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  • FIRST POST
    • charleski
    • By charleski 28th Jun 19, 10:02 AM
    • 7Posts
    • 2Thanks
    charleski
    Misleading Plusnet ad, CSR tries to redefine 'cash'
    • #1
    • 28th Jun 19, 10:02 AM
    Misleading Plusnet ad, CSR tries to redefine 'cash' 28th Jun 19 at 10:02 AM
    I moved away from EE a month ago to avoid the price rise, and Plusnet seemed to have the most compelling deal based on the provision of a £50 signing incentive. I double-checked the offer and it clearly talked about a 'cashback cheque' three times, and 'cashback' on the front page. I kept screenshots of this, but unfortunately the forum doesn't allow me to post links to them.

    I duly activated my reward when instructed, only to receive an email this morning offering me a prepaid debit card instead. As anyone who's been sent these in the past knows, these are a pain in the rear. You're not allowed to withdraw the credited amount in cash and can only use them to purchase goods (no doubt so that someone down the line makes money back on transaction fees). You're inevitably left with a small amount on the card which will be difficult to recover. (It is possible to use this to top up your gift card balance at Amazon, but this can take a few tries and several months of waiting, as Amazon typically applies a £1 pre-authorisation to purchases on a new card, and you then have to wait up to a month for that to be refunded.) Basically, I wanted what I'd been offered, and that was clearly cash.

    So I got onto the Plusnet support chatline and ended up speaking to someone called 'Mustafa'. He acknowledged that the card could not be converted to cash, but according to him, a cashback cheque 'does not mean a cheque' it 'means simply credit given to you'. I.e., according to 'Mustafa' cash does not mean cash. I was tempted to ask him if black meant white or up meant down but just told him to escalate the issue (several times).

    I'm still waiting to see if the manager tries similar verbal trickery (I suspect he will), but this has severely diminished my opinion of PlusNet, and certainly means I'm a lot more likely to look around for a better deal once my contract is over.
Page 1
    • iniltous
    • By iniltous 28th Jun 19, 10:18 AM
    • 1,883 Posts
    • 795 Thanks
    iniltous
    • #2
    • 28th Jun 19, 10:18 AM
    • #2
    • 28th Jun 19, 10:18 AM
    Seems a bit of a first world problem, what’s wrong with using it in part payment for something more that £50 that you were going to buy anyway ?, perhaps the T&C’s show that the ‘reward’ comes as a pre-loaded debit card
    Last edited by iniltous; 28-06-2019 at 10:20 AM. Reason: -
    • Colin_Maybe
    • By Colin_Maybe 28th Jun 19, 11:11 AM
    • 4,505 Posts
    • 2,620 Thanks
    Colin_Maybe
    • #3
    • 28th Jun 19, 11:11 AM
    • #3
    • 28th Jun 19, 11:11 AM
    I moved away from EE a month ago to avoid the price rise, and Plusnet seemed to have the most compelling deal based on the provision of a £50 signing incentive. I double-checked the offer and it clearly talked about a 'cashback cheque' three times, and 'cashback' on the front page. I kept screenshots of this, but unfortunately the forum doesn't allow me to post links to them.

    I duly activated my reward when instructed, only to receive an email this morning offering me a prepaid debit card instead. As anyone who's been sent these in the past knows, these are a pain in the rear. You're not allowed to withdraw the credited amount in cash and can only use them to purchase goods (no doubt so that someone down the line makes money back on transaction fees). You're inevitably left with a small amount on the card which will be difficult to recover. (It is possible to use this to top up your gift card balance at Amazon, but this can take a few tries and several months of waiting, as Amazon typically applies a £1 pre-authorisation to purchases on a new card, and you then have to wait up to a month for that to be refunded.) Basically, I wanted what I'd been offered, and that was clearly cash.

    So I got onto the Plusnet support chatline and ended up speaking to someone called 'Mustafa'. He acknowledged that the card could not be converted to cash, but according to him, a cashback cheque 'does not mean a cheque' it 'means simply credit given to you'. I.e., according to 'Mustafa' cash does not mean cash. I was tempted to ask him if black meant white or up meant down but just told him to escalate the issue (several times).

