A pointless waste of good credit

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The Independent Online
ALAN BRUDNEY is not a happy man. For years he has been using his Barclaycard to buy goods and services so that he can clock up points for the Barclaycard Profiles gift promotion schemes, writes Sue Fieldman.

But he recently had a nasty shock when he read in the Profiles catalogue that all his points were void - Mr Brudney had struggled to amass 403 Profiles points since the middle of 1990. This is no mean feat.

You have to spend pounds 10 on your Barclaycard to qualify for one Profile point. The minimum qualification for a gift is 190 points - pounds 1,900 of spending. For your pounds 1,900 you qualify for the magnificent gift of five paint brushes, eight blank tapes or a screwdriver set. Mr Brudney could have got seven glass bowls or three bottles of wine with his 400 points, though he is 90 points short of the teapot, a snip at pounds 4,900.

He then saw a note on his September Barclaycard statement that the new Profiles catalogue was starting on 1 November. He rooted out his Profiles catalogue and found the 1991-2 scheme had come to an end in July.

'I deliberately had an expensive car repair done on my card which I could have postponed. I spent pounds 560 in September and none of it counted,' Mr Brudney said.

Worse was to come. In the small print in the catalogue was the sentence: 'Any Profiles points outstanding after 30 September 1992 will be void.' Mr Brudney saw his teapot disappearing in a puff of steam.

However, a Barclays spokesman said: 'There was a message on the June statement that the points would stop in July. There was also an insert with the July statement, and it is in the Profiles catalogue. The points (till July cut-off) are not void; they can be carried over as they have been in other years. The clause is a back-up for us in case we introduce a new scheme.'

Despite his failure to amass points on September expenditure, Mr Brudney is now clocking up his Profiles points again. But it is no wonder people do not bother reading the small print on schemes and policies when the words say one thing and mean another.

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