- Full savings are advertised by retailers including Argos, B&Q and Iceland
- Ads promise at least 10% cashback after completing an online purchase
- But many customers say they were not aware that the service costs £180 per year
- B&Q has now suspended its partnership after we raised concerns
More than a million online shoppers have signed up for a cashback plan that could cost them hundreds of pounds more than they save.
Absolute savings are advertised by over 150 retailers including Argos, Trainline and Iceland, but many customers say they were not aware the service costs £180 per year.
Experts accused the firm of taking advantage of the boom in online shopping during the pandemic.
B&Q has now suspended its participation after MoneyMail raised concerns.
Total shock: 63-year-old Ann Bains found that full savings had taken her £90 off in 6 months
Customers are lured into ads promising an initial £16.87 reward after completing an online purchase.
Other perks also include monthly bonuses and at least 10 percent cashback across thousands of retailers.
For example, on the Argos website, an underlined message in bold appears saying: ‘Click here to claim your £16.87 cash back on this Argos order’.
A flashing button then invites customers to click to receive their reward. But many risk missing out on the small print in a light gray font that says a month’s fee is £15 after a 30-day free trial.
And review sites like Trustpilot are littered with complaints from buyers who say they didn’t know they signed up for the subscription service.
A customer claims to have lost over £615 after buying train tickets online.
Another says he didn’t know he even had a full savings account until he focused on helping the firm with his money.
Customers who click on the ad are taken to Complete Savings’ own website, which typically includes the logo of the retailer they use.
Customers are tempted by ads promising at least 10% cashback after online purchases
The £16.87 promise is mentioned a total of 14 times – with the largest reference being placed inside a counterfeit bank card.
Then there is a form where customers fill in their details, which include their name, pincode, email address and card details.
£16.87 Offer is valid for all new joiners. After this, how much cashback you earn depends on how much you spend.
Full Savings claims customers can pocket up to £250 per month – or £3,000 per year. Shoppers are also promised an annual bonus of up to £180 when they spend with the retailer they are associated with.
Yet research by money-saving app Snoop shows that over three quarters of customers gained nothing or lost £97 on average.
One in three members had not received any cashback in the past 36 days, according to a survey of 5,637 customers who paid an annual subscription of £180 for a total savings.
Complete Savings’ parent company Webloyalty raised £33.8 million last year – a 32 percent increase over the previous year – and reported a million new customers.
On its two accounts page, the company acknowledges that there will always be ‘many complaints’ due to the ‘nature’ of the products and services provided.
B&Q suspends partnership with Full Savings after MoneyMail expressed concerns
Scott Mowbre of Snoop says: ‘It is clear from our analysis that most people sign up for this cashback service without realizing they are on the hook for a total fee of £180 each year. Although legal and not a scam, it is far from transparent and you can see why most people say they feel cheated.
Ann Bains, 63, a retired PA, was caught in April after spending £95 on online grocery delivery from Iceland. After completing her purchase, she was taken to a site page claiming she could save £15 the next time she shopped.
Ann was in a hurry so just clicked on the box and turned off her computer. He doesn’t remember entering his card details.
Yet, recently, she received a message from Snoop asking if she knew she was paying £15 a month for full savings.
The money-saving app, which helps customers manage expenses, was alerted by users inquiring about transactions in the context of ‘wly*completesave.co.uk’.
Upon investigation, it began marking payments to customers to ensure that they were happy paying for the service. In a panic, Ann of Herne Bay, Kent, checked her bank statements and found that the firm had taken £90 in the previous six months.
She says: ‘It was in shock. I didn’t know what this company was and how it got my card details. I am a widow on pension and cannot afford to lose this money.
After MoneyMail’s intervention, WeLoyalty agreed to refund Ann, but her monthly fee is clearly referenced on the sign-up page.
A spokesperson says: ‘Our sign-up page has complete information about the program and all the benefits available.’
A B&Q spokesperson says it does not work directly with Full Savings, adding: ‘An affiliated publisher we work with promoted our site at Full Savings. During the course of the investigation we have suspended our relationship with that affiliated publisher.
And an Argos spokesperson says: ‘We regularly review our partnerships based on a range of factors, including customer feedback.’ Iceland declined to comment.