09 Mar, 2010
Rubbish offers: read the small print
Posted by: peter in: Bad Value
Yesterday’s Liveline was buzzing with angry callers complaining about an offer from petrol station Applegreen.
Since last year, customers who spend €10 in Applegreen get a stamp on their loyalty card. Once they accumulate 50 stamps, they can get a three night stay for two people for €19.99 in a choice of hotels around Ireland. I nonchalantly picked up my loyalty card when it was offered by the cashier last month, but quickly realised it’s a rubbish offer.
Firstly, the loyalty card uses large fonts and many terms and conditions asterisks to tell you that you have to pay for meals in your chosen hotel. In the terms and conditions on the back of the card: “The Leisure Break voucher entitles 2 adults (children can also travel), up to 3 nights hotel accommodation and full use of all hotel facilities. In order to claim your 1, 2, or 3 nights using the voucher, you simply eat breakfast and dinner in your chosen hotel, each day you stay – remember you have to eat somewhere.” Who wants to be tied to their hotel for a three day stay, especially when many hotel restaurants are notoriously average?
Secondly, to redeem my voucher, I would have to spend €500 on petrol before the card expires on March 31 this month. I only picked it up a few weeks ago. Who spends €500 on petrol in a month and a half?
These were the issues riling callers to Damian O’Reilly yesterday. Anyone would think they’d been conned. But the loyalty card itself does an excellent job of advertising how rubbish the offer is on its own cover, while the terms and conditions on the back of the card – it’s only a paragraph or two, not pages and pages, which would be inexcusable – are also quite clear. But callers argued that this information was hidden away and only just discovered in some impossibly legalistic terms and conditions. Surely we should read through a few terms and conditions before we decide to throw €500 at one particular company?
If you don’t like this deal – and I absolutely don’t – simply get your petrol elsewhere, politely decline the card, or get your special offers for hotels on the Discover Ireland website, through SuperValu’s Getaway breaks scheme, or on the back of your receipts. Otherwise, in this instance, I think you’ve only got yourself to blame.
Have you poo-poohed any bad offers, or picked up any good deals? And do you ever get sucked in by not reading the terms and conditions?