Important Behind The Scenes Action!

Hi Everyone,

We have stuck this post in our cashback diary - as it is a wee (juicy) glimpse into life behind the scenes of a cashback site. We would also love people's view on the way forward with this - after all, several hundred thousand heads are better than 1 !!!

More seriously though, we realise the following might not be to everyone's taste - so we apologise if you don't feel we should be airing this in public - but this isn't a 'one-off' - it is more that this is the last straw and if we don't take a stand now, then it could be a very slippery slope.

We have had quite a week!

We had a great retailer offer given to us at the start of the week based on a tiered volume system. These offers are made to us by the affiliate networks - these are companies that sit in between every cashback site and all of the retailers listed. They are the middlemen or supply-chain if you like. Unfortunately we weren't quite on the top tier by volume, so we added in our own bonus making sure that we were offering the very best cashback deal to our members (just as we always do).

So far so good. We had a great deal for our members and we were making it even better - in line with our Fair Play policy and Highest Cashback Guarantee - cornerstones of our business and of our commitment to our members.

So what happens next? I'll just summarise because there was a LOT of stages to this whole process...

1) We get told by the network that we have to stop offering our members our bonus because a particular competitor doesn't like it. (Incidentally, the competitor was offering the same rate).

2) Later in the day, we received an email mentioning that there might be a drastic measure needed unless we could comply. Now we are told that it is due to budget concerns. Suddenly, it seemed we were in danger of sending too many sales through for the program to cope with, despite the fact that a competitor was offering this same rate.

3) We manage to keep the deal going for at least another 24 hours. We had, after all, given our commitment to other companies that we would do so - and we don't let people down.

4) Despite being able to run for a while, we have now been forced to remove OUR bonus to OUR members for this merchant.

So yes, to summarise, in this instance we have had to stop offering a bonus to our members because it seems that a competitor has decided that they don't like us doing this!

At this point, I should point out that throughout our 4 year history, we have always offered extra bonuses to members based on specific purchases - and never before a mention of too many sales!

I should point out that we are not a small company ourselves - we are amongst the top websites in the country in terms of sales for most of the affiliate networks. So if a competitor could force terms on us, then we assume they can force terms on anyone they choose.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this - and suggestions for a way forward. As I say, I do apologise to anyone who feels we shouldn't air such goings on in public - but we really do feel that we are on a bit of a precipice - if any competitor can start to dominate so much that they can force another site to not offer bonuses to their own members, then it is a very slippery slope. At the end of the day, that is bound to be bad for any cashback user, whichever cashback site is used.

If a cashback site were ever able to dominate the market so much that they can force their competitors not to offer bonuses, then that just can't be good!

Just a couple of points I would like to make very clear - we certainly aren't looking to blame the affiliate network for this, who we believe have been put in a very difficult (and even distressing) situation. In fact, a very similar scenario has been played out in recent weeks on a couple of other occasions, with more than one affiliate network - so clearly no individual network is to blame.

In fact, we have nothing but praise for all of the affiliate networks. This particular network frequently works very hard on our behalf to drive good offers our way so we have no complaints with them at all. We just think that their staff were put into an impossible situation in this case. Equally, we most certainly don't want any retailers drawn into this. Therefore, we would ask members not to speculate publicly on the name of the affiliate network(s) or on the retailer offer in question. I'm afraid therefore, that unlike our other blogs and comments, we may need to regulate the comments here fairly carefully, as things may get a little heated.

What can you do?

Well, for starters, if you want to help you can let us know how you feel or suggest a way forward.

Furthermore, we believe that a situation like this can only be brought about if a competitor has the size, dominance and sheer business aggressiveness to do it. Therefore, we would urge all of our members to do us the honour of purchasing through our website whenever they can - and of course, to think of anyone else who might benefit from our service too :)

Olly and Mike
Co-founders of Top Cashback
Posted on 14 Aug 2009  |  Posted in  Cashback Diary
Comments
audreyod
I've just joined with TCB and am very, very happy with the human treatment... I was with q... But due to so many mistakes made by themselves, I got fed up and so glad I did! Bullies are everywhere, the best way forward is for everyone registered with TCB to refer at least one more person to this site, success is the best way to beat the bully!!!
  12 Nov 09 - 20:01

I've been with q'co for over a year and earnt a decent amount (£400+) But for the last 5 months things have been looking very shakey over there (no doubt they have some spies here reading this - I do hope so as they don't seem to listen over there)...

Having literally just signed up to TCB, and reading all the good comments about them on here, i'm actually looking forward to earning similar amounts (but actually being paid) especially over the upcoming festive period.

Not sure I can comment about this issue though...Can you not seek advice from other CashBack giants against the one enforcing TCB down a specific route? 3 of you together would be bigger than the one imposing rules i'd imagine.

Good luck
  19 Oct 09 - 10:15
sheila99
Have been a q member for four years,but have has various non
Payments in that time.

I have now fully switched and am awaiting £200+ From TCB

I am delighted with this site, keep up the good work

So pleased you aired this to us all, although some would not
Agree with me.
  22 Sep 09 - 06:27
Foghorn123
You have to name and shame, bullies should be tackled head on and defeated. If you remain silent they win!
  16 Sep 09 - 20:53
DMCCOURT
None of the others can touch the way the site is run and the great offers you bring us on a daily basis..Keep it up TCB Team!!!!
  08 Sep 09 - 22:57
Noddy64
I have never used the 'other' cashback site as I was put off by the annual fee! However, I am a member of another site but stopped using them ages ago as they couldn't compete with the offers on TCB!! I always recommend TCB to family & Friends & You will continue to get my support! Even when i've experienced problems with cashback (it's bound to happen occasionally!) The help & Support has been first class! Keep up the good work!
  07 Sep 09 - 10:19
pattie29
Good to see all the support you are getting, you've certainly got mine. Obviously, from reading the above posts, most people are with you, unfortunatley I have no constructive advice but just wanted to wish you luck in trying to resolve this.
  03 Sep 09 - 21:32
RTJM
This almost certainly breaches the European competition Act (2000). If you told us who the company was, we could all stop shopping there! If you did divulge their name, what would they sue you for? Telling the truth?
  02 Sep 09 - 20:31
one_deen
First of all, I would argue that the action of your competitor is anti-competative and thus breaches uk and eu Competition Law and Regulations.

- To force your supplier (affiliate network) to stop supplying you based on your behaviour, which is within the law, is illegal.
- Your competitor is entitled to gain a market advantage by negotiating better terms from the supplier; if you so wish to match their advantage by reducing your margins, that is entirely your right, so long as you are not trading insolvently.
- The only way to break this deadlock, without jeopardising your relationship with your suppliers, would be face to face discussions. If all else fails, then legal action against your competitor would be the only avenue. I would suggest getting explicitly in writing that your supplier have been pressurised into asking you to trade openly. If the e-mail you have is not explicit enough you should ask for clarification.
- Hope we can prevent this type of outrageous behaviour,
  31 Aug 09 - 21:18
kartel166
I'm all for competition but only when it's fair. Carry on fighting this lowlife competitor and good luck.
  28 Aug 09 - 11:14

I think its highly unlikely any Legal action has been sort or is being taken. Instead I see a clever piece of marketing by a company looking to gain an advantage in the market place ( all be it very sly and maybe un-ethical).

It happens everyday in the business world, thats why pr is such a big business in its own right.
  26 Aug 09 - 17:04
8eo
I too believe the competitor is getting too big for its boots and its actions are totally unjust (even if its typical business practice).

At the end of the day, its not doing any of us (the consumer) and good and I believe the whole point of cash back sites is to give us the best deals.

Hopefully this can be solved soon - any news from Topcashback people?
  26 Aug 09 - 11:48
Tommy2k4
http://www.out-law.com/page-8334
Is this really any different?
  24 Aug 09 - 14:16
Dinosteveus1
I had a 'Ticket' opened by one of their bullies over at q asking what my 'problem' was.
Here is an extract from one of their posts/Ticket thingy to me:-

"We are putting procedures in place to stop members from continually posting negative comments on our own blog especially as we are offering to phone and help users. We feel feel that the criticism at times in unjust and unfair as we are working hard to resolve any outstanding commission or transactions."


