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Wowcher shoppers complain after being unwittingly charged for a 'VIP' subscription service - here's all you need to know

Shoppers who bought products and experiences from deals site Wowcher say they have been unwittingly signed up and charged £4.99 for its annual VIP subscription service. Here's all you need to know. (MSE) has spoken to several users, and seen scores of complaints on social media, from shoppers angry that Wowcher has added an extra £4.99 to their bill without them realising - though the deals site told us users can get a full refund on the fee if they don't want the subscription service. 

We have asked the firm if it will make changes to the design of its check-out pages to avoid further confusion and we will update this story when we know more. It says it's VIP service gives people access to better deals. 

For more on your rights as a consumer, see our Consumer Rights guide.

You have to deselect and untick the VIP service if you don't want it

Wowcher has confirmed that shoppers are automatically signed up to the VIP service when they place an order on the site - though the company added that the VIP yearly subscription doesn't auto renew. The only way to avoid it being added in the first place is to untick a box on it. 

However, the problem is that the VIP sign-up box only appears when you add in your contact details, and even then you can only see it if you scroll back up to the top of the page, so you're unlikely to notice the change in price unless you're looking.

'I was signed up to Wowcher VIP without realising - and fought to get my cash back on principle'

Charlene Aryiku from Greater London told MSE she was caught out after being automatically signed up to Wowcher VIP when buying tickets for a food festival. 

The 37-year-old said she only realised when she received an email from the firm welcoming her to its VIP subscription.

She said: "I first assumed the VIP service was a freebie, until I realised I'd been billed £4.99. I complained through its WhatsApp service.

"It kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to cancel and initially offered me a £4.99 credit voucher. But I pushed and eventually got my money back. It's not a lot of money, it's more the principle."

If you've been caught out, ask for a refund

Wowcher told MSE that users who've bought its VIP subscription by mistake are entitled to a full refund under its terms and conditions if they don't want to continue their membership.

You can complain to Wowcher via its WhatsApp service. You can also complain through its social media channels - you can find links to these on its contacts page

In some cases, as above, we've seen that Wowcher will try to offer a credit voucher initially but you don't have to accept that if you want to get a full cash refund. 

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