The ethics of Cashrewards 'No enquiry' policy (for eBay, may also apply to other stores)

As someone who has had issues with Ebay and other rewards posting when I've followed all the steps correctly, I was interested to read about the 'No enquiry policy' for Ebay, as raised here:

No Enquiry Policy: We regret to advise that in the event of your transaction not being recorded or being subsequently declined we will be unable to process your rewards enquiry. Please ensure you carefully follow the eBay Special Terms and the General Cashback Guidelines. If you have any concerns please contact us for further assistance.

So, in addition to the lack of a mechanism / some form of transparency around tracking and documenting a claim, and the untimely processing of cashbacks by a number of stores, for Ebay (and no doubt other retailers, though I don't know how many this applies to), we cannot even ask them to investigate.

Personally, I find this very dodgy. While we consumers don't have a leg to stand on, I don't think it's appropriate for Cashrewards to accept retail partners who can't or won't process any rewards enquiries.

If the cash rewards market expands, I expect that Fair Trading / consumer regulatory bodies will eventually step in to regulate the industry / protect consumers, much the way it did when group buying took off.

I would be interested in others thoughts.

Related Stores



  • -7

    While we consumers don't have a leg to stand on

    You are not a consumer. If you don't like the system them send an email to CR asking to close your account. Simple.

    IMO cashback is purely a bonus and does not form part of my purchasing decision. The tracking system is too unreliable to think otherwise.

    • +11

      IMO cashback is purely a bonus and does not form part of my purchasing decision. The tracking system is too unreliable to think otherwise.

      But it does - CR offers a rewards incentive for shopping at certain sites. Similar to how stores can offer coupons / vouchers, the CR reward incentivises consumers to shop at those sites.

      OP is just saying that a website offering 'rewards' for shopping at certain sites should be upheld to what it is offering. The fact that certain ebay transactions fall through CR (even where you follow all the instructions) without a means of following up with ebay makes the whole 3.5% cashback advertising a bit dodgy.

      Asking CR to close your account has got nothing to do with this issue. CR is a website offering customers a cashback for shopping at certain retailers. The fact that at certain times the cashback is not obtained even when following instructions exactly creates a risk of misleading advertising.

      I'm all for CR (I love it), but I agree that something needs to be done about ebay and other dodgy retailers.

  • +5

    My experience:
    Not saying this was the instance in your case, but I missed out on cashback for an eBay purchase because the item I bought was already in my watchlist prior to me linking through the CashRewards website to make the purchase. I can see why eBay wouldn't pay out on this because I already had intentions of buying it and was just gaming the system to get an extra discount (I won't make that mistake next time).

    All other eBay transactions (in fact all other transactions across a number of stores) have been tracked with no issues when using a clean (no addons/extensions) web browser; Chrome is my go to (heavily customised) web browser and I use a completely stock Firefox browser for CashRewards.

    My thoughts:
    The referral cashback system is provided by the retailers to websites that bring them customers, whether it be websites that provide reviews to attract the customers and provide referral links to get kickbacks (and pass nothing on to the customer) or companies like CashRewards that pass us some of the revenue as an incentive to use their site.

    Now you can imagine the number of referrals eBay must track daily and the variety of things that can affect the successful tracking of a referral; for them or CashRewards to employ staff to find out why your transaction was not tracked is going to dent their revenue (thus likely result in lower cashback percentages for us), be very hard to resolve due to how much can go wrong in the tracking process, and be nothing but a sh*t fight kind of job that no-one would really want to do for long.

    I don't think that CashRewards are doing the dodgy and keeping the money, I think the tracking process is not going right for some people. I think we need to look at it a bit more objectively and say the cashback is a perk, not a right and just be extra careful to make sure we nail all the requirements.

    • +1

      I've always had no issue saving everything I want into my watch list, before going to CR>eBay then adding everything.

      Browserz I use normally: Microsoft Edge, chrome with ublock (adblock didnt affect my CR tracking)

    • Interesting, i've only ever bought from my watchlist to save myself from searching for the item after logging into CR.

