P.P.P.PS.: Lumino’s head office has taken this case very, very seriously, and has been following up on Ezidebit and Goody. I’m actually really impressed—enough to add the two words to the title. They get that I’ve never put my cellphone number on an any app in the past, and they, too, know that the timing of the scam calls is suspicious. I’ve had a promise that they’ll follow up.—JY
I signed up to the Lumino Dental Plan yesterday (Friday). Big mistake. Lesson worth repeating: listen to your gut.
Some days, the pleasant side of me kicks in and I give people the benefit of the doubt. I read the T&Cs while I was still there but it started getting unreasonable with my standing at the counter while they’re trying to deal with their other patients. ‘Don’t be such a wanker, Jack,’ I thought. ‘So their agreement wasn’t drafted by a professional lawyer. You’ve used Lumino before and the dentist last year was great, and this hygienist was excellent. Let the office manager’s sales’ technique win the day, it’s no big deal.’
Naturally, she really wanted me to sign and made it quite clear that that was the result she wanted.
But it was a big deal. I spent an hour last night writing the below to the companies involved. They gave five different emails so I contacted them all.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
After due consideration, I do not wish to enter into this Dental Plan, and exercise my right under the Consumer Guarantees Act to cancel it. I have been advised by Lumino the Dentists the Terrace that the cooling-off period for this sale is the standard five (working) days and I will be refunded in full.
I was asked by the practice this afternoon to email you with my reasons should I cancel. As all the above addresses have been given to me in one communication alone, I am taking the liberty of writing to you all.
First, I do not feel I had sufficient time to absorb the Ezidebit agreement today (Friday the 26th), especially on a tiny tablet screen, under what I felt was an expectation that I would sign before I departed.
If I recall correctly, the tablet app links to Lumino’s terms and conditions and these are different to the ones in the DLE brochure introducing the plan. I was not made aware of the DLE’s terms and conditions initially and was led to believe that the only ones were on the tablet.
As I advised Lumino while at the practice today, I had serious concerns about the Ezidebit agreement’s poor drafting and its reference to non-existent legislation. I was assured that should I sign, I would not suffer any loss because (a) that the cooling-off period for direct sales applied; and (b) that all Lumino customers who have cancelled to date have been refunded in full.
Among my concerns: I have never heard of the Contracts Privacy Act (neither has my partner, who has legal training), and there is confusion about whether I will be charged administration and transaction fees (Lumino says I won’t, Ezidebit’s T&Cs say I will). I also see there are SMS fees, although I was told at the practice that my cellphone would not be used and was led to believe that its request in the app was a formality. There is no specificity on any of these fees, other than for a failed payment. Generally, the Ezidebit agreement appears to be a copy-and-paste job, its constituent parts drafted by two lawyers who hated each other, and assembled by a third who hated them both.
Neither party has come forth with information about the handling of my private information.
Now that I have had a chance to sit down and review the documentation in your email, I have to conclude that with two businesses telling me different things—and the American one not even sure of what it has on its own website, let alone what laws exist in New Zealand—I have no trust in this arrangement.
The principle might be sound enough but the execution leaves much to be desired.
Tonight, Lumino sent me a survey form asking me what I thought of their service. Read on if you want to find out what happened earlier today (I’ll italicize it).
I feel very let down, and it’s been a lesson for me—but also for any business that decides to lend its good reputation to something highly questionable. It pays to do your due diligence, and that includes going through the customer sign-up process yourself to spot what holes there are. It’s become pretty obvious that this didn’t happen.
PS.: The scam caller on my cell came from +64 4 488-7021. Feel free to look it up for yourselves.—JY
P.PS.: The Lumino practice sent me an invoice for the hygienist’s session for another $153. No apology at all. Instead, ‘once this account is settled we will process your dental plan cancellation.’ Really?
I am deeply disappointed you have chosen to do it this way when I asked for the Plan to be cancelled first, as is my right—and which is something you plainly stated I could do. I don’t even get an apology or explanation for all the shortcomings in the Plan or the inconvenience caused, which is indeed surprising, or some assurance that my personal details were not sold. Given the scam calls on both my cell and land lines since providing you with my number on your app, I am sadly forced to conclude that they were.
Let me clarify our respective positions under New Zealand law.
Here’s where I stand:
I have a right to cancel this Plan. You’ve said so and I know so. I’ve exercised this right as of Friday night. You do not have a right to make the refund of the Plan conditional on my settling the account. I have an obligation to settle your account independent of the Plan’s cancellation.
Here’s where you stand:
You’ve done dental work on me which you should rightly be paid for. You’ve had a written offer from me to settle this account already. You’re in an extremely strong position to make sure I settle the account without making settlement conditional on the Plan’s cancellation. Your doing so violates New Zealand consumer law.
Unlike you, I can make this conditional on your cancelling the Plan, in part because I have no way of finding out whether you’ve taken my $299 or not.
It appears from your email that you already have.
Logically you could refund the difference between $299 and the invoice amount, which would be taking some responsibility for this mess.
I cannot see why I need to be out of pocket for $452 at any time. I am sure you can see how this is grossly unfair.
This seems like a delaying tactic to make sure the five days go by.
I now respectfully ask you cancel the Plan immediately and refund the difference, which seems the easiest solution.
The matter is now before the support team in Auckland. Hopefully they can sort this without my contacting their CEO (which seems like the next logical step).—JY
P.P.PS.: The practice manager on the Terrace has received the above and responded far more professionally, asking me to leave it with her and she’ll sort it out. She assures me my details have not been sold—not that I doubted Lumino but I still have very massive doubts about Ezidebit and Global Payments. She’s also offered me 5 per cent off on future treatments out of goodwill, which is a very promising solution. Lumino’s support line in Auckland was also very friendly and logged it into their system.—JY
When we share your information with third parties whom we partner with to provide our services (for example, providers of software or any other electronic applications which have been integrated with Ezidebit to enable us to process payments for users of that software or application), those third parties may use that personal information to provide marketing communications and targeted advertising to you.
In cl. 3.2:
We may disclose your personal information to our related companies or to third parties located outside of New Zealand, including:
• The United States;
• The United Kingdom; and
• Hong Kong.
That latter clause explains the scam call on Monday, January 29 then, which was on my cell and asked for me by name. The caller had a Philippine accent and claimed she was calling from Hong Kong.—JY