Another comment from them when I asked about the 'rumours' regarding bully boy tactics against TCB:-

"At Quidco we are only concerned with matters regarding our business. I do not work for Top cashback and I will not be commenting on anything Top Cashback related. If you do require any help with your Quidco account I am willing to advise you via this ticket."





  24 Aug 09 - 09:38
Baldy_Man
Could this be the reason why q are running scared?

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=24467089#post24467089

Post #3 lol
  23 Aug 09 - 16:02
Locko
Topcashback's the 'tops' as far as i'm concerned, I have earned money on deals I would have made regardless of TCB, this has meant that I now have enough 'bonus' cash to use for buying a new mobile phone (through TCB of course).

Keep up the good work.
  23 Aug 09 - 15:42
chocky58
I agree with the majority on here that think the "suspect" is Quidco and dont agree with what they're trying to do, I believe Quidco are in crisis and running scared. On Quidco's blog earlier this week, the amount of dissatisfied customers posting complaints was overwhelming and they are failing spectacularly in providing good customer service and paying out cash back. Quidco customers are voting with their feet and moving to other cashback sites, mostly tbc.
  21 Aug 09 - 21:59
saogan
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning tv and radio presenter, national newspaper columnist who champions consumer issues such as this and i'm sure he'd be extremely interested to know which competitor is involved
  21 Aug 09 - 14:08
jec1968
How do you know its the competitor who's objecting? From what I can see the only contact you've had is from the network. Anything else is an assumption. Secondly, if this relates to what I think it does, the competitor had an exclusive offer. They would therefore be well within their rights to object. Maybe you should have made the exact details of your offer clearer?
  21 Aug 09 - 10:26
jimster
I think it is pretty easy to guess the competitor involved here.

I can't add anything more than what has been already said but will say that I stopped using the other lot due to their lack of openess about issues members were facing.

What I have experienced at TCB is almost as different as day is from night. Though I have had a few issues with tracking, the detail given in correspondence and the general attitude has meant I have no lost a penny so far and amde me feel valued.

I am happy to solely use TCB for my purchases and will definately avoid the bullies despite what gimmicks they offer.
  21 Aug 09 - 03:56
dirtydog351
I just lost £25 thanks to quidco hit and miss service I have a feeling they are offering cash back that doesn't exist

All in all even if quidco are offering a better rate I will not use them as you might not get it.

So for me it's TCB all the way I just earned £50 from dial a phone from you.

Thanks TCB
  21 Aug 09 - 01:14
AndyWB
Yes, it sounds like foul play. It is none of the competitors business if you offer an extra bonus. The competitor could always choose to do the same if it wanted. The only time you should be forced to change is if the vendor objects.
  21 Aug 09 - 00:17
ahai1
Thank you for been so open.
  18 Aug 09 - 20:14
Jagoads
You have my laoyalty being the first and only site I have tried and always been well served. Is there anything legal you can do, like with the monopolies ombudsman or somesuch. Sounds like someone is wanting a takeover.
  18 Aug 09 - 18:08
Happy_Fran
I am far from being an expert but this might be something you want to discuss with Trading Standards (or consumer direct).

I have no idea if this comes under the remit of the monopolies commission, but one business from a position of power trying to dictate terms to another might warrant some investigation.

At the end of the day businesses in the same line of 'work' are competing against each other to survive (and thrive) and will seek all legal means to win. I tried the q website and was not too impressed, I do like how things are run on here and will continue to use this site as much as possible.

Good look TopCashback
  18 Aug 09 - 15:17
Prilly
Whilst it is business to improve competitive advantage wherever possible surely this other company has crossed the legality line in coercing the middlemen into changing TCB's policy on bonuses to its own customers.

What ever happened to being competitive in order to gain business?!
  18 Aug 09 - 13:55
Jetta
I've been keeping an aye on this page since the mail first went out and it is indeed nice to see a far outweighing amount of support and only a tiny handfull of those that are less than helpfull.

From your last message it sounds as though you do have some sort of plan of action and we will all be very eager to see what happens from here.

Clearly you can't talk about that here but i'm just happy to get the impression that you won't be taking this lying down, it's comendable and whatever the plan you know your whole customer base is behind you with support.

I'm guessing we might not hear any more for a little while now but do mail again when you get things sorted we'll all be waitting to come rushing back with lots of congrats.

Best of luck

Kate x x x
  18 Aug 09 - 10:31
caseUnauth1
Dear All

Thank you all so much. It isn't too much to say that we have been touched by your support.

When posting a blog such as this one, it feels like there are huge risks. Risks that we will annoy the affiliate networks and risks that our members will take such information badly or feel that we shouldn't be talking openly about such things. We really, fully expected there to be a significant proportion of posts from people who would have preferred us to keep this under wraps.

I have to say though, the posts have been overwhelming in support and given us great heart....There are just too many to answer individually.

Lots of the posts have contained really useful information and ideas. I'm not sure we can say too much more just yet, but we do read all the posts made here and we're taking it all on board.

Thanks all again, your support is really appreciated.
Olly and Mike
  17 Aug 09 - 21:25
TonkaToys
If the merchant is Virg.. Then interestingly they took my order whilst the £150 cashback was advertised here at TCB, but now they don't seem to have my details.
In fact, they seemed to need to start the whole ordering process from scratch (thus meaning I could not get the £150) through TCB.

Could this be linked in any way? Or perhaps it is coincidence rather than conspiracy.

Perhaps anyone else who ordered from v. Whilst the offer was on could check and post whether their order is going through.
  17 Aug 09 - 15:11
jenifusion
Instant reaction is to say tell us who the competitor is but that may be rash at this stage. Keep the dialogue open. The head honchos of both your companies should get their heads together and sort out a way forward.
  17 Aug 09 - 11:36
Member167652439
Sometimes businesses do offer deals which are great for the consumer but do come at a cost to the business. The busines will have had to plan v carefully to make sure they can service levles of interest properly.... Otherwise we'd just complain they were taking too long... Rather than air this in public, you should talk to the network in a professional manner and find a resolution which suits you both... This website needs suppliers too in order to survive....
  17 Aug 09 - 11:15
Cowardlypop
Go on name the "Company" dont hang back.
  17 Aug 09 - 11:06

The amount of bad press that a cashback site been getting the the letter q seem that people are leaving over none payments , Welcome themm here please
  17 Aug 09 - 10:57
Stephen7372
You could try to set up, take over or merge with an affiliate network or networks. Then you could exclude all other cashback sites or just the nasty one hahah!

Vertical merger I believe it's called ;)

The possibilities for giving the highest cash back would be greater then :)
  17 Aug 09 - 09:43

I am a commercial lawyer, I dabble in competition law. I agree with what is said above about abuse of a dominant position. A lot of it may depend on what market shares you and your competitors have. I can highly recommend a guy called Julian Maitland Walker http://www.maitlandwalker.com/pagebuilder.asp?content=people/julianm.html. I have sat through several rather dry lectures by him, but whenever I get something that needs competition law input I give him a call. He's not too expensive either, and I doubt he'd charge you for an inital call.
  17 Aug 09 - 09:33
tazmart
Tcb, in my opinion, is the best out there, and are the first I recommend to anyone.
Just point the affiliate network to this blog so they can see the strength of feeling and support for you against this 'wannabee Microsoft'.
You've got the moral high ground (not that it means much in business these days), but I think most people have twigged who it is, and ultimately this other site will pay the price for turning dirty. If they're already in trouble then this is an act of desperation on their part.
Maybe it's time to start looking at some form of regulation now.
  16 Aug 09 - 21:25
PureZone
Crush them by naming and shaming. Tcb is the only cashback site that I use and recommend. Taken a guess would it be gmtv?
  16 Aug 09 - 20:19