      • This was the response I received from CashRewards in response to my inquiry regarding the missing transaction. In my case the only thing I could have done wrong was purchase something from my watchlist/wishlist. Interesting that you've not had the same issue.

  • +2

    It is dodgy. Happened to me. They wanted screencaps. And then said they wanted emails with transaction id.

    Could have told them that. Can't remember if I still got the $0.50 but it seems fishy

  • +2

    After my email from cashrewards today. I just won't use them, I'd rather ring the company and negotiate and be unsuccessful than deal with the Russian Roulette of "will I get my rewards" that is cashrewards eBay.

    Those 3.5% cashrewards eBay offerings are analogous to the "I got 6 pack abs with this 1 simple trick" ads.

  • +4

    a ponzi-like scheme where some users are paying for others?

    • -1

      ponzi-like scheme….paying for

      The wages of certain employee to spam certain website to drum up more business ?!

  • +3

    The whole concept of invisible referrals and hidden discounts is somewhat unreliable. It'd be great if Cashrewards just provided you with a coupon code and you could see the discount in your shopping cart.
    I imagine CashRewards cannot do anything for ebay enquiries — if ebay doesn't pay, then cashrewards probably can't complain as they have no explicit business agreement with ebay.

  • +4

    My experience
    All of my purchases, except for 1 has been tracked in Cash Rewards.

    My Thoughts
    The problems I continually have are;

    1. The tracking email / cash rewards reporting I spent a different amount (less)
    2. The cashback amount paid is incorrect (less than the %% offered/advertised)
    3. It takes so bl**dy long for the cashback to be paid. I have purchases well over 30 days.
    4. The investigation process takes so long, up to 3 months to get a company to check their data for my missing tracked purchase

    I think Cash Rewards and the Retailer should have a better resolution process. It's beyond a joke.

    Tightarse, now you're an employee, please fix it for OzB's.

    • Is that your latest one that is missing tracking? All of mine have been tracked except for the recent ones. I think they changed something in their system, e.g. probably changed partner networks.

      Cashrewards is only a partner to a bigger player. It's a small fish from what I understand about how the affiliate networks function…

      • +1

        Is that your latest one that is missing tracking? All of mine have been tracked except for the recent ones

        Same here. Tracked OK until recently. Perhaps something has changed.

        • +1

          Yeah, from the evidence we can see the problems started roughly last month,

          They need to put a thread onto the front page so everyone can see this, not hidden inside the forum area.

          I didn't even notice it as a normal ozbargain user. In fact even missed the other thread.

          It's in the "Ozbargainers' Public Interest". I'm sure Scotty would approve.

  • +24

    Some disclaimers up front.

    • There's no working/commercial relationship between OzBargain and the cashback sites we listed (Cashrewards, PricePal, etc)
    • There's no working relationship between tightarse & OzBargain, I haven't met him personally, and I've only met Andrew from Cashrewards a few times.
    • However OzBargain has been in the affiliate business for a few years and I think I'm well versed in how these cashback sites work.

    My Experience

    Transactions are mostly tracked. There are still some transactions that are tracked 6 months ago but not confirmed/paid. For eBay, Cashrewards usually confirm the transactions after 2 months. It takes longer for other merchants.

    If you do things correctly there's usually no problem with tracking.

    My Thoughts

    I am actually "okay" with the state of Cashrewards, knowing how affiliate marketing works. I think one biggest misconception here is that Cashrewards is working directly with the retailers to provide cashbacks, and they have access to the actual list of transactions on the retailers' end so they can perform matchups. It is unfortunately far from reality. With the amount of transactions going through Cashrewards I have no doubt that they have built good relationships with merchants' marketing departments, but with affiliate tracking there are actually multiple layers.

    • Consumers deal with Cashrewards
    • Cashrewards will talk to the affiliate networks (APD, Rakuten, CommissionFactory, eBay Partner Network, etc)
    • Affiliate networks will talk to either the retailers (small boutique shops), or their marketing departments (nation-wide stores), or sometimes other media agencies that are hired by multi-nationals.

