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18 January 2023

Your Wins: Redeeming Flybuys points when you don’t have digital access

A Consumer member gets in touch after struggling to contact Flybuys.

Recently we were able to help an elderly Consumer NZ member, Isabell, who couldn’t get hold of Flybuys to redeem her points because the company no longer takes phone calls.

Flybuys illustration

Isabell’s daughter, Mandy, contacted us after she’d struggled to get in touch with Flybuys on her 91-year-old mother’s behalf.

Isabell lives in a rest home and her mail goes to Mandy. A letter had arrived from Flybuys, saying some of Isabell’s 400 Flybuys points were soon to expire. She asked her mother if she wanted to use them and her mother requested she use all the points to buy a couple of bottles of wine for Christmas.

However, that was easier said than done.

“My mother has never had an online account with Flybuys and Flybuys have no contact number and cannot be reached,” Mandy said.

“I contacted Flybuys, by email, on the 21st of November – before some of the points were due to expire – but didn’t get any answer,” Mandy told Consumer NZ.

“I’ve emailed them again and finally got an answer, asking me to create an account. The site doesn’t recognise the correct details so I can’t go any further – and I’m not getting any help with it.”

That’s when Mandy came to us. One of our consumer advisers contacted Flybuys’ media team and asked if something could be done to help Isabell and Mandy. We also mentioned to the company that concerns have been raised at a government level about ‘digital exclusion’, as more organisations and government agencies primarily focus on online communication. We also asked what the options are for people to contact Flybuys if they don’t have internet access, given Flybuys can no longer be contacted by phone.

As Mandy told us: “The points are not a lot, but they do belong to my mother and she is wanting to use them as a contribution to Christmas. It’s really frustrating not to be able to speak to anyone and not get the help needed.”

A few days after we emailed Flybuys we heard from its Chief Customer Officer, who said someone had phoned Mandy on the same day we’d emailed Flybuys, to sort out the issue. She also apologised for the initial delay in assisting Mandy when she tried to get in contact. Isabell received her wine and Flybuys even threw in an extra bottle.

Flybuys told us it stopped taking calls to its 0800 number last September, “after a period of planning and preparation for this change”.

For members such as Isabell who are not online, Flybuys is happy for someone else to send a phone number via its Contact Us page online so the member can be called back. Members also have the option of contacting Flybuys via post, and all postal letters are prioritised, the company said.

The Chief Customer Officer also told us that Flybuys helps members by phone to get up and running with our online process if they choose to give it a go.

“We’re finding that these measures have been working well but we continue to receive feedback as an opportunity to improve.” 

Let us know if you or anyone you know has faced a similar issue.

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