Should the affliate network not have a fair contract policy in place, being that any company using the same network, can not assume power with its trade percentage over the affliate network or another cashback company. If they can not take the heat change your own policies, dont bully to get your own way. A major retailer has lost market share and have introduced from Monday double points, competition is healthy. Match or go one better, bullying and cheating will finally be the downfall of a company. I think you are quite right to air your views of the dirty tricks you have endured. Just make sure you keep your good name and integrity intact, when you have the power which surely will not be to long in the future. It did Ben and Jerry no harm whatsoever when they went public with the dirty tricks they endured. The affliate need to produce a fair and free trade contract to see they are never placed in this situation ever again, and all parties need to sign, that no undue pressure whatsoever is used on the affilate to affect the trade of another company. If your being totally fair with the inforamtion you have disclosed, then a new network fair trade contract is quickly reqiured to be drawn up by the networks lawyers involved. I also think with high street stores closing, and more business on the net, investors are becoming extremely interested in a business what was originally classed as a waste of time, big advertising budgets are being re-distributed by major companies to cashback sites, with big investors they want big returns and hence the muscles being flexed. This seems to be blackmail and that is simply illegal. Fight with all your might, and make it public, try and lobby for a legal free and fair trade policy for all cashback sites, and affliate networks, any business pressure like this should be stopped. You have my support.
  16 Aug 09 - 19:02

Seems to me that in this day and time of financial crisis, everyone, no matter who they are , is looking for a good deal on whatever they might wish to purchse. If cashback can give it to us, then go ahead and thank you. If competitors are afraid of healthy competition, tough! If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! They need to grow up, don't you think?
  16 Aug 09 - 18:51
Happychap
Power to the people...
  16 Aug 09 - 18:35

I'll always stick with TopCashBack, keep up the great work you're a breath of fresh air.
  16 Aug 09 - 15:45
Markus1
It is difficult to comment without understanding all the facts but the general principle should be one of competing on a level playing field. No one business should be able to influence how a competitor tactically differentiates itself in order to attract custom, providing it is legal. I am not convinced that the network has the legal right to influence your operations in the way that it has because it is favouring your competitor and stifling your competitive ability to achieve the volumes in order to attract the better deals from the network. If you are as bigger player as you say you are why don't you engage lawyers, continue with your offer, and present a legal challenge (if reqd) for the good of the 'free market economy'?
  16 Aug 09 - 13:52
dolphinman
I for one will be sticking with TopCashback. Its typical that in so called "business" it is the consumer that loses out. Although all companies need to fight to gain and maintain customers, good service and offers are the way forward, not gutter fighting tactics. I work in retail and we get much more repeat business from fair trading and a good reputation. Maggie :)
  16 Aug 09 - 12:10
Member394840
I am shocked at the fierce competition you have faced from the un-named company - in the "real"world this would, I hope, be investigated immediately as bullying tactics. This is disgusting and as you said could be an indication of a more sinister downward slide into market dominance. I am happy to comment and show my support for a free market internet.

Keep up the work TCB - fight the fight
  16 Aug 09 - 11:26
lauraKathryn
My advice is to do nothing more!!. I think most of us can work out what all this is about.
The customer is the king and if we the customer prefer and support Topcashback all we gotta do is use TCB above all others and recommend to all friends/Family etc.
Continue to be competitive TCB and we the customers will follow.................
  16 Aug 09 - 09:57
peeqwar
I think you should anonymously send them some dog poo in a shoe box. It won't in any way alleviate the situation but will make you feel better.

Keep up the good work.

D

:)
  16 Aug 09 - 08:22
avril151
Well who ever it is.....They can go and take a jump....Cos I love this site and will stay faithful....

Its like a kid having a tantrum...And throwing the toy out the pram.

Love you guys

Xxxxxxxxx
  16 Aug 09 - 03:36

It's not on, you guys are here to save consumers money, TopCashback obviously respects that and does what it can to help but the other cashback site is no doubt here to make a buck or two and doesn't care about the consumer at the end of the day.

You have my support, what they are doing is blatantly unfair to consumers like me.
  16 Aug 09 - 02:22
adonis69er
What can I say????I mean all is fare in love n war--you 2 TopCashback sites fight it out,,we just want the benifits!!!!We just want to save--you need to earn,right??,,The more you make the less we save(i mean you are the 100% Cashback site aint yah????Or has that changed)ive only just joined but ive had issues,,i say-if a better site that dunt treat ya like shite,,(makes ya wait months for ya cashback)bring it on or better it,,,put up or shut up!!!!! <(*.*)> Stop bitching!!!!!
  16 Aug 09 - 01:42
normsta72
I think that who ever it is are trying bully boy tactics or possibly in bed with the merchant in figure of speach.

If I go to the petrol station to get some petrol I can usually buy it from a variety of stations for the same price this should be the same for cashback sites and such forth.
  15 Aug 09 - 23:24
webdom
I've known about cashback sites for sometime, but suspicious of their motives I did not use them. However, I recently found confidence, possibly misplaced, by reading comments on hukd. I started with Quidco, without a problem, but I did move quite quickly to TCB. I recognise the part hukd and Quidco played in my decision, but i've found TCB to better meet my requirements.

However, I now realise there's a further party involved, which is not transparent and whose existence and integrity i've no idea!

All these businesses would be nothing without customers. Their priority should be to meet their customer's requirements. As a customer I want transparency and to be able to make an informed decision. Cloak and dagger arrangements are not normally in the customer's interests, and are not likely to serve the wider business interest.

Fowl play is often exposed in the end, and while there may be short term gain, it could result in long term loss.

I'm not suggesting you expose the tactics of your competitors (because in the circumstances that's not necessary), but you provide some clarity and transparency - where commercial sensitivity allows!
  15 Aug 09 - 22:17
fred631
I joined tc a few months ago having found q useless on chasing unpaid cash backs. Whats the point of going with a company that offers £40 which is worth £0 when they do not pay you.
It is much better in going through a cash back site that offers £35 and getting paid £35. The moral is as every one knows, is to deal with a company you can rely on, rather than a company that waives a big carrot, hence my switch from q to tc.
  15 Aug 09 - 22:15
Baldy_Man
"Shoddy customer service and underhand tactics are not something I want to be funding. Onwards and upwards! "

Disgusted that another cashback site could do this, did they have this type of problem on the way up??
Hope they suffer on the way down though.

Gl TopCashBack.
  15 Aug 09 - 21:56
dank
Hi, just thought i'd add my thoughts and say i've now jumped on the TCB bandwagon after using the 'other' cashback site since it emerged four years ago.

Shoddy customer service and underhand tactics are not something I want to be funding. Onwards and upwards!
  15 Aug 09 - 21:52
roosterpotatoes
Hi you guys,
I just want to give you my support, I think we all know who the competitor is and I cant believe how much hassle a few of my online buddies are having clawing cashback from these.
I will not be leaving TopCashback for a gold pig. They are jealou of TCB success and that more people want to use them rather than be stung with a yearly fee to get the same cashback.
Brill site
  15 Aug 09 - 21:43
andypandy
In my opinion you are doing the right thing airing this issue in public - the more that know, the better. Tell everyone who might publicise your case. I have been with TCB since the beginning and the fact that a competitor is using these tactics just shows what a threat you are to them.
  15 Aug 09 - 20:49

I would go along with what other members have said. It appears to be a clear case of price fixing which it would it seem be illegal under European Law. I would be ringing those lawyers Monday and take them both for whatever you can. Rest assured they will be in another q before long I won't use them and neither will any of my colleagues once word gets about.
  15 Aug 09 - 20:08
simonpittock
As a business owner myself i'm often torn between my sense of ethics and fairness and those of needing to drive forward my business. I'm happy to say that thus far I have (sometimes to my detriment) managed to avoid any unfair or dishonourable tactics and have not engaged in the sort of behaviour which is so often shrugged off with the limp statement of "they're a business, that's what they do".

In this situation you're in a very difficult and tight spot as any form of retaliation could ultimately lead to someone who is already perpetrating dirty tricks to step up such a campaign in an attempt to further squash your business. I personally wouldn't engage in any such practices in return either as an average joe or a business owner, there is always a better way. In this instance I see only two proper options... Shrug it off and do nothing or fight cleanly for yourself and your customers, and indeed for web shoppers further afield.

