Old 20th May 2016, 00:46   #1
Balled and Chained
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,245
Motherfucking Virgin Frequent Flyer (sneaky bastards)

Let's see what comes of this.

From: [iomegajaz]
To: tipoff@thecheckout.net.au

Hello, The Checkout Team!

Long time, first time. You know how it is.

I have a gripe with Velocity Frequent Flyer ("VFF"), and it goes a little something like this:
  1. Upon receiving my [monthly?] VFF account statement email on 10 March, I noticed that I had a bunch of VFF "points" accumulated, so I went to the VFF website's login page to see what I could buy with them.
  2. After logging in, I saw and then clicked on the link saying "What can I do with my points?"
  3. This took me to a page which offered a number of options, including "Apple products (iPod, iPad, iPhone) from 11,000 points". Huzzah, methoughts. I'll get myself an iSomething! *click*
  4. That link took me through to the VFF shop, specifically to the Apple iPhone/iPad product category page.
  5. NONE of the items on the page could be bought for 11,000 points. The cheapest thing—an Apple Watch—was priced at 37,809 points plus a further $258 cash.
  6. I promptly emailed VFF to raise my concern, i.e. that they had baited and switched me like a mofo—there was nothing in the linked Apple product listing that could be bought for anything close to 11,000 points.
  7. I suggested that—if it were the case that VFF was unaware of this egregious mistake on their part, and I had alerted them to it—I would accept remuneration commensurate with my assisting VFF to see the error of its ways and correct the problem. I offered that VFF could send me one of each item—i.e. one iPad, one iPhone and one iPod—by way of compensation.
  8. On 17 March, VFF emailed me to request screenshots, which I provided the same day.
  9. On 22 March, VFF emailed again to advise, "As your enquiry requires some further investigation, I will be looking after this for you and will endeavour to resolve your enquiry as soon as possible."
  10. On 4 April—after 13 more days, having heard nothing—I emailed VFF to remind them that the aforementioned links/pages/products/prices/etc were still in use.
  11. On 5 April, VFF emailed back to advise, "...changes on the availability and number of Points required to redeem a particular item is subject to changes. As such we are unable to provide any compensation in regards to your concern."
Notwithstanding VFF stating in so many words that "changes is subject to changes" (yikes), VFF's use of "From 11,000 points!" click-bait is misleading and disingenuous.

I calculated that the RRPs of the cheapest available Apple iPod, iPad and iPhone shown in the VFF shop added up to $1847.00. I believed that this sum was more than fair for what I had done to assist VFF in recognising the error of its ways and to encourage VFF to behave honestly going forward.

I submitted complaints along these lines (including attachments showing all emails and screenshots)—and requests for reimbursement/compensation to the aforementioned approximate value—initially to the ACCC and then to the Queensland Office of Fair Trading. Their responses are below (emphasis is mine).

Originally Posted by The ACCC's response
Although we do not have a dispute resolution service we have recorded your complaint. If you are unable to resolve this problem with Velocity Rewards Pty Ltd, you should contact the Queensland Office of Fair Trading on 13 74 68. The Office of Fair Trading may be able to assist you with this matter. They can mediate some disputes but they cannot enforce a resolution. Unlike the Office of Fair Trading, the ACCC does not have a dispute resolution service.
After I submitted my follow-up complaint (to the Qld OFT), I emailed VFF to advise that I had done so and suggested that they take the opportunity to make amends with me before the Qld OFT came to any conclusion about VFF's conduct. VFF emailed back on 3 and 4 May—the contents of each email are as follows:
  • 3 May:
    • Please accept my apologies that this was not escalated appropriately after your initial email. We will work with our email team to ensure that we do not have a reoccurrence of this type of issue.
    • We have spoken with the provider of our Reward Store and they have advised that they are having temporary issues with this item from their supplier. They expect that this will be resolved shortly and the item will again be available for redemption.
    • We will review the process of removing items that are temporarily unavailable moving forward also. We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention and will confirm back to you when the iPod Shuffle becomes available again for redemption.
  • 4 May:
    • Please note that the iPod Shuffle is once again available on the Velocity Rewards Store for 11,000 Points if you are still interested in redeeming it.
Originally Posted by The Qld OFT's response
OFT found no breach of the legislation and is unable to assist you, as your complaint is a civil matter over which OFT has no jurisdiction. OFT has to determine an offence has been committed under which OFT has legislative power or jurisdiction. In this instance under the Australian Consumer Law 2011 (ACL) you are not recognised as a consumer, therefore we can take the matter no further. A court or tribunal are the only decision makers with the authority to direct a trader to provide redress. If you wish to take the matter further you may be able make a claim through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) or the Queensland Magistrates Court. More information can be viewed at website http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/matter-ty...rader-disputes.
Maybe I'm "not a consumer" because I didn't buy any of the non-existent 11,000-point Apple products from the VFF shop. I did buy airfares from Virgin Australia in the first place, in order to accrue VFF points—so I bought something initially … No?

All emails and screenshot attachments are … attached … and named in chronological order.

Is there anything I can do to [a] encourage VFF not to continue effectively baiting and switching customers with its "from 11,000 points" types of ads, and, more importantly, [b] get my hands on some juicy compensation/remuneration for my valuable time and/or questionable emotional distress?

Thanks, team. I look forward to hearing what you think about all this.



"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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