Another free-flight promotion in trouble

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A FREE-FLIGHT promotion by Specialeyes, the USM-quoted spectacles retailer, has hit turbulence less than a week after the Hoover scheme on which it was modelled came in for renewed criticism.

The Independent has received letters claiming that the company has failed to honour promises to send customers a free flight to a destination of their choice. From an original list of 10 cities, disappointed travellers are now being told to choose from just five.

As with the Hoover scheme, Specialeyes offered a free flight to anyone buying a pair of glasses from one of the chain's shops.

But according to Anthony Sareen, from Stockport, his application to fly to San Francisco was turned down because flight allocations to the west coast of America were reaching capacity. 'Their agents are denying me a ticket to a preferred destination', he said.

Hoover faces a possible High Court action this week following allegations that the company is systematically attempting to discourage people from taking up its own free flight offer.

When Specialeyes launched its promotion last May, the 10 destinations offered included San Francisco, Los Angeles, Madrid and Rome. By this week the list had been reined back to include only three east coast American cities, Paris and Amsterdam.

A spokesman for Brake International, the promotions company running the scheme for Specialeyes, said the changes were flagged in the promotion's small print and had been cleared by trading standards officers.