    For a transaction to be paid,

    • Retailers (or their media agent) usually wait after the refund period, before the fund is paid to the affiliate network.
    • Affiliate network will then pay the fund at the month's end to Cashrewards.
    • Cashrewards will then mark the transaction as confirmed.

    Whole process can take months (or up to an year!) depending on the retailers. Some retailers are just outright scam that refuse to pay (we have come across quite a few of those), some are super-slow verifying the transactions, and some transactions need to have commission adjusted (used a different coupon code, targeted campaigns, etc). eBay is generally faster as there's no middle man. However there's also no one to go to if the transactions do not match up.

    I would think Cashrewards want to payout as soon as possible but often it's just beyond their control.

    As of tracking, it's really hit and miss sometimes.

    • Ad-blockers! Some of them block almost every affiliate network out there so the tracking pixel on the retailer's checkout page is not fired and the transaction does not get tracked.
    • Retailers! Every now and then the affiliate networks will send out emails saying that certain retailers are having technical issues so the tracking is not working properly. Those are just reported cases…
    • Affiliate networks! I am sure many are great marketing experts, but it seems they don't pay as much attention in optimising their scripts and backend.
    • Other websites! Retailers only pay commission to the last-clicker, and affiliate links are everywhere on the Internet these days as everyone wants to be that last-clicker. For those people using OzBargain as a guest, i.e. not logging in, we'll send them the affiliate links as well. So (1) always log into OzBargain, or (2) use private browser / incognito mode and make sure you clicked Cashrewards last.

    Again, these are also outside Cashrewards' control. That's exactly the reason why OzBargain does not want to get into the cashback business (didn't stop people from asking). Too many variables outside your control, and when tracking fails, it all becomes your fault.

    People should really see cashbacks are bonus rather than discount.

    Finally, I believe TA's job at Cashrewards is working with the retailers / affiliate networks, which is not really related to all the tracking issues. Sure, TA would pass on the suggestions from OzBargain to his team, but I don't think he should be responsible for the fixes, if these are fixable in the first place.

    • +1

      This is a brilliant summation scotty. Thanks for putting it together :)

      • +3

        Sorry it's not really a "summation". The whole thing is so complicated and so many places can fail it gives me headache already :(

        • +1 on the summary. The technology behind it is so flakey there is probably a certain low % of perfect transactions that still fail to be correctly recorded.

    • Great response Scotty - puts it all into perspective and changes my opinion on the subject.

    • Thanks for a perspective of how it works. Began to feel what an uphill battle it will be to convince users, after I read Andrew's comments here. And subsequently, many more.

      One question since I am genuinely curious about the mechanics of this, as brought up by songjing.

      I did a test and thought perhaps this might be what happens. Am I off the mark? Can anyone shed some light? ('ebay' in my comment can be whatever site referred by cashrewards).

      Tried to google on how cashback tracking works, but haven't found any good articles on it.

      Thanks in advance.

      • +1

        For eBay it's more than just appending the clk_rvr_id= query param. You need to go to first with a specially crafted URL, which will then bounce you back to the eBay store/item page. For the other merchants, depending on the affiliate network, they normally bounce you off from that network's tracking URL, and at the checkout page, that network's tracking pixel is included to confirm the transaction + amount. In some cases it's more complicated than that, when intermediate tracking is involved (an advertising/media agency in the middle for example).

    • +1

      People should really see cashbacks are bonus rather than discount.

      I couldn't agree more!

  • +1

    I bought heaps of stuff over the last few days using cash rewards and this post reminded me that I didn't get emails for any of them. Going to try contacting them.

  • I'm new to Cashrewards and my first purchase via CR was for a local takeaway with EatNow and I received the tracking receipt about 1 hour after purchase.

    My next purchase was with eBay on Monday night and I am yet to receive a tracking receipt.

