You may have heard of a company called "Life Style Perks" - this company is promoted by many retailers, including Victoria's Secret. In this article I will tell you everything you need to know about LifeStyle Perks so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not joining is right for you.
I was first told about LifeStyle Perks when I had called Victoria's Secret to place an order. The Victoria's Secret employee informed me that LifeStyle Perks is a company that allows you to get thousands of dollars a year...for free.
I asked the Victoria's Secret worker what the "catch" was and she said there is none and that if I sign up that day I would be getting an informational booklet explaining how to "redeem" my thousands of dollars. I then asked if there was a website I could view before registering and she said that all of the information would come in the "Welcoming Packet". Sounded way too good to be true, but at the same time, I couldn't imagine Victoria's Secret scamming people, so I agreed.
About a week or so later my welcoming packet arrives. It's a little form letter, a pamphlet like booklet that is amazingly vague and a tiny booklet filled with "the fine print".
I first read the form letter and it says that I deserve "perks" and by using Life Style Perks I am going to change my life. (Intriguing...)
I then read the vague pamphlet. Each page says "Save up to $40 a year on shipping!", "Save on groceries", "Save on Shopping" - but doesn't really explain *HOW*. (Also intriguing...)
I then read the "fine print" booklet (which is printed in microscopic, 2 pt font). Even after reading the fine print I still didn't understand the entirety of the program, so I made several phone calls to LifeStyle Perks. Here's everything you need to know (please read in FULL) -
LifeStyle Perks does offer some savings - but without a doubt, there's a catch...several of them.
When you register you are on a "free trial". The program is not actually "free". Being a member of Lifestyle Perks costs $39.99 a year. This money is directly billed to the credit card through which you used to sign up. For example, since Victoria's Secret referred me, my Victoria's Secret credit card would be charged the $40. The billing occurs regularly, until you cancel.
The free trial lasts 30 days, and if you do not cancel within the 30 days you are automatically billed.
** If you think that you will be able to sign up and "make money" during your "free trial" you are wrong - keep reading.
To begin, when earning "perks", you're not going to get cash. You're going to get gift cards redeemable only at the retailer through which you joined LifeStyle Perks. So in my case, I would only be earning Victoria's Secret gift cards, whereas, if you register for Life Style Perks through K-Mart, you would get K-Mart gift cards as opposed to Victoria's Secret, etc.
- As I had mentioned before, if you were thinking that you'll register today, make a few dollars really fast then cancel - you're wrong. After you have met the requirements to receive a gift card you have to wait 6 to 8 weeks to receive it. AND you have to be an "active member" during the 6 to 8 weeks in order to be "paid". Since the trial is only 30 days, even if you were able to meet the requirements for a gift card the second you get your "Welcome Packet", you still won't get your reward in time and cancel before you can dodge the $40 registration fee.
At first glance, I thought the program might actually work for me. I don't believe in paying for anything, but the "perks" really seemed worth the money. But as I examined the perks I began to realize that the program is completely impractical for me.
With Lifestyle Perks there's only a few ways to "earn money" (AKA gift cards - not "MONEY").
First, you can earn up to $40 in "shopping" gift cards. In order to get your $40 you will need to spend over $40 at the store then log onto the LifeStyle Rewards website and print up the form to redeem your gift card. You will then have to fill out the form, scan your receipts, print them up, place them in an envelope and send it to the Life Style Rewards company.
- The most you can earn per year is $40.
- Take into consideration the cost of printing your receipt, the envelope, the stamp, etc. You will be spending about $1 per receipt you mail.
- Gift cards are only payable in increments of $20. So if you send in a $30 receipt, you will only get $20 in gift cards back.
- Remember, you paid $40 to join the site. So if it takes you two receipts to make the $40 maximum earning point and you spent $2 on mailing them in,in the end, you will have lost $2.00 when you deduct your membership fee and printing/mailing costs.
Second, you can earn "Shipping Perks". Once again, this is the same as the "Shopping Perks". Download forms, print them up, fill them out, scan receipts, mail them in...it's really a lot of work. If you are an eBay seller who ships a lot, maybe this would be a good option for you. But the average cost of the order I ship is $5. So for me to earn my $40 in shipping gift cards, I will have to do the whole process 8 times - costing me $8.00 and a ton of my time. However, if you don't ship stuff often, or the things you mail are only a few bucks a piece, it seems like a waste of time!