    I'm still waiting to see if the manager tries similar verbal trickery (I suspect he will), but this has severely diminished my opinion of PlusNet, and certainly means I'm a lot more likely to look around for a better deal once my contract is over.
    Originally posted by charleski
    can't say I've ever seen an advert for cashback or cashback cheque. Just post the link without the www. or https:// bit.
    • charleski
    • By charleski 19th Aug 19, 9:53 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    charleski
    • #4
    • 19th Aug 19, 9:53 AM
    • #4
    • 19th Aug 19, 9:53 AM
    Posting an update here since this matter has now been sorted out. After over a month of bouncing around Plusnet finally agreed to give me a £10 credit on my bill. Since this will cover any lost residual balance on the card I accepted their offer.

    I also submitted a complaint to the ASA (Ref: A19-1026084), and they stated "we consider that Plusnetís cashback offer was likely to be misleading". They've contacted Plusnet and as a result "Plusnet have given their assurance that they will ensure that cheques are sent, rather than prepaid cards from now on."

    It would be interesting to know the economics of these card schemes, as someone is clearly making money off them. The issuing card company will obviously make some money from purchase transaction fees, but I suspect there's a lot of small balances of a few pounds that are simply being abandoned, and that may end up to a sizeable sum for the card company.

    Luckily I kept screenshots showing the language they used in their advert, and if there's any message here it's always take screenshots, because they didn't furnish any other text of the agreement. Unfortunately the forum still won't allow me to post links, so I can't embed it here.
    And yeah, this is a first-world problem alright, just like 99% of the rest of the stuff here.
    • Stompa
    • By Stompa 19th Aug 19, 10:09 AM
    • 7,898 Posts
    • 3,914 Thanks
    Stompa
    • #5
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:09 AM
    • #5
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:09 AM
    ...but I suspect there's a lot of small balances of a few pounds that are simply being abandoned, and that may end up to a sizeable sum for the card company.
    Originally posted by charleski
    Well if somebody chooses to abandon a few pounds surely that's their problem? There's nothing to stop them spending it. The last one of these I had ended up with a residual balance of 4p.
    Stompa
    • littleboo
    • By littleboo 19th Aug 19, 10:21 AM
    • 682 Posts
    • 338 Thanks
    littleboo
    • #6
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:21 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:21 AM
    I would have thought that these days most people would prefer the convenience of a card over a cheque.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 19th Aug 19, 10:51 AM
    • 21,204 Posts
    • 15,438 Thanks
    molerat
    • #7
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:51 AM
    • #7
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:51 AM
    Conversely the offer I had was for a card and got a cheque.


    And I have never had a problem squeezing the last penny out of prepaid cards, the problem is that many retailers do not know how to put a split tender through the till.
    https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/give-support/donate-now/
    • charleski
    • By charleski 19th Aug 19, 10:51 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    charleski
    • #8
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:51 AM
    • #8
    • 19th Aug 19, 10:51 AM
    Well if somebody chooses to abandon a few pounds surely that's their problem? There's nothing to stop them spending it. The last one of these I had ended up with a residual balance of 4p.
    Originally posted by Stompa
    Well good luck to you then ... Of course no-one's forcing people to abandon the balance, that's how these companies are getting away with it. I've had several of these cards in the past and ended up with balances of £2-3. With a lot of patience I was able to extract that as a top-up for my Amazon gift-card balance, but hunting around the shops for something that cost almost exactly the amount I had left on it would have been even more hassle.

    I would have thought that these days most people would prefer the convenience of a card over a cheque.
    Originally posted by littleboo
    How is depositing the money into your bank account, where you can spend it through your debit card or use it for other purposes, less convenient than having to carry around yet another card, remember its PIN and remember how much is left on the balance? This makes no sense at all.
    • charleski
    • By charleski 19th Aug 19, 11:17 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    charleski
    • #9
    • 19th Aug 19, 11:17 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Aug 19, 11:17 AM
    Conversely the offer I had was for a card and got a cheque.


