In this blog entry, I will publish the latest press release by Lyoness, in which Lyoness comments on the verdict by the Austrian Supreme Court dealing with the company’s General Terms and Conditions. I will voice an opposing point of view, uncover any lies within the press release and will explain why many of the statements provided by Lyoness are false (my comments/adjustments are in red).
The verdict, comprising 53 pages, is clear. Lyoness must have been very concerned since the suit in question was filed, as it has far more members who are subject to the old Terms and Conditions than it would like to admit. Tens of thousands of its members have not switched to the new General T&Cs. The present final judgement by the Austrian Supreme Court is in line with a large number of civil judgements and it refers to all members (and not only to entrepreneurs), considering the Supreme Court’s explicit clarification that no distinction is to be made between alleged entrepreneurs and consumers. Lyoness disagrees with this last point!
LYONESS PRESS RELEASE:
LYONESS: THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION (“DECISION ON CLAUSES”) RELATES TO CLAUSES OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS WHICH ARE NO LONGER BEING USED.
Lyoness accepts the verdict from July. The clauses have not been used since 2014. Lyoness will deal directly with any customer claims.
It is disconcerting that they are referring to the “July” verdict. It seems that either they haven’t read the verdict or they don’t have it at hand, as the sentence was pronounced on the 14th of May 2017.
Graz (OTS) – The Supreme Court’s decision regarding the legitimacy of clauses of Lyoness’ General Terms and Conditions refers to clauses which have not been used since 2014. The Supreme Court is therefore only assessing clauses which are no longer part of the current Terms and Conditions. Moreover, 60 out of the 61 clauses which were at that time subject to complaints made by the Austrian Consumers Information Association (VKI) applied only to entrepreneurs. Due to restructuring measures, since 2014 these entrepreneurs have been part of a separate business segment with its own contractual arrangements. Only one of the clauses which were declared unlawful, referred to members of the purchasing group. That clause has also been invalid since 2014.
It is ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT that other than one exception, all clauses refer only to “entrepreneurs”. This was explicitly stated by the Supreme Court in its verdict.
Obviously, the verdict applies mainly to the customer loyalty program and the purchasing group, because tens of thousands of members are still subject to the old General T&Cs. Lyconet did not even exist back then and even the General T&Cs from 2014 have not been accepted by everyone.
Customer claims will be dealt with directly. (Class) actions are not necessary according to Lyoness, because the company will deal with any customer claims directly as it has done in the past. Lyoness suggests to directly contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any requests, so that they can help their customers fast and in an unbureaucratic way.
Lyoness is mocking its members by trying to portray lawsuits as being unnecessary, because of Lyoness’ supposed gestures of goodwill. So far, a lawsuit has always been necessary with them and one thing is for sure, the lawyers of Lyoness do not shy away from lying in court. Moreover, even signatures have been faked by Lyoness members (as was proven in a recent case).
The Supreme Court’s verdict does not concern the purchasing group or the customer loyalty program. The cross-sector and cross-border cashback and customer loyalty program is not affected by this verdict. Our approximately 7 million members can therefore continue to benefit from purchasing advantages at around 75,000 partner companies in 47 different countries.
This verdict concerns ALL members!
And what about the vendors? The Supreme Court’s verdict is also interesting from that perspective and should be brought to light and commented on by the media. Especially in the years 2011/12/13 tremendous amounts of money were made at Lyoness by selling their country and business packages. At that time, there were different vendors covering various markets and offering the possibility to pay by cashback card and not only using gift vouchers. In Austria, among those accepting the CBC there were some renowned companies. Those vendors had to pay per CBC transaction 1.5 – 15% (depending on the industry) to Lyoness.
Lyoness is a customer loyalty program and not a pyramid scheme. Already in 2016, the Higher Regional Court of Vienna made it clear that Lyoness is not a pyramid scheme according to § 168a of the Austrian Criminal Code. Consequently, all investigations concerning this matter were stopped.
It is IMPERATIVE to clarify that Lyoness has been found guilty several times of being a snowball system, which is equally illegal. Lyoness IS a snowball system and not only due to their alleged sales and distribution activities.