Discount voucher schemes are when you buy a card or booklet of vouchers which lets you purchase goods and services from participating businesses at a discounted cost or with some other benefit. It’s advertised that you’ll make significant savings for a paying a small fee for the card or voucher. The savings that you’ll make will depend on how many of the discounts you are able to use and this can be affected by a number of factors including:
- the location of participating businesses
- conditions on usage
- discounts may only be provided in conjunction with the purchase of another product or service at the full price
- the participating business closes down or changes owners.
Before you buy a discount voucher or card, you should review the discounts offered and any conditions to make sure you can get maximum benefit from the scheme. Like most contracts, you might not be able to get a refund if you change your mind. If the scheme was misrepresented or conditions were not disclosed at the time of sale, you might get some compensation from the promoter.
Also, if the vouchers were sold over the telephone to you or through a door-to-door salesperson they may be subject to a cooling-off period under the unsolicited consumer agreements provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.
For businesses, these schemes can attract new customers. Before agreeing to participate, businesses should consider how many of the cards or vouchers will be sold and what impact this may have on their business. Any conditions a business wishes to place on use of the discount should be clearly outlined.
Some discount systems revolve around sales recruitment schemes that are promoted by multi-level marketing. These schemes need to be closely examined to determine whether they are in breach of the pyramid sales provisions of the Fair Trading Act.