MyPoints Giveth, MyPoints Taketh Away

August 27, 2010 · 5 comments

If you’re finding your MyPoints (aff) account balance dropped by 500 points this week and you’re wondering why, it’s due to a big-time screwup last month.
It seems that “an intermittent technical error in late July” gave some MyPoints members 500 points for just clicking through a ShareBuilder offer, when they were supposed to open and fund a new ShareBuilder account in order to receive the points.
The error was caught and reversed earlier this week, with MyPoints sending out an explanation by email to members impacted by the mistake. This could have been a pretty costly error for MyPoints, depending on the number of “intermittent” erroneous 500 point credits that were awarded: 500 MyPoints = $3.73, give or take.
But the question I have is this: couldn’t MyPoints have just honored their mistake? After all, if I go into a department store and an item is incorrectly marked, they honor their mistake. I can’t tell you how many price mistake deals I’ve gotten online over the years, honored by the merchant nonetheless at their expense. You chalk it up to marketing expense, good will, write it off as a loss… certainly a company as large as MyPoints, which according to MyPointsCorp.com has over 7 million members in its database, can afford to honor their own $3.73 mistake… unless it was a very widespread error, affecting thousands and thousands of members, in which case I can see it not being financially feasible to honor the error, but that would indicate that it was more than just “intermittent.”
Customer service is crucial to any business, and rewards programs aren’t exempt from this principle. People make mistakes, and companies make mistakes, of course, but I think that MyPoints could have handled this better. Their email explanation was cold and impersonal, and though it offered an apology at the end, it didn’t even seem that sincere. It read,
“Dear P—–,
We’re writing you to explain the recent Sharebuilder activity in your MyPoints Account Statement. An intermittent technical error in late July caused a Point credit of 500 Points under the Description: ‘ShareBuilder BonusMail Fund Account’. This offer was for opening and funding a ShareBuilder account. On 08-23-10 we reversed this erroneous Point award from your MyPoints account. Rest assured no rightfully earned Points have been deducted from your account. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we appreciate your understanding.
Sincerely,The MyPoints Member Services Team”
People respond better to someone TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for a mistake. They also like to be offered some sort of consolation gift when they are the victim of a mistake. Had I been the one to craft this email, it would have gone something like this:
“Dear Becky,
I’m writing today to explain an account adjustment being made to your account. We goofed. About a month ago, we posted an offer that read, ‘Get 500 points for opening and funding a new ShareBuilder account.’ Thousands of MyPoints accounts were credited in error simply for clicking through the email. We weren’t paid by the advertiser for the click-through, only for those members who completed the offer as stated. While we feel the right thing to do would be to allow all members to keep these points since it was our error, this would be too costly for our company particularly given this economic climate. MyPoints strives to provide our members with a seamless and error-free experience and in this instance we failed. Please accept my personal apology and a Good Will Credit in the amount of 50 points for the confusion and inconvenience that this may have caused you. We have learned from this unfortunate incident and will work hard to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Thank you for your continued membership, and please consider ShareBuilder for your online trading needs, where you’ll receive 500 MyPoints for opening and funding a new account.
Humbly,
NAME OF SOMEBODY at MyPoints, and their title”
I think people would be more understanding of my version, don’t you?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken August 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I just recently redeemed some points for a $25 gift card, and I’m seriously wondering if this is a good point to just sever my Mypoints relationship. Very rarely do I shop through Mypoints; there are much more attractive shopping sites — such as E-bates. Even the sites of many credit card providers have shopping portals that will earn rewards faster — and at a more attractive rate — than Mypoints. Building up points by clicking through e-mails and completing surveys may be easy, but it’s tedious and at times just seems to adding clutter to my inbox.

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Joe August 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Transparency and a little humility is always best. It’s pretty remarkable how spot-on your alternate reply is!

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Rus September 2, 2010 at 6:24 am

Just a follow up – they never replied to my concern asking for clarification about the deduction.

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jim dans September 11, 2010 at 12:28 am

Looks like they have gotten rid of a VP and SVP of Marketing, based on their corporate website. Seems like they have gone down hill over the last 2 years. More and more emails with no click points and low points per $ offers even when you spend money.

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Steven Michaels September 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I’ve been a member since ’05 and I personally havn’t had a single issue with them. I have however noticed this trend as well, but you have to remember they are a business. You can’t please everyone all of the time. As they said, depending on how wide spread it was, that could come out to a $21+ Million mistake and you can’t really ask someone to absorb that.
I do not know if I am in the minority or the majority, but it seems that the emails I receive with no points to click are offers that I got a week or so earlier that I clicked on and they are trying to sell me again. I think it’s actually a good idea because some offers I just click to get my points and never really read it, but when they send it later on, I take a few seconds and really look it over and usually sign up or similar. Sometimes the 2nd time around they actually offer more points despite no points for clicking so you probably make out better if you click the original, then wait for a 2nd offer (assuming it’s not a limited time offer)
As far as the VP & SVP it makes you wonder. But at the same time you can’t assume the Mypoints “got rid” of them. Just as I have done recently, perhaps they found a new offer that was more enticing and decided to leave on their own. You can’t just assume that the company is firing people when they might have left on their own for no reasons dealing with Mypoints.

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