MSE simply point it's readers to the magazine website (If so did MSE advise the magaine website of the likely surge in demand before publishing the link?)

    If so, it sounds to me Wahanda wanted the free advert that is read by millions, but didn't want to pay the resultant price.

    Go after them with both guns blazing, MSE! And I hope the ASA will do likewise.

    Where the company can prove individual cases of fraud, they should deal with the fraudsters involved ... or at least not honour those applications. But to not honour genuine applications (or where they cannot prove fraud) is unforgivable.
    If the company cannot identify individual cases of fraud, how can they claim to know what percentage of applications are affected?

    Wahanda - A company I'll be avoiding in future, thats for sure.
    Last edited by Wywth; 06-06-2013 at 3:06 PM.
  • Former MSE Dan
    • #7
    • 6th Jun 13, 3:06 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Jun 13, 3:06 PM
    We have responded to the points Wahanda make above via email prior to publishing this news story. I will do so briefly again here, just to demonstrate to our readers that the assertions Wahanda make are untrue.

    1) and 2) The Wahanda team approached MSE with an email containing the following sentence:

    " We usually do % or £5 discounts so it’s the highest we’ve ever gone, also there are sevral (sic) thousand treatments on site that are less than £10 so you can be getting a totally free mani, wax, chair massage or fitness classes."

    We did not reshape the deal - it was presented to us this way. In addition, the T&Cs of the deal did not state a minimum payment, and in fact stated "All code value has to be used in one transaction, any remaining value will not be stored as credit." which implies they foresaw the code being used on treatments costing £10 or less

    3) MSE does not support anyone who used the code fraudulently, and obviously did not encourage that. As Wahanda is aware, we were not asking it to 'deal with' the fraudulent purchases in terms of taking the cost on the chin. We would have been happy for it to cancel any transactions they knew were genuinely fraudulent, in order to allow bona fide customers to take advantage of the original offer.

    A good deal of MSE resource has been spent over the past 2 days trying to resolve this problem, as Wahanda is well aware, to enable our users to use the offer as it was originally structured, so it goes without saying we reject the final point.

    This is a discussion thread for our users to discuss the story, and as we have dealt with these points over email, and now again on here, we do not intend to respond again on this thread.

    Dan
    Last edited by Former MSE Darryl; 06-06-2013 at 3:21 PM. Reason: correcting a typo
    • darkhairedgal
    • By darkhairedgal 6th Jun 13, 3:37 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    darkhairedgal
    • #8
    • 6th Jun 13, 3:37 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Jun 13, 3:37 PM
    I had never heard of Wahanda before seeing it on the MSE site. I thought it was a good offer and would have been using the voucher on a treatment that's over £40 so would have been paying them still. I could have got £10 off had I used the code. However being as this company seems to have changed the terms and conditions of the offer after advertising it on MSE then I have decided not to book with them. Wahanda should have known that with the massive advertising boost that MSE gives companies That their terms and conditions should have been fully confirmed and procedures put in place before this was live. Very unprofessional company.
    I'm sure this site makes me spend more than I save
    • JuicyJesus
    • By JuicyJesus 6th Jun 13, 8:57 PM
    • 3,503 Posts
    • 4,012 Thanks
    JuicyJesus
    • #9
    • 6th Jun 13, 8:57 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Jun 13, 8:57 PM
    One has to wonder how someone who doesn't intend to actually spend any money and just wants a free manicure could possibly be a "bona-fide customer".
    Last edited by JuicyJesus; 06-06-2013 at 9:00 PM.
    urs sinserly,
    ~~joosy jeezus~~
    • Exile_geordie
    • By Exile_geordie 6th Jun 13, 9:53 PM
    • 4,804 Posts
    • 9,881 Thanks
    Exile_geordie
    One has to wonder how someone who doesn't intend to actually spend any money and just wants a free manicure could possibly be a "bona-fide customer".
    Originally posted by JuicyJesus

    Its the something for nothing culture that this country has though.


    If I could ask those who have said they will avoid this company, have you ever or were you ever going to use the company before the discount was advertised? Would you have carried on using them if the offer was valid sitll and then ran out?

    If no then what you moaning for? Yeah its nice to get something for free but at what cost to the company itself if you were never going to use them again anyway?

    Happy to maybe bankrupt a company and force people on the dole are you? Thats nice.
    Dont rock the boat
    Dont rock the boat ,baby
    • gentleorange
    • By gentleorange 6th Jun 13, 9:58 PM
    • 1,773 Posts
    • 30,106 Thanks
    gentleorange
    I had never heard of Wahanda before seeing it on the MSE site. I thought it was a good offer and would have been using the voucher on a treatment that's over £40 so would have been paying them still. I could have got £10 off had I used the code. However being as this company seems to have changed the terms and conditions of the offer after advertising it on MSE then I have decided not to book with them. Wahanda should have known that with the massive advertising boost that MSE gives companies That their terms and conditions should have been fully confirmed and procedures put in place before this was live. Very unprofessional company.
    Originally posted by darkhairedgal
    I've regularly had treatments at their Oxford Spa, and they are a very professional company I assure you.

