Online senior membership scheme promising tailored discounts found to be scam

There’s a proverb in Māori that bears repeating. Mai i te kōpae ki te urupa, tātou ako tonu ai - from cradle to grave, we are forever learning.

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Two men named Murray came across a deal from Senior Advantage on the internet. Source: Fair Go

Older can mean wiser but it can also mean you’re a bigger target for the dubious offers of online promises.

For the past few months, one called Senior Advantage has been doing the rounds and caught a few silver surfers in its part of the web. There are others, so watch for name changes with similar tactics.

The pitch is crisp, inviting and professional -  join a club featuring tailored discounts from every business you patronise.

The marketing is the usual aggresive online pitch recurring in your inbox and on other social media, replete with countdown timers, flashing banners, and urgent pleas.

Aucklander Murray Shaw learned how little was behind it, when he found neither his supermarket nor his audiologist knew of the supposed discounts.

Shaw had an epiphany about Senior Advantage.

“They collect all the good things, put them into a formula; they’ve done nothing in the way of contacting people. They just say to the gullible, ‘you pay this amount.’ You get that if you walk in the store anyway.”

So, a business that appears to hoover up any publicly available information about discounts to seniors and repackages that in a portal with a password, providing the illusion of exclusivity with nothing but the price tag to match?

When Fair Go challenged Senior Advantage it admitted as much in an email.

"We do not, and never did, claim that any of our suggested deals and discounts are exclusive.”

Yet it also had told Fair Go something completely different just 24 hours earlier, in another email.

"While some deals are exclusive to our customers, some are not."

Confused? Maybe best to not waste any more time on this business.

Shaw parted with $75, while Murray Cave from Mount Maunganui handed over nearly $400, though both have now received full refunds after Fair Go helped them press their cases.

If you want to learn from their experience, challenge the service immediately in writing and then straightaway contact your bank to dispute the transaction and start the wheels rolling for a refund.

And if it ever looks too good to be true, no matter how plausible, think twice, search a few reviews (not just the first one that comes up) and avoid the temptation.