MoneySavingExpert.com reports on the results of a Consumer Intelligence survey that suggests that 41% of cashback site users haven’t been paid for their transactions.
Even after complaining to the cashback site, 37% still didn’t receive any money back.
The problem can probably be put down to transaction tracking issues.
Many cashback sites rely on cookies. These are small files that sit on your PC and can help websites to by storing small bits of data about you. In this case they let the retailer know where you visited from, allowing them to attribute the eventual sale to the cashback site the visitor came from and to track visitors through to completion (for example, buying an item).
However, cookies can be deleted by security-conscious visitors, they can get overwritten in some cases, they also expire or may never get onto the visitors computer in the first place (your web browser might be set to reject all cookies), and all of these could affect the attribution of the sale to your account.
To ensure your cashback deals go as smooth as possible, you should check how your web browser handles cookies, and it’s always best to try to complete your cashback-giving transaction in a single visit, rather than starting it one day and completing a few days later, when your cookie may have expired, for example. If you do have to stop a transaction halfway through and come back at a later date, starting the whole transaction from scratch might be the best option.
Most cashback sites will have their own instructions on ensuring you get attributed the right cash, so it’s best to have a read and make sure you follow them.
If you do think you’re missing out on some cashback, get in touch with the site – they should have a form allowing you to query a missing cashback.
It’s worth bearing in mind that tracking can sometimes take some time to catchup with your cashback site account, so give the transaction some time to appear before complaining to the cashback site.
There may also be a minimum payout amount that you have to reach before you actually get the money paid back to you, and again there could be a delay between the cashback appearing in your cashback site account and actually being able to get the money into your bank account. The cashback sites can potentially make a nice extra profit by holding on the cash they’ve been paid by retailers before paying out to their visitors (well, they can if they can find a decent interest rate from somewhere), so they like to have these delays to earn extra interest.
Terms and conditions vary between most cashback sites, so make sure you’re aware of all the small print before signing up.
As Archna Luthra of MoneySavingExpert.com points out, cashback should be seen as an added bonus, rather as a decision for buying the product, and do not count the cash as yours until it’s in your bank account. Things can and do go wrong.
photo credit: lusobrandane
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