Publishing the name of the cashback company who has done this so that people can choose to avoid them would send the strongest message back to them. At the end of the day it's nothing more than underhanded bullying and the only way to deal with that sort of behaviour is to stand up to, expose and shame the bully. Of course there is then the issue of whether this will harm your affiliate networks with pressure from the other cashback site, the like of which you may not get to hear about next time, but until you take the risk and expose this they'll always have leverage.

I would imagine an email to Martin Lewis would be in order here as i'm sure he'd spearhead action against such anti-competitive behaviours against both you and consumers.
  15 Aug 09 - 18:54
Mr_Moore
Sort the rotters out cash back toppers!!
  15 Aug 09 - 18:45
tammy75
My frist thought and others on here by the looks of it was it's Quidco, I think they must lose out due to the £5 anual and charge. I think mse have TCB listed as the best cashback site so it's got their goat.

Well, I stopped using Quidco a while ago, if TCB need amunition then aim at their Sureshop scheme which should be taken down under trade descriptions, I still have a 2 year old sureshop claim for £75 car insurace and others unresolved too.
I have proved I purchased them. Chances are they ran off with my cash.
  15 Aug 09 - 18:44
dronie
Hi I think there is a kind of compertion buster ploy being used here,and not a legal one. You should post there name so that all TopCashback users can post our disgust on thousands of forums.
I myself have thousands of online contacts on loads of forums.

I am sure other members are in the same position as well.

Go on name them please


Dronie
  15 Aug 09 - 18:24
proctortwin
What about Radio 4's Money Programme, You and Yours and Martin Lewis - he has a weekly blog that mentions you on good finance tips.

I don't agree with the posting that implied "tough - that's business". You need to stand up to bullies.
  15 Aug 09 - 18:18
cozziecat27
Ill put my name to a petition
  15 Aug 09 - 17:56
dragonthoughts
Having seen this tale of the despicable actions of a competitor, i've started a campaign thread on a credit crunch site at

http://forum.imworseoffthanyou.com/topcashback-unfair-competition-t418.html

Hopefully, spreading the word on consumer sites like iwoty will flag to TCB's competition that their actions will lose them business. I'm also sure that iwoty would welcome additional information direct from TCB.
  15 Aug 09 - 17:16
Slowboat
Like some I doubt I fully understand the issue here and therefore it would be unwise of me to comment on the legalities or otherwise of such actions. I would just like to say that I appreciate the existence of the 'cashback' concept - every little helps as it were to finacially survive these days. However it is a little bit bizarre don't you think in some ways - I mean what is the true price of something, is it possible to have any notion of what 'anything' costs? Retailers set prices for particular items and factor in marketing etc plus if they use the cashback marketing route they factor in that as well and then there's more competition between cashback sites and ............ Well I could go on but i'm even starting to bore myself now so what i'm trying to say buying stuff these days takes such skills and know how to get anywhere close to a decent deal that I feel for people who only have the option of going to the High Street ........... Is there really any such thing as 'fair practice' in any of this???
P.S. This is no criticism of Topcashback - I appreciate what they do; I hope it doesn't come across as a rant either - i'm just chucking the thought out as at times I get overwhelmed by 21st century choice to the point of where I more or less only buy what I absolutely need and I dread even having to do that but with 2 kids it's unavoidable - for me - there is no pleasure in 'shopping' anymore ........
  15 Aug 09 - 16:57
muusadaanii
I feel this is very unfair practice by a jealous competitor. Not play fair at all. Though my problem is not with this but with companies offering cashback through your site but then making it impossible to complete a sale online. I end up having to phone an order through instead and losing my cashback.
  15 Aug 09 - 16:14
caroleG
Personally, I think we should know who they are so you should name and shame and then they should be boycotted by everyone.
  15 Aug 09 - 16:08
Jetta
Surly you can source enough legal legislations as one helpfull user did and quote it all in a proffesionaly worded e-mail to the affiliate company to show that this is a very legaly unsound path for them to go down and that you won't take it lying down so they should be aware by giving in these tactics by the other company they will in no uncertan terms be entering into a very tricky legal situation.

I think they're flexing their muscles and someone needs to confidently call their bluff on this one and show them this is legaly not allowed.

On another hand you could also change your bonus structure to offer an acumalated bonus at the end of each month instead of a bonus top up of each cashback given that might be another way around it that would give us the same money just in a different way.

I still say fight them though it's imoral and they need putting in their place!
  15 Aug 09 - 15:19

You might be able to claim that by promising these bonuses, you had already entered into a legal contract with your users. On that premise, it might, therefore, be illegal to retract the bonus system. Under these circumstances you might be able to claim that your competitor is applying less than legal methods by attempting to get you to break the law?
  15 Aug 09 - 14:24
rojroj
Even before I read the 1st few posts, I was having the same name in the frame - as mentioned by so many other members - Big q.
Reason ? Before I started using TopCashback, I was using them and once I was frustrated by their attitude to an enquiry and posted a blog on their own website, expressing my feelings and suggesting this new website, i.E. Topcashback.
Guess what happened ? It never appeared on their blog site even after 3 attempts. However, when I posted it the 4th time early morning (around 3 am), it appeared briefly and then was promptly deleted next morning ! So, they constantly monitor their blog site and promptly take away any unfavourable comments. Pathetic ?
Shall always stick with TCB - keep up the fight and fairness.
  15 Aug 09 - 14:08
kev1967
They are so scared of Top CashBack because its so popular I have used various, Top Cashback is better than the rest. We Are The Customers and we decide what we do and where we shop. How dare this other site has the cheek...... Surely when we find out which site it is they will lose a lot of business being silly?
  15 Aug 09 - 13:57
Member480380822
Thats childish, how do they still get to do it, give customers the name so we know who it is (and who to avoid)
  15 Aug 09 - 13:54
driz
This strikes me as anti-competitive behaviour. A competitor cannot by any legal means take such action. I can only assume that they were wrangling behind the scenes to force you to do this but getting the affiliate to cease its dealing with you. This is anti-competitive and (methinks) probably illegal. Does it not amount to price fixing between competitors - something which would be frowned upon by the Office of Fair Trading. I suggest you take your case to them.
  15 Aug 09 - 13:50
baccyman
If we know who the other party is then we can make a decission on wether or not we want to carry on using that site assuming that we are using that site,
If they want to try and dominate the market a bit of boycotting would not go amiss.
  15 Aug 09 - 13:21
david_Worrall
Agree with the comments about taking legal advice on competition law aspects especially potential abuse of a dominant position. The oft does move slowly sometimes but if you can show abuse and an anti-competitive effect amongst consumers (i.E. Us, your members, which I guess you can) then you might have a good argument. If it's an area that the oft are interested in, then the threat of their involvement might help you. Good luck with it, and thanks for sharing it with us.
  15 Aug 09 - 12:57

Sorry to hear this, it sounds as if the instigaters of this want
To harm your business out of jelousey, maybe you might be
More successful than them so they dont like it, but they have
A lot of audacity to complain what your firm is doing when they
Are doing exatley the same thing, what a cheek, I hope this
Comes to a satisfactory conclusion for you. Best wishes ollie
And mike.
  15 Aug 09 - 12:37
rabbitaboo
How can this be allowed? I would have thought that it woudl ne the same as supermarkets and other hotels and stuff offering loyalty cards. If they don't like it then they should up their game and leave the rest of us too it.
  15 Aug 09 - 12:23
Member389004
Call it something else . . .Like 'special discount' and then you can say you are not offering a bonus. This kind of sneaky behaviour is now comonplace in politics.
  15 Aug 09 - 12:19
lyn5ey
The members are behind you, probably more so now. This will elevate you even higher - good luck.
  15 Aug 09 - 12:12
caseUnauth1
Dear All,

Firstly, thank you all very much for your support and information. It has certainly reassured us that we have our members backing. It has also highlighted that you, as consumers are passionate about ensuring that the best offers should be made available to you without competitors forcing their own rules upon us.

