Georgina Crouth
Georgina Crouth
Picture: Leon Nicholas
Picture: Leon Nicholas
Cedric Lynch:
I read your articles every week but cannot let your handling of the PnP debacle go unchallenged. You have unfortunately allowed your friend John Bradshaw to get away with consumer murder.

Yes, PnP Smart Shopper points expire a year after they have been earned, and yes PnP has been taking off these points every month. It is only now after several objections that PnP is informing customers that points will be expiring. Now, let’s have a look at what happened on January 1, 2018, which is the crux of unhappiness for PnP customers. All points earned in December 2016 should have expired and with that statement no one can object. But what did PnP do? They did not deduct the points for December 2016, they deducted hundreds of rands from customers.

RELATED: Ask Georgie: PnP under fire for Smart Shopper points

There are two possible scenarios: One, it was a deliberate attempt by PnP to lower the amount of money the Smart Shopper programme was costing them. The second scenario is that their system malfunctioned and removed the rand value instead of points value.

People who wrote to you had about R400 deducted. To have earned R400 in December 2016 one had to spend R40000.

Now I am one of those customers from whom PnP deducted R460 and I used the above to challenge them. Without a single word of disagreement every cent was reimbursed. It is the answer to the above two scenarios that you need to question your friend John Bradshaw on and not, as a consumer journalist, accept at face value his lengthy but useless response.

Your byline is consumer watchdog with serious bite. This half-page article is not even a whimper.

Marius Spies: I’ve had my SmartShopper card for some years now. I’ve been building up my points all the time - never used any of it. 

It never expired (for years). Never did I see any notification on my till slip notifying me that my points expired after one year. When I made a purchase last month, and checked my till slip, I noticed that most of my points are gone. And just beneath that is a message saying that the points expire after a year.

I checked my Smart Shopper profile and noticed my mobile number is up to date for any communication - which I never received. I e-mailed PnP customer services about this and still no reply. Today, I made another purchase, and even more of my points are gone and I barely have anything left of what I had built up over the years. I had almost R500 in value and that is almost all gone.

RELATED: Ask Georgie: I earned R1 000 on my card and then my points expired

Ketleho Moeca: I’m a loyal PnP customer. I drive past all the other grocery stores to get to my nearest PnP. I’ve been saving up my points so that I could buy something big and special at PnP Hyper. I already had a couple of ideas for my points.

I was on holiday in Port Elizabeth on January 3, when I found out at the till that I’ve lost R380 worth of points on the 1st. None of PnP employees could explain to me what happened. I tried calling Customer Care for a week, but with no luck. They kept me on hold for hours. I was so furious, I even sent their Customer Care two emails and have yet to receive a response.

What kills me the most is that PnP keeps sending me weekly SMSes about their specials, but they can’t even send me such an important SMS about the expiry of my points?

Rev MG Wishart: I would like to add my complaint to the many I believe have already been received. At the start of this year, PnP cancelled what must be overall hundreds of thousands of rands worth of rewards earned without adequate warning.

When questioned, they claim they gave adequate warning. However, from the number of customers I know, let alone thousands of others who may or may not have complained, who were unaware of PnP’s plan to cancel all rewards earned prior to a certain date, it does not seem possible for PnP to justify its claim of adequate notification.

I have been a loyal PnP customer for many years and unless it reinstates those rewards, which they have stolen, I will no longer shop at any of its stores. I am a pensioner and those savings were very important to me.

Liz Eldridge: Having just read Georgina Crouth’s article on IOL, I want to voice my discontent over how Pick ’* Pay have handled their Smart Shopper rewards programme.

My husband and I were saving our reward points until we reached a certain amount before spending them. We were not notified of the introduction of an expiry date last year. My first notification was via an SMS last month, saying I had 275 points that needed to be used before this month.

I went into a store to check on my points, which had been 75000, only to find all except the most recent ones had been taken away. I don’t believe the retailers did their best to notify customers in advance. The public should receive better customer service from such a large and well-known chain.

* Georgina Crouth is a consumer watchdog with serious bite. Write to her at [email protected]

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