Phoney Surveys

I’ve just got hit by a Halfords rep trying to get me to sign up to their new credit card using a tactic beloved of a number of parts of the Energy Industry – the phoney survey.

I went into the Halfords branch in Havant to get a replacement headlight bulb as (much to my satisfaction) when the drivers side bulb blew last night, I managed to replace it myself using the bulb from the spare bulb kit I keep in the car. Anyway, I found the bulb without a problem, and paid for it, however hanging around by the door was a girl with a clipboard.

She said she was promoting the new Halfords credit card, and did a speil about how it could earn points to spend at Halfords (looking at the deal it is a £10 voucher for every 1000 points), and she was surveying for eligibility. Now I’m not in the market for another card, as we have two already, one gives us a cashback that we can spend anywhere, and the other is clocking up BMI miles, which are going to take us over to Canada next summer. Anyway, we went through a list of pretty general questions, basically making sure I was a UK resident, had a bank account, good credit history and so on, however rather than then telling me that I could have a card, she handed me the form she’d been filling in to sign on the bottom. Reading above the signature line, in bold it said that by signing the form I was agreeing to take the card – basically the usual agreement under the Consumer Credit act that all credit card applications include.

At that point I said I wasn’t signing as I didn’t want the card, so she told me that that wasn’t what I was signing for. Even when I pointed out the line in bold, she still continued to argue the point until I basically told her that I didn’t want the card and left.

I’m assuming that she was being paid on commision for every customer she signed up, the same reason it is tempting for energy salesmen. That coupled with the fact that a lot of people won’t read what they sign (how many times have you read the small print on a form?) and the fact that it will be a month or two down the line when the card turns up that people will realise, and she gets a nice commision. Having said that, what she is also doing is breaking another part of the Consumer Credit Act by mis-selling a card, which I guess she hasn’t realised.

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