    Believe it or not there are still companies who have not been forewarned of MSE members 'Gimme it now and gimme it for free - whatever it is' mentality. This is a great site, but the grasping attitudes on the freebie board are shameful to witness.

    A friend of mine runs a gluten-free website. After they offered sample packs to coeliacs and it was mentioned on MSE, they were swamped with hundreds of requests in one morning. The company would have gone under if they'd honoured them all and genuine coeliacs would have lost a supplier, but who cares about that when there is a free piece of cake to apply for?
    Last edited by gentleorange; 06-06-2013 at 10:01 PM.
    • taxiphil
    • By taxiphil 6th Jun 13, 10:14 PM
    • 1,902 Posts
    • 3,334 Thanks
    taxiphil
    I wonder how Wahanda can say with so much confidence that 30% of orders were fraudulent. This seems an incredibly bold assertion. What do they actually mean by fraudulent? Do they mean 30% of people were setting up multiple e-mail addresses? If so, were they tracking IP addresses?

    Hotels4U did a similar thing with their £50 off promotion on Christmas Day 2011. The demand was understandably high as it was a generous offer, so they pulled it for everyone (including existing loyal customers like myself), citing "fraud".

    The ASA was not impressed and upheld the complaints against them, stating that Hotels4U didn't make a reasonable estimate of demand, and could have taken steps to put measures in place to prevent duplicate bookings:

    "We considered that a number of duplicate or fraudulent bookings did not justify Hotels4u ending the promotion early".

    http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2012/4/Hotels4u,-d-,com-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_183904.aspx

    Notably, Hotels4U said they only "flagged up" orders as being "potentially fraudulent" but never provided the ASA with any hard evidence of fraud.

    I do wonder whether the word "fraud" is being thrown around a bit too casually, and perhaps not entirely accurately, by marketing people who are trying to divert attention from the simple fact that they didn't anticipate demand or do their sums properly.
    • JuicyJesus
    • By JuicyJesus 6th Jun 13, 10:14 PM
    • 3,503 Posts
    • 4,012 Thanks
    JuicyJesus
    Its the something for nothing culture that this country has though.


    If I could ask those who have said they will avoid this company, have you ever or were you ever going to use the company before the discount was advertised? Would you have carried on using them if the offer was valid sitll and then ran out?

    If no then what you moaning for? Yeah its nice to get something for free but at what cost to the company itself if you were never going to use them again anyway?

    Happy to maybe bankrupt a company and force people on the dole are you? Thats nice.
    Originally posted by Exile_geordie
    Exactly. It's just amazing, the entitlement of it. They think they're just entitled to get free stuff, and then MSE get to evade any responsibility for their delivering the message of "FREE STUFF FOR EVERYONE" on a massively popular mailing list for people who want free stuff, and complain when businesses are unable to fulfil the requests of thousands of freel*aders as if it's some form of scandal. What did they honestly think would happen?

    EDIT: Apparently the term "freel*aders" is censored. Hilarious. Way to prove my point...

    The ASA was not impressed and upheld the complaints against them, stating that Hotels4U didn't make a reasonable estimate of demand, and could have taken steps to put measures in place to prevent duplicate bookings:
    by Taxiphil
    But this is different. The only people making the assertion that this offer was ever "free manicure without any strings" was MSE, based apparently on some emails nobody else can see.

    It really, really wouldn't surprise me if MSE just c*cked up and are trying to blame the supplier.
    Last edited by JuicyJesus; 06-06-2013 at 10:17 PM.
    urs sinserly,
    ~~joosy jeezus~~
    • Exile_geordie
    • By Exile_geordie 6th Jun 13, 10:20 PM
    • 4,804 Posts
    • 9,881 Thanks
    Exile_geordie
    I wonder how Wahanda can say with so much confidence that 30% of orders were fraudulent. This seems an incredibly bold assertion. What do they actually mean by fraudulent? Do they mean 30% of people were setting up multiple e-mail addresses? If so, were they tracking IP addresses?

    .
    Originally posted by taxiphil

    Its pretty easy to do though. Then again some people are probably that stupid they were using the same home address on 3 or 4 applications.

    Funny how shops and that dont have to sell you something at all at a price and MSE,from what I have seen, doesnt kick up a sticnk about it but as soon as a freebie comes with added terms they get the hump about it and their minions follow.

    Im not sure how many cities Stylist is published in but its mainly read then discarded so they know that the sample of people who would sign up would be very small and accounted for that. By MSE sending out an email to millions of people they have, in effect,caused the offer to now come with strings as far as I can read into it. So maybe they should take a bit of the blame too?


