Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Customers getting a bumpy ride when booking plane tickets

Question: In February I booked some tickets with Flybe. At the end of the transaction I was offered a cashback of £20 if I took out a free 30-day trial with Rewards First. I accepted this offer, but cancelled before the end of the trial, on February 29.

When I received my next credit card statement I found an unauthorised debit of £14.95 to Credit Rating Matters. I rang Rewards First and was told that it was the same company and they had sent an email warning me of this deduction. I received no such email and nothing on the emails from Rewards First mentioned this subscription. I did not authorise this subscription and had no knowledge of it. As far as I can see, this is identical to cases investigated by the Office of Fair Trading last year. MN

Answer: Rewards First, Credit Rating Matters, QuickCreditScore, HighCreditScore, CreditScoreMatters, High Street Max and Rewards Now are all trading names of Adaptive Affinity Ltd, which was the subject of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.

The OFT undertook the investigation because of concerns that some consumers had unwittingly signed up to online subscription schemes, which were costing them monthly fees of almost £60.

Adaptive Affinity provided us with a detailed statement regarding your complaint. A spokeswoman for the company said: "[The reader] did enrol to the Rewards First programme on February 9, cancelling her membership within the 30 days' free trial period on February 29.

"I believe that there are no questions surrounding the sign-up to this programme and that [the reader's] questions relate to the programme Credit Rating Matters."

The company says that it is only after a person has signed up with Rewards First that they may be presented with an offer to join Credit Rating Matters on a free 10-day trial.

Adaptive Affinity insists that payment details are not obtained from a partner, such as Flybe.

The spokeswoman continues: "An email is sent to the member upon registration.

"Our records show an email confirming registration was sent to [the reader's] email address.

This was the same address to which the Rewards First emails were sent. The emails were delivered successfully."

The company adds that it despatched the promised £20 cashback to you within the agreed timeframe of four to six weeks and that this had been processed at the time we took up your complaint.

In addition, the company is refunding your £14.95 payment to Credit Rating Matters "as a goodwill gesture".

Question: I read the letter from your reader SM about her problems with Thomas Cook vouchers that she had given to her son, but which he was unable to use online (Your Money March 19). I have had a similar problem with Jet2. I was given £150 worth of Jet2 gift vouchers for my birthday in January. I looked at the Jet2 website to see where we could go for either a weekend break or a week's holiday.

I read the terms and conditions, then called the number printed on the back of the voucher to reserve two return flights to Palma from Glasgow. When I eventually got through, I was able to confirm the dates and flight details, but these were not available at the same prices as displayed on the website. Instead, the flights were £15 more expensive on the way out and £20 more expensive on the way back. In addition, because we were booking through the call centre, there was a fee of £25 extra per person per flight. This added £170 to the cost of exactly the same flights if we had booked them online. Why does Jet2 not have the facility available to pay by gift vouchers online? And why such a huge cost in extra charges? We booked the flights online and have our gift vouchers lying in a drawer! CL

Answer: Jet2.com accepts the criticism and will amend its systems. A spokeswoman for the airline says: "We are reviewing the process for gift vouchers and will contact the customer in question once this new system is in place, so they can redeem their voucher." Your Money is keen to hear from any other readers who have had problems in using gift vouchers online, or who have found that prices for products or services are higher when paying by vouchers than by other means.

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