    And I have never had a problem squeezing the last penny out of prepaid cards, the problem is that many retailers do not know how to put a split tender through the till.
    Originally posted by molerat
    Some payment gateways have implemented split-tender, but these tend to be the ones focused on innovation, like Square (which only implemented it a year or so ago). Some still balk at this practice, principally because it can be used to evade credit authorisation limits.
    • littleboo
    • By littleboo 19th Aug 19, 12:07 PM
    • 682 Posts
    • 338 Thanks
    littleboo
    How is depositing the money into your bank account, where you can spend it through your debit card or use it for other purposes, less convenient than having to carry around yet another card, remember its PIN and remember how much is left on the balance? This makes no sense at all.
    Originally posted by charleski
    Depositing cheques is inconvenient, most people will more than one card anyway and seem to manage it without too much difficulty, its really not difficult. The funds are instantly available without having to pay the cheque in and wait for it to clear.
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 19th Aug 19, 12:17 PM
    • 5,812 Posts
    • 13,465 Thanks
    onomatopoeia99
    [QUOTE=charleski;76173411The issuing card company will obviously make some money from purchase transaction fees[/QUOTE]
    If my workplace accepted £50 as a credit card payment we would have to pay our merchant services provider 95 pence in fees.

    I know people 20 years younger than me that have never had a chequebook and would be seriously annoyed to receive a cheque in the post due to the inconvenience of paying it in.
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek. Home is where my books are.

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    • PennyForThem
    • By PennyForThem 19th Aug 19, 12:48 PM
    • 601 Posts
    • 539 Thanks
    PennyForThem
    I got a cheque around 19th July 2019 - happy to pay in to my current account.

    That Talk Talk is offering 60mgb for same amount as I am paying Plusnet for 34 is another quibble.
    • Stompa
    • By Stompa 19th Aug 19, 1:22 PM
    • 7,898 Posts
    • 3,914 Thanks
    Stompa
    ...but hunting around the shops for something that cost almost exactly the amount I had left on it would have been even more hassle.
    Originally posted by charleski
    I agree, that would be a hassle. I've always tended to just remember what balance was left on the card, and wait until a purchase I was making anyway was for a similar amount. Such cards seem to typically be valid for at least 6 months, so there's no rush.
    Stompa
    • iniltous
    • By iniltous 19th Aug 19, 3:48 PM
    • 1,883 Posts
    • 795 Thanks
    iniltous
    Although not a cash back incentive, I recently received a long service award from work as a pre paid card, in the past the company gave gift vouchers, you had the choice of company ( Argos, M&S etc ) , I used the amount on the card in part payment towards a purchase and paid the balance separately.....obviouslyif its a point of principle cash should be cash, but as others have said, if PN now issue cashback ‘cheques’ many will be upset at that , preferring a pre paid card, just goes to show you cannot please everybody all the time
    Last edited by iniltous; 19-08-2019 at 3:50 PM.
    • mnbvcxz
    • By mnbvcxz 19th Aug 19, 5:29 PM
    • 214 Posts
    • 74 Thanks
    mnbvcxz
    Sometimes they advertise a cheque, sometimes a card and sometimes a gift voucher. My brother received a cheque.

    I would guess something was confused and mixed up and they advertised a cheque when them were offering a card. So well done on pursuing the point and winning. Shows the value of screenshotting everything.

    If I'm brave I try and use the cards at the petrol station and put in exactly the right amount of petrol, little tricky though. Or self checkout at supermarket you can just wand in the exact amount of groceries into your trolley. Most restaurants will also split a bill across multiple cards, possibly some stores as well.
    • charleski
    • By charleski 20th Aug 19, 9:26 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    charleski
    It's interesting to hear that others have received a cheque in the same timeframe (they sent my card around the end of June). When I initially contacted Plusnet their finance dept was adamant that a prepaid card was the only option on offer, even after I showed them the screenshot that referred to a cheque three times. I offered to accept a credit on my account instead so they'd be saved further expense, but they weren't interested in that either.

    I suspect the lower echelons were just looking to save themselves the hassle of cancelling the card (which they'd already sent me, but which I hadn't activated) and were hoping I'd just go away. Opening a case with Resolvr and submitting a complaint to the ASA seems to have bumped it up to a level where someone was willing to fix the problem rather than doing the 'Computer says no' routine.
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