An email from Upromise today, probably to offset the bad PR of the Turbosaver toolbar FTC ruling, announced a site revamp along with a new everyday sitewide minimum cashback rate of 5%.
I was pretty excited about this, because some electronics stores traditionally offer low cashback rates. I went to the site and right off the bat, found a wee bit of a problem. Note Upromise’s cashback rate for Priceline (bottom right).
I thought, surely this is a typo and they just forgot to increase their rate on the site, and when I click through it’ll give me at least 5% cashback at Priceline, because that IS what they promised. But no.
Wrong! And what’s with the confusing wording here — SAVE 2% per booking but EARN 1% extra when you use their credit card…? Are we saving, or earning?
Anyway, I assumed that, silly me, I must have just misread the email. Let’s read it together:
Nope, I think it’s pretty clear what they’re promising.
Does their website offer any clarification?
Huh. Well, maybe that word “eligible” is what’s giving them wiggle room. But that would be disingenuous, wouldn’t it? Because with that logic, if you had only ONE merchant with 20% cashback, you could say, “You always get 20% or more cash back on your eligible online shopping purchases.” No, you couldn’t do that because that would be DECEPTIVE.
Well, maybe Priceline is the only exception to this 5% minimum cashback thing. Let’s check:
Upromise, with over ten million members, is owned by the Fortune 500 SLM Corporation, which has been named one of America’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens” five times by Corporate Responsibility Officer, and the Sallie Mae Fund earned the 2007 Insight Award for Customer Advocacy in Financial Services from Insight Forums, LLC — an award which recognizes “financial communications initiatives that proactively enable customers to make fully informed choices.” Irony, anyone?
Just last week, Upromise’s failure to provide full disclosure of its program’s terms (about data gathered by its TurboSaver toolbar) got them wrist-slapped by the FTC. You would think that they would have learned something from that, wouldn’t you?
Disappointed. Truly sad and disappointed.