There are a lot of things we need to investigate and discuss before we can provide more specific details. On the whole, these comments have given us an idea on how you feel and ideas on what to do next to ensure this doesn't become an ongoing occurrence.

I would like to point out that we certainly have no grievance with any affiliate networks or merchants. Our grievance is solely against a competitor who we feel is trying to put us in a position whereby we cannot compete on certain offers.

I'd also like to re-assure you that TopCashBack has a strong relationship with it's partners and will continue to get all the best deals (in an above-board manner) from our suppliers.

Again thanks for your continued support!
Mike and Olly,
TopCashBack
  15 Aug 09 - 12:07
ChristineRoyC
Hi guys,

Unfortunately, bullying is probably fairly common in big business, how often do we hear about supermarkets abusing their powers over small business suppliers?!! However, if you really feel this is a slippery slope and want to make a stand, surely the first place you should look to is the Office of Fair Trading?
  15 Aug 09 - 11:46
red18star
If the competitor can't take the heat, they can get out. It is open market and you are trading within the law, they should not be able to use bully boy tactics. You should just name them so we all know what a coward they are.
  15 Aug 09 - 11:17
Happy_Spice
I agree with the other comments re the law and price fixing. I am sure your lawyers will be familiar with the 'anti competive' legislation which deals with price fixing to prevent monopoly. However, is it possible that if you make too much fuss the network/Supplier may refuse to dealing with a customer completely.

Anyway I wish you good luck as you are a very good site, pay commision very promptly and deal with queries speedily.
  15 Aug 09 - 11:16
Member376979101
Is to compete. There are established rules, guides, and trends. In a board game, you play by the rules - sometimes it's luck and sometimes it's skill that leads you to the end. But you all play but the rules that are already established. You don't say, "Hold on now. I have to go back four spaces on a yellow square? Get Hasbro on the phone; this needs to change." No. You play the game. If you lose, you lose. I don't believe in interfering with rules for the benefit of a competitor because the object of this game is to compete. The only time rules need to be added is in small town nowhere when a giant retailer opens up and all the other shops have to close and people lose their businesses, jobs, etc. This is the internet - the biggest city in the world. Everyone is fair game.
  15 Aug 09 - 11:12
Dinosteveus1
Paul, the owner of hukd is also the joint owner of Quidco.
  15 Aug 09 - 11:09

TopCashBack, this is serious...They simply cannot do that, if it is the companies mentioned, then this may also make interesting reading:
1993:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/virgin-launches-dollars-1bn-action-against-ba-in-us-antitrust-action-may-take-five-years-1512376.html
2008:
http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2008/07/04/28108/virgin-slams-ba-alliance-as-anti-competitive.html

This is not so dissimilar - as it's your competitor (Quidco?) That's in the wrong I think this merchant will be appalled at them for doing these tactics - and by the sounds of it the merchant is probably unaware - I see why you don't want them mentioned.

I'm also guessing the affiliate network involved have a lot to lose by not giving in to their blackmail as if it's Quidco i'm pretty sure they also own HotUkDeals which no doubt brings them a lot of revenue so they are able to threaten to move to another network unless they complied...

Another example of Quidco doing threatening business tactics against another affiliate network:
http://blog.affiliatewindow.com/?p=143

Does anyone have access to the affiliates volume tiers???
If it is for Virgin Media then the top volume tier will no doubt be £150 and the next one will be £130 which TopCashBack are now advertising (and was £150 for a very short time) ... This would certainly point to the fact that it's Quidco.

I totally agree with you airing this (just as the affiliate network also had to do) - it's good to be involved and know what's going on - especially from the start as this could get very big.
  15 Aug 09 - 10:56
carolcooper820
You are my number one site and always have been so judging by the comments, I think i'm not alone. Doubt if it will lose you business
  15 Aug 09 - 10:28
Jetta
Please can we have an update now?

Maybe they need to make sure they're backs are covered legaly before saying any more this why they had to omit names from the blog too i'm sure.

Even if it's just brief and not very detailed a quick "thanks we're working on it and not giving up" would be nice and would keep us all rallying more too.
  15 Aug 09 - 10:21
Tracy1
Avoidance by the masses would do the trick. Everyone knows how good TopCashback in comparison to q*****, Hence the bully tactics. I'm always telling my friends to go with Topcashback because of their reliability, free and first class service - two have signed up in the last week!! If we know who the merchant is then we can choose whether or not to purchase their product. If it isn't nipped in the bud it will only be a matter of time before the same thing happens again with others.
  15 Aug 09 - 10:15
Baldy_Man
.......John Lewis price matching?
Agree get legal advise and good luck on this.
  15 Aug 09 - 09:58
GTi
It sounds as if this competitor thinks Top Cashback is providing a better service than they are, and are afraid that their members will switch, so are using "bully boy" tactics and trying to "buy" members support - I say keep up the fight, and if their name got leaked to the press..........................
  15 Aug 09 - 09:56
Jethro123
Is this not some form of price fixing where the end result is an artificailly high pricepaid because a competitor if forcing the market ?
Outside the virtual world, if this happend on the high street the competition commision would investigate
Just a thought....
  15 Aug 09 - 09:38
1cequeen
Reading the above you obviously have a lot of support and, a great deal of that is generated by your ethics and fair trading practice. Don't spoil that by knuckling down or by retaliation in kind. If you can't stick to your guns and continue to offer your own bonus then drop the retailer concerned. You will lose business and they will too but you will retain support. It's not enough to accept unethical and greedy practices just because it has become accepted as a justified way of doing business. Now , more than ever, people are challenging so-called business practices. The banks, mortgage lenders and mp expenses are all examples of the way we can bring about change to more ethical and acceptable practices. Stick to your guns
  15 Aug 09 - 09:36
sarahtyler65
I run my own business and set prices for my goods at my own discretion. If the retailer was unhappy with your offering a bonus, that would be one thing, but a competitor cashback site? That sounds wrong. Take legal advice.
  15 Aug 09 - 09:27
jsmith7548
I think you should tell us who it is, if not publicly at least by private e-mail to those who ask.
On the face of it, I would say this action breaches monopoly laws. Sports retailers got fined recently for colluding over the price of soccer repliuca shirts - this action is similar in that it makes customers pay more than they would otherwise do.
  15 Aug 09 - 09:25
jilby
How does another £Quid back COmpany have bigger sway than TCB if you both have similar volume of business through this middleman for this particular merchant? That's what I would be querying.

What exactly is the drastic measure this middleman company would take anyway? Is that not price fixing and indeed a thinly veiled threat?

Hope, and sure you would, have a good lawyer looking through this for you and let us know how you get on.
  15 Aug 09 - 09:24
paulg1963
Yet again the little man (& Women) gets s*****D, really tired of these fat cat people and their bully bot tactics.
Would love to know who it is.
  15 Aug 09 - 09:13
blackfritz
I am sure that the other cb site is as has been surmised by others. I have stopped using them and moved all my cb purchases here, due principally to the customer services. If theres a problem here, the staff are on to it, I have not had one instance where cb that didn't track initially has not been paid to me - unlike the other q place.
I am sure that what is happening here is against some kind of eec competition law - it cannot be legal to force competitors to pay more for products. I will be adding my comments to other threads as and when they appear on this matter and hopefully we can generate lots of bad publicity for the other site involved!
  15 Aug 09 - 09:07
davids_girl
Surely business is tit for tat. What about turning tables on them but avoiding heated and legal wrangles. I always use TopCashback. On other sites you have to wait until you have accrued a certain sum before they pay out. It might be good if your retailers worked quicker in order to released cash to purchaser. Carry on good work.
  15 Aug 09 - 08:54
Alchtu
I wholeheartedly agree with the MoneySavingExpert comments above. Getting Martin Lewis on your side is key, plus getting legal advice.

Love this site - used to use the others but none of them are as good as you. Brought a lump to my throat when I first read your business principles.

Stick with them they are very important and the reason your competitors feel threatened and want to bully you. Your customers are passionate about you and will stand by you whatever. Together we can crack this nut.
  15 Aug 09 - 08:49
dongoprefabsprout
It's obvious. Bunch of cowboys if you ask me!

