Tesco shoppers should beware of buying or selling Clubcard vouchers, as this could result in their account or points being cancelled, MoneySavingExpert.com warns.
We've uncovered more than 50 listings on online auction site eBay in which Tesco Clubcard users are selling vouchers, sometimes for over three times the face value. In one case, we saw £50 worth of vouchers being sold for £170 and marketed as being worth up to £200 in Tesco rewards.
Clubcard members earn points when shopping at Tesco, or via rewards partners such as Esso. Points are sent out in the form of vouchers every three months, with each point worth a penny if used for in-store shopping.
However, points can be boosted and exchanged for rewards vouchers worth up to four times the value. For example, a £2.50 Clubcard voucher, which is the minimum that can be exchanged, can be swapped for a voucher worth £10 to spend on restaurants, train tickets and more.
See our Loyalty Points Boosting guide for more on this and other schemes. We revealed in 2013 that Tesco had called in the police in after we uncovered a widespread issue in which vouchers were being stolen from online accounts and spent without the user's consent.
Is selling Clubcard vouchers allowed?
Tesco's terms and conditions state that vouchers are not for resale. The supermarket also told MoneySavingExpert it has the power to cancel Clubcard accounts and delete points if customers are found to be breaking its rules.
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A Tesco spokesperson adds: "On the rare occasions we are made aware of a customer selling their vouchers, we would make contact with them and advise they have breached our terms and conditions – further action may also be taken."
Auction giant eBay told us that users are allowed to sell vouchers and coupons on its site, but its policy states: "...[we] support the efforts of manufacturers and retailers around the world to reduce fraud in the voucher industry."
However, it adds that because of the size of its website, it's difficult to police these listings and prevent abuse. A spokesperson says that "eBay makes every effort to keep the site free of items of concern" but notes that it has more than 149 million active global users.
"At any given moment, over 800 million listings are offered for sale on eBay globally – with the overwhelming majority of listings on eBay coming from honest and law-abiding sellers," the spokesperson says.
Am I allowed to use Clubcard vouchers that aren't mine?
Tesco says Clubcard vouchers are "valid for use only by the recipient". When redeeming points in-store you may be asked to show your Clubcard in order to use vouchers.
When swapping vouchers online for rewards, you can do so only from the Clubcard holder's own account. Tesco adds that vouchers "cannot be transferred, bought, sold or in any way traded". However, it seems those buying vouchers online ask the seller to exchange them first and then send the exchanged voucher.
It's unlikely retailers will check Clubcards when rewards vouchers are used, although Tesco says vouchers will have the Clubcard member's name printed on them and possibly their postcode too.