The Hong Kong Consumer Council received 330 complaints about credit card offers in the first eight months of 2022, up sharply from the same period last year.
According to the Consumer Council’s press conference last Thursday, some examples of complaints included welcome gifts delayed for more than six months and denial of expected benefits for online shopping. “Last year we had 166 cases in the first [eight months] from 2021, this time there are 330, you can see there is a 99% increase,” said Kyrus Siu King-wai, chairman of the council’s publicity and community relations committee. A total of 258 complaints were filed in 2021 and 183 in 2020.
According to the council, a complainant applied for two credit cards through Company A’s platform. After spending the required amount for the welcome offer, she submitted a rewards redemption form in mid-September of the year. last year and received a confirmation e-mail indicating that the collection of the gifts would be organized within ten to 15 weeks.
The complainant was to be notified by the end of December. However, until January of this year, the complainant did not receive any notification from Company A, so she proactively inquired about the status of the gift exchange. Company A confirmed that the request had been accepted and promised to notify the complainant by March 11 for the collection of the gifts, then revised it by March 18.
The complainant was of the view that the gift cards should not be affected by the delay in global logistics, she was worried and unsatisfied with Company A regarding the repeated change of the collection date. Therefore, she approached the Council for help. The council suggested that consumers assess their affordability and practical needs when shopping.
They must remain rational and avoid impulsive or even excessive spending on promotional offers. He also said that consumers should pay attention to the terms and conditions of promotional offers, such as the specified spending period, whether pre-registration is required, whether the offer is limited in time or quantity, and whether the amount of expenditure is capped or specific products are excluded, etc. to avoid disappointment if the offer turns out to be unavailable during purchases.
In addition, customers should check monthly statements after spending to confirm whether banks provided promotional rebates tied to spending in accordance with the terms, the council said. If consumers have questions, they should raise them with the banks as soon as possible. The council also urged banks and relevant service partner platforms to ensure sufficient inventory and stable supply of gifts; organize an adequate workforce to manage the sending of gifts within a reasonable time; and strengthen customer service and transparency.
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