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Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

tookoffer
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Registered: ‎24-07-2016

Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Dear Plusnet, It really is not acceptable business practice to offer a cashback then fail to pay it for over 5 months

Despite acknowledging that I've successfully jumped through the hoops, you are struggling to speak to your marketing department who you say is responsible for [not] sending these cheques out.

Is there a hidden meaning to your strapline: "We believe that paying less shouldn't mean a compromise in service."?

Copy of log from a complaint logged recently (my name removed to protect my privacy):

(I decided to make this public for obvious reasons!)

[CSA Removed] - CSC Analyst
1:11pm, Wednesday 13 Jul 2016
Dear Mr xxxxxxxxx,

Please accept my apology for any inconvenience caused.

I can see you have chased the cashback with us before and have had no updates since then.
I have raised this query as a complaint on the account. This will mean the ticket will remain open on the account until the query is resolved.

I will get in touch with a member from the marketing team and will arrange a call back in roughly an hours time with where the query stands.

Please do not hesitate to get back in touch online at http://contactus.plus.net or by phone on 0800 432 0200 if we can be of further assistance.

Kind regards,

[CSA Removed]

[Email notification sent to: [Removed]@gmail.com]
 
 
[CSA Removed] - CSC Analyst
2:18pm, Wednesday 13 Jul 2016
Dear Mr xxxxxxxxx,

Unfortunately we have had no response from the marketing team regarding the cashback query. As soon as we have had an update we will be in touch with you.

We will continue monitoring the account for you.

Please do not hesitate to get back in touch online at http://contactus.plus.net or by phone on 0800 432 0200 if we can be of further assistance.

Kind regards,

[CSA Removed]
**internal**
Ticket: 128554035
 
 
Your Response
4:13pm, Thursday 14 Jul 2016
For the record, I raised this AS A FORMAL COMPLAINT on Wed 13th July 2016.
I have a screenshot receipt from my online voucher application on 10/2/16. On the 29th June your [CSA Removed] confirmed that the cashback application was recorded. My understanding is that the department responsible for making these payments is dragging their feet and withholding payments as is well recorded on the Web. [CSA Removed] acknowledged there had been problems in the past, but these were over. I don't think so!

This cashback offer is reminiscent of the Hoover free flight fiasco of 1993. Link:
http://www.marketingweek.com/1997/05/01/hoover-fails-to-shake-off-free-flights-horror/

Us marketing professionals use that example in lectures. Essentially the terms to redeem the free flights were so [deliberately] convoluted that Hoover imagined that this would put off a large percentage of the British public would fail to obtain their tickets. They. were wrong as the case study shows and lost legal cases show!

My professional suggestion Plusnet is to pay up to all who applied for this deal and avoid this offer being another classic marketing case study.

Certainly Plusnet I won't hesitate to escalate to the ombudsman and encourage others in a similar position to do so too.

This Plusnet offer has similarities as the complicated terms in 4. below show. Clearly Plusnet have a similar model where the intention is that the percentage of successful recipients will be small. The intention is that us busy consumers will forget/not bother and not complain. I used the Plusnet example in a lecture I gave to colleagues just last week and suspect the material will be shared more widely amongst the marketing community.

Offer terms:
New. Line & broadband £136 for a YEAR. This is a 1yr contract with BT-owned Plusnet* for line rent & unlimited download, up-to-17Mb speed b'band. Its customer service rating is strong (68% 'great' in our poll) and 90% of the UK is eligible, but existing Plusnet customers (or those who left v. recently) are excluded. To get it...

1. Sign up. Go via Plusnet* before 11.59pm on Tue 26 Jan.
2. Pay line rent upfront if you can afford to. It's cheapest if you select to pay £185.88 for the year's line rent upfront (equiv £15.49/mth). If not it's £16.99 monthly.
3. Broadband's 'free' during the contract. If you stay after, it's £9.99-£17.49/mth (depending on location).
4. There's £50 cashback, but sadly you must CLAIM IT. Use the link above and within 10 days of account activation you'll receive an email with a link to fill in your details for £50 cashback. Do that within 2mths and a cheque's sent within 30 days. PS: If you've ad- or cookie-blocking software, turn them off or it mightn't track.
 