    Can anyone advise if this usually takes the full 7 days to receive for eBay transactions?

    • Sometimes a transaction is not tracked, despite taking all the right steps. Many things can go wrong. Some insights by Scotty here.

      I bought skype cards a week ago, and those transactions were not tracked, despite success all the times before. From what I gathered, there is not much Cashrewards can do when that happens.

      • +1

        i've also received no email from cashrewards to say the transaction was tracked, but still ended up with $$$ in my balance from that transaction days later.

        • Glad to hear. So, I went and check, but still no transaction. It is more than a week already, so I guess chances of this happening is diminishing.

  • +3

    As I previously posted, I moved away from CashRewards and direct to eBays Partner Network.

    I have have a higher cashback, it comes into my account within 2 days, and paid out monthly.
    I don't have to remember to click cashrewards first either.

    • Wish I'd spotted this before I just gave eBay $608 (pre-discount).

    • Well. eBay Partner Network Code of Conduct:

      (5) You and your Agents will not click on Promotional Content containing your own Tracking Code.
      (6) You will not be compensated for invalid click activity, consisting of any clicks and impressions that may artificially inflate a publisher's earnings. This includes, but is not limited to, clicks or impressions generated by a publisher clicking on his own ads, automated clicking tools or traffic sources, robots, or other deceptive software.

      • Same terms as Google adwords and similar then!

  • +2

    The biggest issue I have with CR is the lack of information on what to do/not do to get things tracked.

    Obviously there are multiple ways on how to make a purchase, but there is no guide on how to have your CR purchase tracked. Based on my experience with OzBargain, we are a community that are collectively willing to jump through hoops to get to a better deal, and I'm sure we'd rather go through a more cumbersome method to ensure that purchases get tracked.

    I understand that the info on the website is pretty simple so it doesn't put people off doing it, but my experience with CR is that only 50% of my purchases have been tracked.

    My experience has been mainly with eBay and a bit on other websites such as Book Depository. I've only had <$100 purchases tracked, all the higher value purchases I've made have not been tracked. I can't tell what I've done 'correctly' to have the purchases tracked - I've tried using different browsers (Chrome incognito and IE), tried having them on the wishlist and adding them separately, logging out and back in to eBay before going through the CR website and searching for the items through the specified promos through CR rather than OzBargain.

  • Yeah, I can confirm tracking stopped working sometime last month. No new configuration or updates to my browser.

    Third party cookies accepted and Do not Track is disabled. No Adblocker as usual.

    I think we need to make a video whilst we do our purchases. They already have our details anyway, so giving them a video of our details and us physically going through the process of clicking and buying an item, isn't really a loss of privacy.

    Out of 26 transactions tracked successfully, the latest ones are missing and it stopped working afterwards. If this continues, we will eventually see a clear pattern. So guys, keep up the detective work.

  • My recent ebay purchase did not track. It happened to be the largest one I have ever made on ebay too.

    • It happened to be the largest one I have ever made on ebay too.

      Massive coincidence, right?

      • Maybe, but I have had quite alot of purchases track with multiple retailers. Was frustrating but then again it's money for nothing.

  • I am wondering if the "No Enquiry" policy is still in force, or whether things have changed since CashRewards brought out the currently beta "Click History" section.

    Maybe CashRewards implemented this section, because they want to be able to show a partner store, that the user did in fact go through Cashrewards, and by timings, that user did purchased immediately after. So, despite failing to track due to system issues, the store is given sufficient evidence to approve the Cashback for the user's benefit.

    On the other hand, maybe nothing has changed, despite Click History being able to substantiate you going from CashRewards to purchase at Ebay.

    I also asked for others' experience here: Cashrewards - Did "Click History" Section Come to The Rescue?.

    Do you reckon or have experience, from following up with Cashrewards, that Click History was brought out for this purpose? It would sound like it (i.e. to benefit users), due to the description "We need to record each click activity down to the second in order to track your sale with our stores and pay you the right cashback each and every time".

Login or Join to leave a comment