I'm not an attorney, but this seems to me to be illegal. I know there is legislation in place to protect consumers when using gift cards, I would think that something like that would apply to other industries as well.
Deadlines are a fact of life. Gift certificates expire. Airline miles expire. Usage licenses expire. Expiring credits for photos or other things is nothing new.
Changing something AFTER THE FACT is a completely different story. But I am pretty sure that the 1-year expiration was in the ToS back when I looked at using them some time ago.
Also, be glad that they actually sent you a reminder. A lot of places would be perfectly happy to let the credits quietly expire.
They've done this ever since I can remember. I don't like it one bit. But it's still more or less acceptable, it's just how they do business.
What they don't realize, however, is it stops me from buying **large** blocks of credits. They're losing a lot of revenue this way. So I buy smaller credit blocks, and as my cycle comes closer to ending, smaller yet.
There is a certain freelance site who uses credits in the same way. You get X a month, if you don't use them, poof. They don't roll over.
Don't like that one either, but same deal, it's just the way they do it.
I wonder what made them go down this route in the first place. Was it on the basis that they could generate extra revenue through unused credits that expire? If they did it's not much of a business model and, echoing the sentiments here, is not conducive to sustaining brand loyalty.
Could margins be that tight at the bottom end of the image market that expired credits are seen by iStock as a valid revenue stream? If so, that would be very revealing, wouldn't it?
|But I am pretty sure that the 1-year expiration was in the ToS back when I looked at using them some time ago. |
Yes, I'm sure it was in the TOS when I purchased. This was more of a 'raise awareness' post.
|What they don't realize, however, is it stops me from buying **large** blocks of credits. |
Exactly! If you buy from them, don't purchase large blocks if you don't intend to use them. I don't use them often, but I do use them. I bought a large block at the discounted rate not thinking there would be an expiration.
they likely have very low margins at the high end commitment and many people probably think they'll use more than they do.
|Deadlines are a fact of life. |
And usually extremely generous. If your deadline has passed, you've twiddled your thumbs a loooong time. I have no problem with expiration policies. They should be held open forever? Not at all unusual for gift cards and such to be charged a monthly fee after one year of non-use until the balance drops to zero - which often gives you another year to waste.
I use istock from time to time. I sell low-end stuff there, so never actually have to buy credits.
|...legislation in place to protect consumers when using gift cards,... |
To protect people too stupid to use them in a reasonably timely fashion.
I'm fine with consumer protection standards but good grief.
|Mr Bo Jangles|
It's a common policy.
E-music has the worst form though - say your plan is 30 credits a month, if you don't use them that month, you lose what's left! Pretty onerous.
Getting nothing for your money is just plain wrong.
Whatever smokescreen they call it or fancy legal-sleeze in use for justification, this is just plain profit-mongering with no care just business practice. This practice may still be legal but it lacks integrity, there is a debt of genuine honesty owed the public in all transactions.
Say what you will but these folks can give the money back or leave it on-account but they choose not to do that for one reason only. It makes them more money to expire points quickly. It stinks from any direction you smell it.