    Doubt it though.
    Last edited by Exile_geordie; 06-06-2013 at 10:23 PM.
    Dont rock the boat
    Dont rock the boat ,baby
  • mileslondoner
    * It is Wahanda that approached MSE.

    * It is Wahanda that created terms and conditions of this offer.

    * It is Wahanda that is responsible to ensure the offer cannot be easily used in a fraudulent manner.

    * It is Wahanda that is responsible for identifying fraudulent transactions and dealing with them accordingly.

    ...so how come it all became gray suddenly ? Why are we having this discussion ?
    • Credit-Crunched
    • By Credit-Crunched 6th Jun 13, 11:31 PM
    • 2,107 Posts
    • 4,138 Thanks
    Credit-Crunched
    I have to disagree with MSE on this one, the company in question clearly thought that a bit of extra advertising would help to generate some extra business.

    However, it was not ready for the at time, greed, that seems to emanate from this website.

    This web site has habitually exposed loop holes in deals, offers etc without a thought for the end result. One foray of greedy, self indulgent, all for free is enough to cripple a small business.

    All you have to do is trawl the boards to see

    "set up another new e-mail address... ;-) "

    this is common practice, and I can foresee no reason why this 30% figure is not entirely unrealistic.

    This web site and its greedy minority was responsible for Tesco pulling 'Double the difference' promotion, that used to give a few quid back to you average shopper. Until, a minority on here made it so unfeasible for Tesco to run.

    Good deals, not a problem, looking for ways to screw companies and businesses for free, MSE have some respect.
  • mileslondoner
    I agree that Wahanda wanted "to generate some extra business".

    Note however that:

    - they could safeguard themselves easily against any alleged fraud by ensuring it is one redemption per household or one redemption per IP address (the issue of multiplying e-mail address to take advantage of more offers would be non-existent then)

    - they cannot give any reasonable estimation of the level of an alleged fraud because it is acceptable for several family members or work colleagues in one office to use the same computer (hence same IP address)

    - the offer says clearly "one use per account" with no limits set as to how many accounts you can have, how many accounts can be linked to one IP address, one household or if it is acceptable to open an account on someone's behalf (if they are uncomfortable using the net themselves)

    There is no exploiting any loopholes going on here. A big and reputable company wanted to have a massive marketing exposure through MSE but failed (1) to anticipate the high level of interest and (2) to create adequate terms and conditions and technical safeguards against potential/alleged fraud.

    One might think "oh poor start up business abused by greedy internet users", I say though "don't promise/advertise what you cannot deliver".
  • tattybonce
    Its the something for nothing culture that this country has though.


    If I could ask those who have said they will avoid this company, have you ever or were you ever going to use the company before the discount was advertised? Would you have carried on using them if the offer was valid sitll and then ran out?

    If no then what you moaning for? Yeah its nice to get something for free but at what cost to the company itself if you were never going to use them again anyway?

    Happy to maybe bankrupt a company and force people on the dole are you? Thats nice.
    Originally posted by Exile_geordie


    I've never heard of them before, nor did I use the "£10 voucher". Now I would not touch them with a barge pole. They have made it quite clear they cannot be trusted.
    Last edited by tattybonce; 07-06-2013 at 1:33 PM.
    • hm71
    • By hm71 7th Jun 13, 2:16 PM
    • 1,932 Posts
    • 2,685 Thanks
    hm71
    if i'm totally honest, i had not heard of this company before, but my daughter is very fond of a spray tan but we have always used the same lady unfortunately she is away and my dd got invited to a party, i was going to book using the voucher as it would be a great way to try a new place, relatively inexpensively but i still ould have paid over the £10 but now because that age old abuse of system costs others I do get quite annoyed when people go oh i ordered for brother, aunty, uncles dog etc like the redhanky vouchers some people got one for the whole family where as others didnt get one between them.
    Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

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  • Charlotte49
    I think it's a bit unfair of MSE to attack a small business which clearly wasn't expecting so many responses in this way.

    I completely agree that Wahanda should have been prepared for lots of people to take up the offer, and should have been more clear in their terms and conditions (e.g. minimum spend, limited number of codes). As someone with parents who own small businesses, and has been involved with the running of them for my whole life, I know that sometimes inexperienced owners can make mistakes like this. Often small businesses don't even think about things like fraud detection because it's not something they've had to deal with before.

    Deals get pulled all of the time on here, and T&C's get changed, and MSE never kicks up a fuss about them so I find it very strange that it's happened now. Generally I find people on the Freebies board to be understanding and accept that sometimes things go wrong with freebies, so have low expectations anyway.

    I personally don't think that MSE have dealt with this in a very sensitive way. When we haven't read a statement from Wahanda, and Wahanda haven't had a chance to respond to MSE publicly and in their own words, I don't think it's fair for anyone to jump to conclusions.
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