Dubious discount scheme targeting elderly.
Online discount scheme Senior Advantage promises to save elderly consumers money if they sign up. However, we found the deals it offers are already available to everyone.
The seniorsadvantage.org website promises you can “save up to 70% at almost every store in New Zealand” as well as offering budgeting tools, meal plans and horoscopes. To bag a “bargain”, all you have to do is sign up and pay $39 for a 12-month plan, a special price marked down from $99.
Logos of major retailers – including Pak’nSave, New World and Countdown – are featured on the site. However, the supermarkets told us they have no affiliation with Senior Advantage.
While the website claims to offer “thousands of discounts and coupons for online and in-store shopping”, a Senior Advantage spokesperson acknowledged the deals on the site were publicly available.
The spokesperson claimed Senior Advantage offered “convenience” by aggregating deals from various stores, saving consumers from having to look for the discounts themselves.
“We have clear disclosures on each page stating that we have no affiliation or any kind of relationship with any stores listed.”
However, these disclosures are buried in the fine print at the bottom of the page and we think consumers risk being misled about what they’re getting for their money.
Senior Advantage has recently come in for flak across the Tasman, where it’s operating a similar site.
In December, consumer watchdog Choice reported Senior Advantage had been offering discounts from retailers that were already available to everyone. A Choice staffer paid A$19 to join Senior Advantage. When they clicked on one of the Senior Advantage Woolworths deals, they were just taken to the supermarket’s half-price specials page.
According to the site’s terms and conditions, Senior Advantage is run by JSC “Inulti”, a company registered in Lithuania. But that doesn’t mean it’s immune from New Zealand consumer laws. Any company operating in our market must comply with the Fair Trading Act.