Third, you can earn gift card through what Life Style Perks calls "Purchase Protection". This is a little confusing, but here's the deal -
Lets say you go to Victoria's Secret and buy a perfume for $62.00
Two weeks later you return to Victoria's Secret and the same perfume is on sale for $55.00 -
Lifestyle Perks will reimburse you the $7 difference, BUT...
You will need a letter from the store manager or a physical store paper showing the sale price as well as your receipt dated during the past 90 days proving that you paid $62 for the current sale item. In addition you will also need all the other things required for the shipping / shopping "perks".
This is one of Life Style Perks big "selling points". They tell you "From now on you can buy without fear! Never worry about overpaying again..." - but did you know that you don't need Life Style Perks to "protect" your purchases? You can do it on your own! It's the law - If you go into a store and make a purchase and the same item goes on sale the following week, or month or even two months later - just bring your receipt and item in! Basically, you are returning it and buying it right back. By simply saving your receipts you are eliminating the need for "purchase protection". For example, at Christmas I had purchased 12 Victoria's Secret candles because they were on sale for 50% off. In February these same candles went to final clearance and were actually 80% off. I took back my 11 unused candles and receipt and bought 'em right back. The cashier even gave me the difference for the 12th candle because I had the box. So just by saving my receipt, I was able to get $4.75 back per candle x 12 candles = $57! No "protection plan" needed!
- When you read the fine print, you will find that the LifeStyle Perks only allows the "protection plan" to be used on purchases from the same "chain" store. So if you buy a washing machine from Sears for $1000 and you then find the same exact washing machine at ABS Warehouse for $800, you can NOT use your Lifestyle Perks protection plan. You have to find the same washer at Sears for less money.
- You only have 90 from the time of purchase to use the protection plan. Meaning, you have to buy the washing machine from Sears and have the exact make and model of washing machine go on sale (and have the print ad or managers written letter) within 90 days of washing machine purchase. After the 90 day period has elapsed you purchase protection plan is void - even if the item(s) go on sale.
- Who really has the time to search through papers and go to stores every single week to see if the items they purchased are on sale for a lesser amount? (Then get letters from store managers?)
OTHER "PERKS"Restaurant Perks - I thought that maybe I would be able to take advantage of the "restaurant Perks" section since there are supposedly "over 25,000" restaurant perks coupons available. Well, what you won't discover until you join is that the "25,000 coupons" are available nation-wide - meaning they're spread out all across the United States. I live in Michigan (Metro Detroit) and there were only like 7 available coupons. Only one of the coupons was at a place near me and the same coupon (Buy 1 meal, Get 1 Meal 50% Off) is available in the Entertainment Book and the Sunday newspaper. So the Restaurant Perks had zero value to me.
Date Reminder Perks - This is a free service that you can enter important dates that you want to remember and they will email you on or before the date to remind you of it. You can get the same service for free at http://www.memotome.com/
Travel Perks - You *might* be eligible to get "2 for 1" travel coupons for airlines. Once again, these same coupons are available in the Entertainment Books.
LifeStyle Perks is actually CPP - which is a UK Credit card protection website http://www.cpp.co.uk/ .
My overall opinion: I guess if you have the time to do all the work to get the gift cards, there's a chance you could make a few bucks. But you still have to eat the enrollment fee and all the fees associated with preparing and shipping the "perks" forms. When I discovered how much work was required and the fees I canceled the program. When I called to cancel the employee was rather rude with me - he spoke to me in a condescending way. He questioned why I was canceling. When I said it was because the program just was not a good fit for me he said "How exactly are you going to *protect * your purchases?" I informed him that I will continue to be a safe shopper by researching my purchases before I make them - then I wondered to myself why I have to explain to this guy why I'm canceling?! I then told him I would just like to cancel. He continued to try to talk me out of canceling by telling me that I won't find better deals or be able to make "so much money" anywhere else. After about 5 minutes of basically arguing, he said he would cancel my membership. When I requested an email be sent stating that I had canceled during the "free" stage (just incase I was billed) he said that he couldn't send one.
Overall, I was not happy with the program. I would rather keep my $40 in my pocket or spend it on something that I get to own with no catch. I am happy with printing coupons on my own and I like shopping sales and clearance items. I see no real need for LifeStyle Perks. I actively use my Entertainment Book and recieve the same style of coupons, rebates and discounts.
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