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SM Advantage Card auto-debits points for Philam insurance




The SM Advantage Card program is playing tricks on us — and it’s not at all amusing.

Last week, we wrote that SM Advantage Card (SMAC) is automatically enrolling members into the Philam Personal Accident Insurance Program by automatically debiting 20 points from one’s account. Offering insurance would have been a real benefit, except that members were not previously made aware of this and the notice on the latest policy was given only three months before it lapses.

leela commented that she initially got an email from SM Advantage Card notifying her of an insurance policy that takes effect September 2008. That was fairly acceptable, but she was surprised when SM wrote again and clarified that the policy had actually started on September 2007, not 2008, and the insurance has only 3 more months remaining coverage. What?!

Our 20-point SM Advantage question: Why are members made aware only now, when the policy is about to lapse?

Earlier this week, Ruth also posted on her blog that SM Advantage apparently had been enrolling her into the insurance program since 2006. Meaning, they had deducted points since then — without her knowledge and permission! — but she was made aware of the insurance only after she recently called SM Advantage. What if she met an accident during that time, she asked. The policy may have been in effect but could have she enjoyed the benefits considering she was not aware of its existence?

Again, our 20-point SM Advantage question: Why does SMAC automatically enroll members into the program without informing them and without even getting permission from them first?

It would have been OK if the program is for free. But members are charged 20 points for something they could not even enjoy. Those 20 points were earned by spending P4,000 so in effect, we paid P4,000 just to get that Philam insurance.

This action by SM Advantage is definitely a manipulative, unfair trade practice.

Ruth shared that she had already complained to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) about this, and we’ll eagerly wait for updates on the issue.

For now, try to check your SM Advantage points balance. We probably don’t know it but SM might have been deducting points of all sorts without our knowledge.







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21 thoughts on “SM Advantage Card auto-debits points for Philam insurance”

  1. Filipino Technology Blogger says:

    This is quite tricky. Hope things get straightened out before things get nasty.

  2. JC says:

    Is this even allowed by law? Meron akong SM advantage card pero nde ko masyado gnagamit… so tingin ko nde pa ako kasali dito… pero sa batas ba pede to? sapilitang membership? Kung ang SSS nga natin, nde sapilitan e… encouraged lang (and obviously best if member ka)… ??????

  3. Shannon says:

    Yes, me too. Last few month i check my smac points, it was at 97. Then few days ago i check it again when i bought something. I ask the teller if how much credit do i have. She told me that i got 77 something points. SO meaning they deducted 20 points from my smac. Dang!

  4. Jan Alvin says:

    That is why I don’t try those things. Theres always hidden charges.

  5. Fitz says:

    I agree that this is unfair trade practice and SM should explain why they failed to properly inform all card holders about this. Although personally, I was aware of this scheme when I renewed my card March of last year because the teller told me about it (she was excited and said it as good news for me).

    Anyway, I would have to disagree on your point that we are losing P4,000 on this transaction. I believe that you only actually lost P20. Why?

    Because you received P4,000 worth of merchandise from SM and the 20 points you get in the card can be considered just a form of rebate. So in effect, they just “stole” your points and not the “groceries” you bought.

    Again, I believe that SM should explain their side regarding their failure to properly disseminate information. DTI should also clarify if this practice is legal. But also, theoretically speaking, this incident only made us lose P20 and not P4,000 as your article is trying to say.

    Just my two cents. :)

  6. marou says:

    if u have accumulated 50 points in ur sm advantage card, chances are u have already been enrolled in the accident insurance program of philam without ur prior knowledge. i interviewed dti usec zeny maglaya in our program BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS on dwiz 882 khz am this noon(monday to friday 12-1 pm) and a summary of the interview is in my multiply site. we will try to get mr. rey maclang of the sm advantage card promo department tomorrow to shed light on the issue

  7. James | PinoyMoneyTalk.com says:

    Hi Fitz. True, technically we’re not losing P20. But what the article is saying is that the actual “cost” of that insurance is not P20, but rather P4,000. That’s because that’s how much we spent in order to get the 20 points needed to receive the Philam insurance. We did not really lose a lot, but we paid a hefty price for an insurance that was forced upon us — and that’s the main issue here.

    @marou, yup, I read the same thing before in another blog. Unless we signed anything during registration allowing SM Advantage to automatically enroll us in any program and to debit our points, I think that action is nothing but an unfair trade practice. When you interview Mr. Maclang later today, ask him if SM Advantage Card holders were previously notified individually about the Philam insurance policy. Another member, Ruth, discovered only recently that her points had been deducted since 2006 for this insurance which she never was aware of and never enjoyed.

  8. marou says:

    bummer! mr. maclang is suddenly unavailable. may lunch meeting daw. anyways, we are re-scheduling our interview with him on monday, around 12:30 pm

  9. marou says:

    just received this message from our communication assistant: “ma’am ayaw po niyang (mr. maclang) magpa-interview. kung gusto raw natin ng info, pumunta raw tayo sa office niya…” wow! gaano kaya kahirap para kay mr. maclang na makipag-usap sa telepono? dti usec zeny maglaya assured me yesterday that mr. maclang is ready for an interview.

  10. James | PinoyMoneyTalk.com says:

    Baka walang isasagot o worse, nalaman nilang mali talaga yung ginawa nila, kaya ayaw na magpa-interview. Hay naku…

  11. marou says:

    i received a call from mr. maclang. he is now available – but only for an email exchange. walang on air interview. i am just waiting for his email address.

  12. rommell says:

    ang akala ko 2009 mag eexpire yun pala 2008 na lang…madami nga silang mali dun ah…pano kaya ibabalik yung points and are there an online poll that we can post our concern…

  13. darkangel's virtualbattle says:

    can we do something about this? Sana magawan ng hakbang.

  14. Bob Reyes says:

    Bakit kasi walang Anti-Trust law dito sa Pinas e?

  15. Ruth says:

    Romell and other readers,

    I made a blog specifically for this SM Advantage scam. Please visit http://pinoyadvocacy.blogspot.com where you can also read all the emails I exchanged with SM and DTI. Unfortunately, as of this writing, nothing has been resolved. They are still skirting the real issue and simply kept on thrusting in my face the so-called “privilege” they have “bestowed” upon me for which they want to make it appear I have been so ungrateful for.

    I beseech everyone here who also won’t allow social injustices like this to be a norm in our society, to help me gather enough hard data which I can show DTI officials so that they can finally start investigating about the darn matter.

    Thanks!

  16. renard says:

    SM Advantage have a website but i don’t know how to contact them. Last March, I lost all my points in it (i know i have more than 20 pts.), either used by this scam or redeemed by other person who stole my card. They should put up a guidelines that you need an ID card to redeem the points in it.

  17. ernie says:

    SM advantage is your advantage, you get lower price, good shopping experience, and then you earn some points back just like a tiny discount, but money is money so enjoy it.

    dont cry for P20, just wait that someone has claimed insurance and they paid it. we pinoys are bullshit in complaining. P4,000 for insurance, please check your math, you bought something you brought home. not P4K for the insurance.

    Am not connected with SM if that’s what you think. I hate SM actually but they are here to magnet the muscles of the foot of my mother,sister,wife,to move towards those pesky entrance door.

  18. HOney says:

    that happened to me too. But they gave me the notice around 4 months before the policy ends. I thought it was sick.. BAd SM BAd

  19. beth locsin says:

    Save More supermarket pricing of manufactured items pricing is high even with the advantage discount of 1 peso for two hundred pesos of purchased thru SM credit cards. For some people, SM can mean sobra mahal or sinungaling at manloloko. I agree that the Advantage is for SM whenever you buy from them. What cost 100 pesos at other groceries is priced at 108 pesos at Save More or Sm Supermarket and 110 pesos at Hypermart.

  20. Jake_halili08 says:

    is this one of your contact 878-52400? someone call t my cell phone and give me this number.

  21. Jake_halili08 says:

    totoo ba ung tumatawag for accident insurance? t kinukuwa pa nila ung credit card number, para bumawas cla ng 1200 para sa bayad sa knilang card n ipapadala sa address mo… and they give this contact. 878-5400

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