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The dark truth about Qantas' Frequent Flyer programme: Watchdog issues urgent warning to consumers that airline is pillaging their data

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 6/09/2019 Kelsey Wilkie For Daily Mail Australia

 Video provided by Nine News

Jetsetters have been issued an urgent warning by the consumer watchdog about companies pillaging their data through loyalty schemes. 

Qantas is one of four major companies named in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) loyalty and reward scheme draft report.

While most loyalty schemes offer consumers the chance to obtain points or another type of reward, many customers were being kept in the dark over what was happening to their personal information, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

'They aren't just giving you freebies in return for your loyalty, they are actually using your data to make a lot of money,' he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: Qantas is one of four major companies named in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) loyalty and reward scheme draft report © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Qantas is one of four major companies named in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) loyalty and reward scheme draft report

'Most people think they are being rewarded for their loyalty with discounts or points but in reality some schemes are building up detailed profiles about consumers and selling those insights to other businesses,' he said.

He said customers would be shocked to find that some schemes collect their data even when they don't scan their loyalty cards. 

The report also slammed schemes for its terms and conditions being poorly worded and making it confusing for customers. 

Qantas Frequent Flyer, Woolworths Rewards, Velocity Frequent Flyer and flybuys were the four major Australian operators mentioned in the draft report, which was released on Thursday.

Qantas has claimed its benefits are real and stressed it does not sell data to third parties.

Virgin Australia released a statement saying it would work with the regulator on any of the recommendations mentioned in the final report.

Jetsetters have been issued an urgent warning by the consumer watchdog about companies pillaging their data through loyalty schemes © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Jetsetters have been issued an urgent warning by the consumer watchdog about companies pillaging their data through loyalty schemes

'Velocity Frequent Flyer regularly reviews its member terms and conditions and privacy policy to ensure members understand the terms of the program and how their personal information may be used.'

Woolworths said it was making changes to its terms and conditions information to make it clearer to customers what they were agreeing to.

'We continue to treat our responsibility in collecting, using, and storing data very seriously and have strict privacy controls to protect our members' personal information,' a spokeswoman said. 

Pictures: The history of Qantas


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