String em up, yeehaaaaaaaaaa!

Oh, seriously, I have tried most of the cashback sites, TCB are head and shoulders above them all, not just the actual amount, and selection of retailers, but the very very helpful staff, when a problem arises they always do their best to sort it, other sites? I would guess about half don't even bother to reply, those that do say "sorry, can't help" that's why I only ever use this one now and all the rest are deleted. Thank you guys and gals, I will forever be your loyal customer.
  15 Aug 09 - 08:49
AnnaSpanner
Tell us who the retailer is, and let us decide whether we want to use someone who, it seems, does not want to play fairly....
  15 Aug 09 - 08:40
suestride
Could you not refer something like this to the European Competition Commission as it seems to be unfair trading by the competitor?
  15 Aug 09 - 08:35
Iris22
I too am a newbie to this site and have been delighted by the service so far. I suggest moneysaving members start a thread on this (haven't checked if there is one). I don't understand all the legal implications but there does appear to be good advice so far.

Best of Luck and I shall certainly be staying loyal to TopCashback!!
  15 Aug 09 - 08:20
leaphaze
Totally agree with everything Member372239 says.
  15 Aug 09 - 07:54
tsmithches
I came to you guys from the Moneysavingexpert site. I bet Martin Lewis would be interested in this story as it clearly operates against the interest of consumers. So, get him on your side as a starter- he can generate quite a bit of publicity.

I am not a lawyer, but the scenario as presented sounds like illegal trading practices. They are free to offer what cashback they like and secure different terms to you, but they shouldn't be able to dictate what cashback you offer- that must be a matter for you to decide.
  15 Aug 09 - 07:30
Member375140758
It seems that TopCashback have a lot of support over this even on the other sites own weekly blog. Over one thing or another they are loosing members fast and im guessing TCB will be gaining them. So keep everyone up to date on the situation and i'm sure you will be pleased with the support you will receive.
I normally use the other site for all cashback purchases not anymore though and I have just made a purchase from Apple on TCB to show my support.
  15 Aug 09 - 07:25
Member1260545757
When you become larger and are in the same position as the other party is now, what stance will you take ?

Tcb is a business, not a charity ?

I just hope that TCB members can enjoy the ride and the healthy competition till then.
  15 Aug 09 - 02:50
Member1260545757
This is a blessing in disguise and it appears you are taking the right course already.

If you pride your self on fairness and honesty, then the badwill created through this will attract people from the other cashback site here.

So some options :

* Get bigger so you can have equal or better say with the affiliate nets...
* Create your own affiliate net and establish deals directly with the retailers - big potential for conflict of interest here, but if managed correctly could work and you could offer deals to other cashback sites and internet advertisers too

Clearly this response shows the other party is hurting and prepared to step actions up. But is this the first time it has happened or have you kept quiet before ? Have the Affilliate nets let you know what has really gone on before ? How do you monitor your competitors and be able to explain differences in the deals they can offer ?

Having a facility to compare cashback deals historically would more than likely reveal some very interesting information for cashback sites as well as consumers...

Using something like this to step up your viral campaign would be much more cost effective than taking legal action, if that is possible, in my humble opinion. Clearly it is size here, like a lot of other things in life, that is making the difference !

Hth !
  15 Aug 09 - 02:43

Thanks for keeping us updated. Although we don't know exactly what's going on, it's good to have an idea of what's going on behind the scenes.
  15 Aug 09 - 00:44
waterbabychelle
How very unfair?? It doesn't matter...There are lots of supporters, so just keep sending out the emails and asking for support! Xxx
  15 Aug 09 - 00:29
BigGM
For understandable reasons, you're a bit vague on who you're dealing with and in exactly what context, so it's hard to see how you all sit globally.

I'm not 100% Up on domestic (uk) competition laws, and i'm not sure of your company structure, but I have recently been studying European Law (and forgive me if i'm jumping the gun on this) and it does seem possible that it may apply. Essentially, the ec legislation covers trade between member states, so if any part of your dealings involves payments across borders, then you automatically have it nailed, although using the doctrine of direct effect, you may have it covered anyway and be able to make the National courts apply it although I will check up on this - if trade is strictly in the uk only it could be tricky.

The equivalent uk legislation is The Competition Act 1998, which I am not at all familiar with as yet. However, uk law is always meant to be interpreted so as not to conflict with European Law, so you may still be able to bend this Act in your favour.

Have a look at Articles 81 and 82 of The Treaty. They cover undertakings (companies) or associations (trade associations etc) making agreements between themselves or forcing them upon others that make it difficult for open competition. Art 81 deals with anti-competitive agreements and Art 82 deals with abuse of dominant positions.

Article 81(1)(d) or 82(1)(c) are most likely what applies here, which both state "applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage".

In the case of Art 81 ec, having entered into what may be either a horizontal agreement (agreements between similar businesses, in your case it would equate to you doing a deal with quidco) or vertical agreement (an agreement between a manufacturer and a distributor, which could cover a tiered commission structure such as in the affiliate scheme, for example), the courts then look at the De Minimis principle, i.E. The market share the agreement covers; 10% For a horizontal agreement and 15% For a vertical agreement, so there may be a breach. In your case, the fewer people doing this type of business the better as it's likely their percentage of it exceeds this minimum amount.

There are specific exemptions to Art 81 breaches, and a good lawyer will be able to expand on what they are, although I doubt they will apply in this case.

Article 82 covers the abuse of a dominant position by a monopoly or an oligopoly in the same way as Art 81 but is not covered by any exemptions.

This is potentially what has happened here, assuming you can get this ec law applied to your case - but best speak to a good lawyer who is up on European Law; it would take a good lawyer to work through the law and any exemptions properly with you.

If it can be applied in your case and they are found to be in breach, the ecj has extensive powers which include forcing the undertakings or associations to close down.
  15 Aug 09 - 00:24
vikashjain
I am not sure what would the course of action be if people actualy get to know the "other" site behind this...

In my case, I have accounts with both the sites (i am assuming that I know about the other site in question) and usually always compare before purchasing and go with the one giving the best offer on the day - in case the figures are same - I just choose one on the mood on that day...After all as a consumer I am just worried about my money.

Yes over the last year I have kind of started liking TopCashback - not for one particular reason but in general. But then I still go back to the old one which I have now been using for 2 years.

In the end both of these are companies and they are in the business. Although I am not sure why the affliate had to give in - what do they have to loose by giving in to this other "site"?
  15 Aug 09 - 00:22
Jetta
I think it would be nice to hear back from you guys now, i'll check back in the morning as i'm sure you've had a hell of a day but we are all behind you and would really like to hear an update in the morning, what your thoughts are and what you think of our thoughts too.

I still think you should get in touch with Jeff Randall at Sky and your own legal people too.

Best of luck guys!
  14 Aug 09 - 23:58
Blug
You ought to be sending out a press release about this story every day. Journalists will phone you, and you can meet them and tell them in confidence and off the record the other companies involved. They will immediately leak the information. You'll need a very good spokesperson, too. You should easily be able to depress the competitor's share price if they are a quoted company, and maybe hit their credit rating, too. A cashback company is essentially worthless . . . Apart from the value of its customer base and its potential spend with vendors, so devalue theirs.
  14 Aug 09 - 23:09
Will9R
If you name names, then let the people who want the product/Service decide if they want to support Top Cashback and go with the lower amount of return or if they want to go with the competitor. If sales through Top Cashback still out perform your competitor on this offer it shows the affiliate network which is the stronger player in the market. Next time they try this trick (and they will if they get away with it) of throwing their toys out of there pram, you will have strong figures and good reason to stand your ground. Failing that, stop offering the cashback from the retailer and tell them, and us, why, honesty and integrity is always the best policy.
  14 Aug 09 - 23:08
lyn5ey
Good luck TCB team, disgraceful attitude from whoever it may be ;-), lower than a snakes belly!!!!!!!!!!!
  14 Aug 09 - 22:54
lyn5ey
Good luck TCB team, disgraceful attitude from whoever it may be ;-), lower than a snakes belly!!!!!!!!!!!
  14 Aug 09 - 22:54
Dinosteveus1
So you get a load of Members speculating on who it is and nothing from the Admin staff. Why not???? You emailed and asked us to come, we came, now what?
Who is it? What ya gonna do?
  14 Aug 09 - 22:48
fpj
Just remember 0ne thing "The Good Guy always wins". Good luck TopCashback.
  14 Aug 09 - 22:47
Summertime
Love what you're doing but you haven't given me enough information to make an informed decision on whether i'm in your camp or not ...
  14 Aug 09 - 22:42
ACF
Hope there is a prize for this:

My guess is quidco is the competitor, tradedoubler are the affiliate network and Virgin Media are the merchants.