 
[CSA Removed] - CSC Analyst
6:04pm, Saturday 16 Jul 2016
Dear Mr xxxxxxx,

Thank you for getting back in touch with us.

We are still waiting for a response from our Marketing team, we will be in touch with an up date as soon as possible.

Please do not hesitate to get back in touch online at Contact Us or alternatively, you can get answers to most questions using our support pages by going to Help and Support where you can find helpful guides for most issues.



This Question is now on hold until Thursday 21st July at 7:00am.

Kind regards,

[CSA Removed]
 
 
Script User - Automated Script Pool
7:06am, Thursday 21 Jul 2016
Question [ 129463099 ] is now off hold. Our Support Team will provide a further update soon.
 
 
[CSA Removed] - CSC Analyst
2:06am, Sunday 24 Jul 2016
[internal]

Placing on hold awaiting updates from marketing



This Question is now on hold until Sunday 31st July at 7:00am.

Kind regards,

[CSA Removed]
 

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav): CSA names removed as per Forum rules

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav): Personal email removed from a public forum.

17 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,536
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Registered: ‎27-04-2007

Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Hi there,

 

Sorry to see this has become so protracted.

 

I'm going to take ownership of chasing this up for you and intend to get it resolved as quickly as I can.

 

I'll be speaking with the relevant team and will get back to you within the next 24 hours.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
tookoffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Thank you Adam, However I note this is Wed evening, i.e over 48 hours later, so I hope like the others you've not given me false hope.

Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,536
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Registered: ‎27-04-2007

Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Hi there, sorry I haven't been able to update you yet, I'm still waiting to receive a reply. I'll chase this with the appropriate people directly tomorrow if I haven't heard anything.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
tookoffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Two and a half weeks later... Adam what news do you have please?

Community Gaffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Looking at the ticket on the account we asked you to confirm the address this needs to be sent to as there have been 2 cheques dispatched. Can you PM me with the address and I'll chase this up.

Please send me a private message

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
tookoffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

I have not been asked for my address. Address sent by PM (private message) as requested. This is same as my account address of course.

For the record, no cheques have been received yet.

tookoffer
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Registered: ‎24-07-2016

Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Apologies, I just found your request for confirmation of my address.. supplied and I understand a cheque has been posted. Thank you. I will confirm receipt assuming it arrives.

With thanks

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,667
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Yes, I updated the ticket and emailed you earlier today. It should arrive within the next 14 days.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
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tookoffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

There appear to be two records for this complaint - this public one - and another which is private which was opened by Plusnet in response to this complaint. It would appear that Plusnet prefer to move issues from "public" to "private" to reduce negative publicity. Has anyone else noticed similar?

Hence I am copying my update of yesterday here:

Chris, A cheque has not arrived which I imagine, based on delays to previous requests from your good self, means the marketing department have not actioned your request?

I checked with the local post office this morning and there are no known patterns of items going missing locally. They say that around 15 billion items are delivered annually and that the service is extremely reliable with 98.5 % of all mail delivered in three days. This matches my experience. I can't recall an item I definitely know to have been posted failed to arrive.

8:47am, Thursday 1 Sep 2016

Dear Mr Somerville,

Thanks for getting in touch.

I'm sorry to hear your cheque has not yet arrived.

Unfortunately when escalating these matters, refunding the amount against your account is never offered to us as a first option and although I appreciate what you have said about the postal service however with cashback cheques, these unfortunately do not come straight from ourselves posted by our marketing team as you may think.

I will escalate this matter again for you and get back to you as soon as I have an update.

Thanks for your patience.

Kind regards,

Harry


An obvious conclusion is that a cheque has not been posted.

Of course a far simpler and cheaper admin-wise way of doing this would be to simply credit my account with the £50. Alternatively send a cheque recorded delivery and give me the ticket number.

tookoffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

As I submitted my cashback form 10/2/16 (6 months ago!!!) and first complained about this on the 29th June (by phone) and it has not yet been resolved, despite the worthy efforts of the front end team , I am now raising this with the Ombubsman via a CISAS (Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme)    http://www.cedr.com/cisas/make-a-complaint/    

tookoffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

That is another 50 minutes wasted completing the claim form and supplying the evidence.

Argh... so frustrating!!!

Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

I responded to your post regarding this matter over here.

