A consumer investigation contends that Walgreens misled consumers about a key aspect of the Balance Rewards loyalty program.
Walgreens misinformed consumers about its loyalty rewards program, potentially swindling them out of millions of dollars in earned benefits, according to a report by ConsumerWorld.org.
ConsumerWorld.org — which describes itself as a “public service consumer resource guide” — recently completed a two-year review of Walgreens’ Balance Rewards program through ConsumerWorld.org’s sister site, MousePrint.org. The latter website aims to expose the strings and catches in advertising fine print.
At issue are the points consumers are supposed to earn on “all” 30- and 90-day prescriptions filled in Walgreens stores or online. The points can be redeemed like cash for future Walgreens purchases.
In contradiction to Walgreens’ rewards program claims, not all prescriptions have been earning points, ConsumerWorld.org contends. Mail-in prescriptions haven’t earned consumers any points, according to the nonprofit:
“What the company failed to clearly disclose was that the millions of prescriptions ordered online via their mail order service would not earn points.
Walgreen perpetuated the misimpression that ‘all’ prescriptions earned points by running national television advertising, including this 2017 commercial, and repeated similar claims on its website.”
ConsumerWorld.org says Walgreens admitted to no wrongdoing, although it “quietly amended” the fine print on its website that misrepresented its actual Balance Rewards policy for prescriptions, so now the Balance Rewards information is accurate.
But what about the people who have unknowingly been cheated out of earning rewards points for prescriptions filled through Walgreens? ConsumerWorld.org says:
In fiscal 2016, Walgreens filled 740 million prescriptions in its retail division, which includes mail order. It is unclear what percentage of those prescriptions were in-store versus mail order, but clearly, millions of consumers never got the likely millions of dollars of rewards that Walgreens promised.
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