Colonel Mustard, in the drawing room with the dagger!!
  14 Aug 09 - 22:36

I subscribe to 2 cashback sites and don't mind helping if for an ethical reason!
  14 Aug 09 - 22:28
TEZBB
You have to let all your loyal customers know who it is!!!!!!
  14 Aug 09 - 22:11
TimFox
Olie and co. You need to tell us who it is. Without this your last statement "Therefore, we would urge all of our members to do us the honour of purchasing through our website whenever they can - and of course, to think of anyone else who might benefit from our service too :)" makes it seem like pure marketing to increase your share!
  14 Aug 09 - 22:10
johnbell
I will only buy on your web site from now on and that is a promise
  14 Aug 09 - 22:08
Member271784
Surely your argument is with the merchant and the affiliate network and not your competitor? If I told my friend to push you in front of a bus and they did it are you actually going to say it's all my fault and not even slightly my friends fault?

Given half a chance I bet you'd want to dominate the market otherwise why are you in business? The more users of a cashback site there are the more likely they are to hit higher tiers and the more cashback we will get so I think bigger sites are a good thing! Bit of healthy competition never killed anyone I don't think.
  14 Aug 09 - 22:04
Taroth
If you take this lying down this time they will think you are pushovers and will assume they can always get there own way. Fight it in any way you can, we are behind you all the way.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:44
791135555
You honour the bonus on cash back when I get the money I will back you.
So honour you current transactions and I will personally back you.
This was my first transaction with you do not let me down.
And in return I will not let you down.
Signed a possible special friend
  14 Aug 09 - 21:35
daveac
Agree with all the above posts who say its time to name and shame. I will immediately stop using whoever it is. Get enough publicity about this to make sure others do too!
  14 Aug 09 - 21:33
claireswales
I originally (a very long time ago) started with numerous cash backsites, I soon found out which worked for me best TopCashBack, I have been very pleased with the cashback offers offfered and no annual fee, I have been very please with the way TopCashBack have worked and pleased to have withdrawn money on a few occasions and I promote this website on my site. Thumbs up to TopCashBack.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:32
Torbitt
Go ruthha
  14 Aug 09 - 21:30
magshaw
If it is Qu.....O, then surely you can get back at them by saying they shouldn't be allowed to take £5 from their customers cashbacks (as they do each year). If they want to play dirty it opens the floodgates for everyone else to do the same.
Must say though - you are my favourite!.

  14 Aug 09 - 21:30
bogwoppit
Perhaps there is more to it than I have gleaned, but it seems to me that yourselves and your competitor are in the exact same position - I wouldn't expect that either of you is willing to boycott an affiliate network as then members would lose retailers. Taking retailers away is arguably worse than not having them in the first place. So, what pressure can your competitor apply to the affiliate network that has any substance? It seems like an opportunity to call their bluff. Tell the affiliate that you are not willing to change your policy, and remind them that your competitor's pressure is probably just words.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:28
coffey
If its is the q, I will not use it any longer. As I don't like bullies. I normally like to do the bullting. Lets face it any company that gets 5 quid more out of every customer shouldn't complain.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:28
hildauk
A new blog post has been added to Top CashBack - 'Important Behind The Scenes Action!'

It seems a TopCashBack competitor has been making deals worse for cashback consumers ...Please show us your support to stop this happening.

To view the blog post or even add a comment, click the following link http://www.topcashback.co.uk/blog/Important_Behind_The_Scenes_Action.

How can one comment on speculation
  14 Aug 09 - 21:28
ACF
Since Michael Murphy (of Friends Reunited and Financial Times fame) bought into this rival cashback site earlier this year, things were obviously going to change. It's dog eat dog out there and Murphy has a good ruthless business head.

This could of course be an act of desperation by them as things are not as rosy as they make out.

If only they concentrated on sorting out their own problems first though. You only have to look at their latest blog dated 14th August to see what a pickle they have got themselves in. Customers are leaving them in droves because of merchants not paying out (and they still continue to charge a £5 annual fee).

I do not always look for the highest cashback. I am more swayed by who will pay me out. Tcb does everytime. This rival sometimes does but usually afer endless tickets and enquiries.

I know I have said it many times before - Cashback sites need to under a formal regulatory body to protect the customer and themselves.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:28
fireblast
I am still unclear why a competitor can do this to you. Can you do the same to them? Something doesn't add up.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:24
Chinesejo
Well I think they are way out of order to dictate to you what you can and cannot do. May be name and shame this company or ask them to leave yr set up. I think boy cott them or something like a black listing so no one will go through them for a cash back.
Come on people lets stand nad show them who is boss and what we stand for. We will Unite as a front in this attack.
Phew now I feel much better.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:21
Ed_Brundle
My advice, in this order:
1) instruct lawyers. Lots of them. Quickly. This is a relatively new industry and could probably do with some rulings to set the boundaries if they haven't already been set.
2) if that fails, and only if it is found to have failed (and it probably would take a while to conclude) meet fire with fire and do the same back - and a whole lot more.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:17
shacka
Let us know who the competition is so we can avoid them pls...
  14 Aug 09 - 21:14
gil2625
Think I know who the "Competitor" is as I was forwarded there via a link on a retailers site that I accesed from tc. Don't now how it all works but when you're retired you can only be grateful to anyone who is prepared to give you something for nothing. Competition only has to be good for everyone from tc, Retailers and the "Competitor" I guess.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:11
Pilch
Whats go on they should be brought to task. I came to Topcashback for a reason & The other party does not get my business or recomended to friends. The other company is scared of you & If it is about Virgin I would not worry to much. The princable does need challanging as I do believe like others this is illegal & Should be addressed. You hav emy support & Loyalty.
Regards John
  14 Aug 09 - 21:10
amandamcc
I think you should let them have a taste of their own medicine and name and shame why should one compeditor dictate the way another one is run its rediculous.
  14 Aug 09 - 21:01

Yeah - you're being a touch cookie to crack... Your service is definitely better - they're just trying to chip at your cookie in other non-business like ways. As Tom Hanks said in You've got mail.... Fight fight fight ! My money is on you.
  14 Aug 09 - 20:51
BigMartin
I believe it's pretty common for, for example, Tesco to ask a supplier to offer them a special rate on some goods for a few weeks on the basis that they will heavily promote those goods, and on the basis that they will not be offered at that price to a competitor for that period - i.E. They negotiate to get an exclusive special deal for a period of time in exchange for shifting a lot of goods. That's not illegal - it's a perfectly legit business practice.

To take it further, this case is a bit like Sainsbury then deciding as a loss leader to match Tesco's price, despite not getting the same deal from the supplier, and accepting that they will loose money on it (which does genuinely happen).

The last step is that the supplier then threatens Sainsbury's saying they will not send them any more goods if they sell them at that low price. This is illegal under the Resale Prices Act 1976 (except in the case of designer goods, where test cases have shown that it is acceptable to force a high price to protect the brand image.)