 

I'm not sure what you're referring to by a public record and a private record regarding this matter. The ticket on your account is connected to your account, if you're referring to this forum thread when you say a public record, I'd just like to clarify that the forum isn't actually tied to your account and advisors over the phone won't be able to see your forum posts unless they have a link to them or go looking for them on the forums.

 


tookoffer wrote:
Of course a far simpler and cheaper admin-wise way of doing this would be to simply credit my account with the £50. Alternatively send a cheque recorded delivery and give me the ticket number.

 

As I advised in my response to the ticket on your account, that you have also already copied here:

Unfortunately when escalating these matters, refunding the amount against your account is never offered to us as a first option and although I appreciate what you have said about the postal service however with cashback cheques, these unfortunately do not come straight from ourselves posted by our marketing team as you may think.

The cheques are sent out via a third party.

 

I did escalate this matter again this morning, advising that as this is a repeat escalation and the cheque has still not arrived, that I would prefer to issue the amount back to you as a refund if possible.

Once I receive a response, I will keep you updated via the ticket on your account, as I advised on the ticket earlier today.

 

I would also just like to advise you that taking this matter through CISAS would not speed up getting a cheque sent out to you as I am already doing all I can to escalate this matter, whereas a CISAS escalation can take up to 16 weeks for a CISAS case to reach a resolution.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Harry Beesley
 Plusnet Help Team
tookoffer
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Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Thank you Harry, Yes a resolution via Plusnet is preferable, but please understand there is a growing discontent amongst your customers about the amount of time it takes to resolve what to most seems like a simple issue.

 

A CISAS complaint can alway be cancelled if resolved beforehand, but is a useful backup for those as frustrated as I am.

 

Best wishes and thanks for your assistance.

tookoffer
Dabbler
Posts: 13
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Registered: ‎24-07-2016

Re: Plusnet still not paying £50 cheque despite promises - reminiscent of Hoover Flights Fiasco

Just to confirm that a £50 cheque was rec'd today and thank you both on Plusnet's front-end help-desk for achieving that ShockedThis took nearly 7 months from me submitting the claim form!

It is just a pity it took so much effort and time on my part (and Plusnet's) to achieve this result.

Yes, further to Harry's comments and for those interested in cash-back schemes, Plusnet's cheques are issued by a third party called Blackhawk Engagement Solutions Ltd.

As a marketing profesional, I was interested to learn more about this type of cash back scheme.  15 mins exploring Blackhawk Engagement's own site gives some initial answers.  Under a heading:

"Tip 3: Deepest discounts, but protected margins", I found the following: "A rebate lets you advertise a more competitive price, while still preserving margins because some percentage of shoppers will never redeem for their cash-back rewards."

Link: https://www.bhengagement.com/4-ways-to-sell-more-and-profit-more-during-holiday-2015/

So this confirms that while a consumer is attracted by the headline discounted price, there is an intention to "manage down" the number who are successful in obtaining the cash back cheque.  The more stages in the process, the greater the opportunity for reducing the overall cost of payout. Here is the Plusnet process as I experienced it:

  1. Place order online
  2. Await receipt of form in 30 days (or remember to chase if does not arrive)
  3. Complete form and submit (note that no receipt is emailed... I screenshot the Webs page before it was lost forever). Forgetting is called "slippage" in marketing speak.
  4. Wait for a reasonable period... perhaps 30 days (if a diary reminder not set, it is easy to forget)
  5. Chase non-payment (Plusnet guidance encourages use of phone.. meaning the consumer has no formal record of the conversation)
  6. And in my case, chase again and again and again, but using Plusnet community forum in order to add a "social media" pressure.
  7. A check / cheque is finally rec'd, yet a few forget to cash it (thank you Wikipedia, this is called  for this!)

The percentages of consumers that end up not getting paid the advertised cash-back is of course treated as highly confidential information between the parties involved. Wikipedia (Rebate marketing) states one example where TiVo found that NEARLY HALF of subscribers did not return their $100 rebate vouchers. Note that this is just one step in the above process so the overall %age paid would be less.

 

So what percentage will Plusnet end up paying out as a result of its cash-back offers on Moneysavingexpert.com and Quidco etc?                    

Some other Plusnet customers feel this is mis-selling.   What do you feel about this practice?