Consumer Skills
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02nd November 2009

CONSUMER COUNCIL SAYS TREAT SAVINGS CARDS LIKE CASH

The Consumer Council today urged savers who use Christmas Savings Schemes provided by big supermarkets to treat their savings cards like cash. The warning came because these schemes, which allow people to buy £1 stamps or put money on a plastic card, are unsecure. The Consumer Council is also calling on retailers to keep a record of customers’ savings to avoid them losing out should they lose, damage or have their savings card stolen.

Carol Edwards, Head of Education at the Consumer Council said: “Supermarket Christmas Savings Schemes are a convenient and simple way to put money aside for Christmas presents and groceries but they come with a risk.  At present you can save up to £50 per card and there is no limit on how many cards you can have.  Retailers do not keep a record of how much customers have saved, so the level of savings is completely anonymous.  If savers lose, damage or have their savings card stolen, they will lose all their money.

“This system needs to change.  Retailers still expect their customers to save using £1 stamps stuck onto a piece of card that is untraceable if lost, despite the fact that they have the technology in place to track what type of cereal their customers buy.  The Consumer Council has raised this issue with the Office of Fair Trading which in turn has written to retailers to encourage them to improve these schemes.  We will continue to campaign for the supermarkets to step up to the plate and secure customers’ savings, so they are not left carrying all the risk.  Until supermarkets do the right thing by their customers, we urge all savers using these schemes to treat their cards like cash.”

  1. Consumer Council media contact: Gráinne Duffy, telephone, 028 9067 4813 or e-mail, [email protected]  
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk