Virgin Wines doctor voucher again, apologists enjoy humble pie
Last week we told you how a marketing company called The Customer Club was already picking at the carcass of Borders - the book chain is yet to close down, but The Customer Club has acquired Borders' mailing list and is spamming addresses with requests to join their loyalty scheme. The bait to sign up? A £40 voucher for Virgin Wines.
We suggested the Virgin Wines voucher was confusing at best, because the minimum spend in the small print read more like "£19.99" than "£79.99" - although the amount is clarified before the voucher is processed, the point is that some customers wouldn't proceed that far if the amount was displayed correctly.
As usual, after publishing an article in the best interests of the consumer we were promptly savaged for criticising the company in question. Here's what avid Bitterwallet reader Steve had to say in the comments:
Please…the font they have written the £79.99 in says 7 not 1. If you look at the rest of the numbers in the text, they are all the same font. Why would a Virgin branded company actually try to dupe customers. “deliberately cut and paste the “79″ from a different font so that the “7″ looks like the “1″ in the font used for the rest of the voucher” – Are you frickin kidding me!
Why don’t you write about what a shame it is these poor people are losing their jobs at Borders just before Xmas, or the sorry state of of our debt ridden country rather than an attack on Virgin Wines who actually sell some lovely wines, at great prices with award winning customer service! I know this because I’m a customer.
A couple of points straight off the bat - at no point did we attack the quality, pricing or service of Virgin Wines, and in fact there were plenty of comments both for and against the company in that respect. In terms of why a Virgin branded company might actually try to dupe customers; we don't know the answer, only that they've tried it in the past - as we pointed out in the previous article, a near-identical promotion was banned by the Advertising Standards Agency a year ago.
However, Steve's comments did prompt us to revisit the story in case we'd been too hasty in damning Virgin Wines. Was it only us who thought the "£79.99" price had been doctored to read as "£19.99"? Here again is the voucher in question (you can click here to see it full size):
Look at the "£19.99" typeface. Just look at it. With your eyes. At first glance it reads "£19.99". Yes it bloody does. Has it been fiddled with? Well, there's that gap between the £ and the 1 that isn't wide enough to be a space. And then there's that 7. It's wrong. You simply don't see Arial-style fonts where the 7 has a vertical stalk while the rest of typeface is curved or angled.
So it was just us who had a problem with the voucher, then? Absolutely not, as we discovered when we decided to double-check the voucher last night (large version here):
Obviously somebody else felt the voucher might confuse the customer because somebody in the past couple of days has thoughtfully inserted a 7 from a typeface that actually exists. Not very well, though. So was it a genuine-but-completely-improbable mistake or a deliberate fiddle?