I think that the question in this case is whether or not refusing access to a cashback promotion is comparable with refusing access to goods. I think it could be argued that cashback is trading in incentives, and as such qualifies as goods, which would make the actions here illegal. It's not guaranteed to work, but i'd at least spend some money on pursuing it.
  14 Aug 09 - 20:49
thepearce
I think that this other site has realised that they can't win the "customer service" fight....So are doing everything they can on the price (for headline deals). Perhaps other cashback sites could form a union :)
  14 Aug 09 - 20:43
Tommy2k4
So you weren't allowed to offer the higher rate because you weren't in the "top tier by volume", yet they're complaining that you're driving too many sales to them?
  14 Aug 09 - 20:42

Isn't this covered by legislation that governs price fixing? You know, free trade, fair trade and all that. Or am I just being naive? Short of that, play them at their own, rather dirty game... Involve the media, Watchdog, whatever. Name the objector!
  14 Aug 09 - 20:42
521185
Topcashback is the best around. Fight them every inch of the way. They are just bullies
  14 Aug 09 - 20:29
cavsrus
Couldnt believe what I was reading! Absolutely disgusting! As others have said we should be told their name! I for one would boycott them! You are your own company, why should you be dictated to by another???
I use "TopCashback" because it is fair. Gets cashback paid faster than others, loved the 'bonus'! Has a great list of merchants to choose from & Answers enquiries faster too! And...Doesnt come with any catches! Ie: administration charges!!! You have my vote "TopCashback"
  14 Aug 09 - 20:27
tentonman
Quidco did have a abnormal decline in traffic since 2005 at the beginning of this year, thats not to say there not doing well, but what is apparent is TopCashbacks steady accent in traffic.

Another thing is how much quidco have to thank the website hotukdeals users that identify quidco. See link

http://www.google.com/trends?q=hotukdeals%2C+quidco%2C+topcashback
  14 Aug 09 - 20:25
Anto78
This is definitely a case of Q____ Flexing their muscle. In April they had a new guy buy into the business with the aim of driving the business forward. A lot of their users were critical at the time. It looks like this is going to be the way forward now. Too much dominance meaning they can squeeze the networks and begin to reap the rewards in offering lower cashback (annual admin fee cannot support business going forward). Driving competitors out of business and making things difficult. A bit like the nation's largest supermarket really!!
  14 Aug 09 - 20:20
LyndaJ
Hi the first cash back site I heard about was q but there seem to be so many better sites now. Tbc would certainly be my first choice for any purchases
  14 Aug 09 - 20:18

I think Member7943blahblah has hit the nail on the head there, that offer didn't last long on TopCashBack and was earlier this week. The other cashback site mentioned is still advertising it - they even sent out a newsletter to their members about it. Well TopCashBack, you have my vote, i'd rather get cashback from a site that has a fair play policy and doesn't do nasty tricks like this...I think you should call the affiliate network and tell them they've gotta allow you to have this offer otherwise not only are the other site doing anti-competitive behaviour, but the affiliate network is quite clearly being blackmailed! Tut Tut.

This could get interesting, i'm behind ya and will be checking how this progresses. Thanks for sharing - it's good to know there are human things going on behind these website pages !
  14 Aug 09 - 20:17
lindsayf
You have my full support! You are the best cashback site I have ever used. That's why you are now the only one I use!
  14 Aug 09 - 20:11
brysol1
Hey I dont understand how the competitior can have such leverage. Surley the affiliate needs to see where the main business is going to ...I support TopCashback as you guys offer great deals and the affiliate needs to see that support
  14 Aug 09 - 20:03
xposis
http://alexa.com/search?q=cash%20back
  14 Aug 09 - 19:58
telephoneman
My understanding is that behaviour like this i.E. Trying to fix the retail price, is illegal. I believe that it is forbidden by the Treaty of Rome and punishable by a fine of up to 10% Of an Organisation's European Turnover. Why don't you speak to your lawyers and get them to write to the middlemen to explain the likely consequences of their actions. I suspect that they have changed their story precisely because someone has already mentioned this. Get the lawyers to ask them to expressly agree that they will not act in an anti-competitive manner again.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:58
xposis
You'll be able to work it out by testing our the rankings of the TopCashback sites.

http://alexa.com/

I don't think you would be supprise by the result.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:56
Jetta
Get in touch with sky news try to reach Jeff Randall the buisness correspondant yours is exactly the sort of company he has on his show at 8 every day with or without tackling this issue being on the show would be excellent publicity for the site.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:56
Flintstone
Seems like a good time to make a stand and seek legal advice.
Do you know how much this would cost? Let us members know and start a fighting fund that we could contribute to. It's our problem as much as yours.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:55
Flintstone
Seems like a good time to make a stand and seek legal advice.
Do you know how much this would cost? Let us members know and start a fighting fund that we could contribute to. It's our problem as much as yours.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:55
davehorrocks
Didn't Virgin take ba to court over dirty tricks? I'm no expert on business ethics, but this is clearly wrong. Wouldn't this be something the Competition or Monopolies commission would be interested in?
  14 Aug 09 - 19:54
Toddy2
I notice that your great offer on Virgin Media has been reduced down to £130 from £150, however another (large) cashback site still has it at £150. Could this be anything to do with it?

I have only recently started using Topcashback but find you much fairer, easier to use and much better value than q that I used to use.

I will be using you a lot more in future and have already recommended you to a friend.

Keep up the good work and don't let bullies get away with it!
  14 Aug 09 - 19:51
justmeasyousee
My first thought is that it must be a gambling site, as they are always offering a bonus if you sign up. Keep up the good work TopCashBack.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:50
PhilT81
Q_____ Was the first big cashback site and got a huge start with some brilliant publicity and they've been living off that since. I always use a cashback comparison when making online purchases as I have accounts with all of the 'Big Four'. Q_____ Used to very often come out on top but they're coming out on top far far far less now - to the point where I might consider not using them at all as it doesn't justify the 'admin' fee that the other three don't charge.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:50

Please let us know who so I can make sure I never purchase their products.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:48
matyhaty
Hey guys, who instantly wanted to know who the other affiliate network is, your not very business minded.

If I owned a rival to this site, and yet I was in someway able to force retailers / Sites (or whatever) down a route for my advantage - then I would. This is business.

On the flip side, Top Cash Back, should also look to be aggressive - esp if it is one of the leaders in the 'the cash back world'. If they do not, someone else will and they will potentially be unable to offer comparative offers that others may be able to.

Companies have bindings with others all the time. It is not blackmail. Can you get a apple iphone on orange? Supermarkets will get things cheaper than any other retailer, even if the other retailer sells 10 times as many. Why, well sometimes sales isnt everything! The reasons a multiple and of individual significance to each vendor.

I will say to Top Cash Back, that parhaps this isnt a case which you should bring public. What are your goals out of realsing this information apart from a load of ranting. If you are being forced into a uncompetitive fight, you need to either aggressively fight it, or challenge this in a separate way. Im not sure how joe public can assist you with this - or even comment!

Hope this helps

Matt

  14 Aug 09 - 19:48
AllanMiles
The consumer should be the prime concern here. This kind of action deprives the consumer of choice and attempts to force higher prices. Well done TopCashBack for championing fairness!
  14 Aug 09 - 19:40
thepearce
So - I understand we can't speculate on the retailer, or the affiliate network.....Can I safely assume this is Q_____ Getting too big for its boots?

Would the highest cashback promise still apply to this (thankfully rare) situation?

  14 Aug 09 - 19:37
gainsboroughgirl
I can't say I fully understand all this but as I see it, the supermarkets do deals all the time and often a different deal on the same product or the same deal as a competitor but with an added bonus eg if you spend x amount then you might get say a petrol voucher etc. So, one has to wonder - is it legal for other sites to 'blackmail' in this way? Are you taking legal advice with competition Law experts?
  14 Aug 09 - 19:34
andyhowells
I have just started using TopCashback mainly due to the bonus. It is outrageous that another company can get away with this.. If you are able no name them then we could all email our disgust at their tactics!
  14 Aug 09 - 19:32
amberangel
At least give us a clue!
  14 Aug 09 - 19:29
amberangel
Like honeybea, I think yhou ought to publish the name and we can do more to support you.
  14 Aug 09 - 19:27
out4nowt
Let's know who it is then???
  14 Aug 09 - 19:26
honeybea
Tell us who it is please, stop being so politically correct
  14 Aug 09 - 19:25

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