When is a 10% discount not really 10%? MYOAKS

I’ve stayed at Oaks Apartments a few times and generally been happy with them. Price is reasonable for what you get. Recently I was about to make a booking and was attracted by the prominently displayed GET 10% OFF PLUS FREE WIFI WITH PROMO CODE “MYOAKS” on their website.

Now, I had time on my hands so I had to see how this worked - normally you would never know if a hotel price is discounted because there’s no standard price to compare it to. But this time there was.
Without the promo code, a 4 star studio apartment at Hyde Park was $205.64. With the discount it was $201.50. That’s not 10%. When I queried this with their reservation staff I was told “The myoaks is 10% off our Best Flexible Rates and our Best Value Offer (stay 2 save 5%). If our Best Value Offer exceeds 5%, the myoaks is usually no longer applied to that.”

I can find nothing on their website to indicate there are conditions or restrictions on the 10% offer. It was certainly my expectation that I would get a 10% discount. I ended up making my booking somewhere else and actually paying more - but they were honest in their pricing…


well done Mick for making a statement about false pricing, ridiculously frustrating when promised / advertised discount / price is not correct.


@mick1, I trust you have taken the time to report this, with your evidence. Posting about such misleading advertising is good, especially on Choice, but it is even better that the regulatory agencies have it on their radar.


I did try the Queensland Office of Fair Trading but they referred me to a form that was a mile long and I didn’t have the time or energy to fill it out. Maybe I should revisit that. Thanks for the reminder!


I have found with many of the online group voucher sites that a significant number of the claimed discounts are misleading. Often than not, using the voucher code doesn’t offer ‘discounts’ different to that not using the code (which I do to check savings).

They also regularly redirect one to the suppliers website indicating that the suppliers website already provides discounts, even though the suppliers websites are not evident that discounts automatically apply.

This has been found the case with recently organising a rental vehicle.

I believe such are marketing gimics to trap the unwary into impulse buying to gain an imaginary discount.

Wouldn’t be surprised if the Oaks Apartment example is similar…you must be like me an check you are really getting what is offered rather than marketing spin.

@phb what was the rental company, if you don’t mind me asking? We’re just starting a research project into car hire (and campervan/FWD/van hire - so all kinds of vehicle rental) and we’re always looking for extra tip offs of shonky behaviour!

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It was Europcar, but in the past also have found similar with Avis and Budget as well. With Europcar, the top of the search results screen shows the discount voucher code and has wording similar to lowest rate applied. I noticed when the voucher code was removed the same daily costs appeared irrespective of the voucher being used. I suspect that consumers have been used to using group coupons and some retailers/suppliers have cottoned onto it using it as a marketing/impulse buying tool irrespective if a actual discount has resulted from the use of the codes. The goup coupon sites also provide low cost/free redirection traffic to the retailer, and has been an effective marketing tool in the past and has potential to be rorted as a result.

The other thnig we have noticed is the advertised vouchers appear to offer unilateral discounts but when looking at the details, the alleged discounts only apply to a limited number of locations/countries.

Sifting through them takes time to check what is actually being offered, if anything of value.

@TillySouth, the other thing we noticed from booking our upcoming holiday is that travel insurance can cover rental car excess up to $5000. When booking rental cars, there is often a recommended option to reduce the standard rental car excess from thousand(s) $$$ to a hundred(s) $$$ for what seems a small sum… say $15-30 per day. This might be okay for a one to two day hire, but for longer term hire the cost to reduce the excess through a car rental company can amount to more than the cost of a comprehensive travel insurance which can also covers the high excess. If one is risk adverse or wants to ensure that are not hit with a huge excess in the case of a rental car crash, one shouId be wary or buying excess reduction through the rental car company. It is far more cost effective to buy travel insurance instead…)and may not cost more if one already takes out travel ihsurance when traveling overseas like we always do). One just needs to read the travel insurance policy cover to ensure that such is covered…

The other shonky practice is electricity and gas retailers offering 10, 15, 25% discounts only to find the discount applies to the energy usage charges and not metering, billing or network charges. In reality for most consumers a 10% discount on energy charges equates to a maximum 3-5 percent discount on the total bill. Our experience for gas is we use about $12 of gas per quarter on a $111 bill…we receive a 6% discount on gas usage which equates to about a $0.65 saving on $110, about 0.5% real saving. Such is also deceptive conduct duping consumers.


I’ll add that sometimes the base rate used to compute the discounts goes up with the level of discount. For clarity if a kwh is $0.25 for a 10% discount plan, it might be $0.33 for a 25% discount plan!

The marketeers realise they can sell discount levels, not actual costs.


If you’re looking into using travel insurance to avoid car rental excess reduction charges, this article is worth a read https://www.choice.com.au/travel/on-holidays/car-hire/articles/car-hire-excess-and-hidden-fees


Isnt it a pity that Politicians and Governments don’t hold themselves to the same level! and that the laws expressly don’t apply to them either!

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Having previously worked within the accomodation sector for many years we found the online booking agents set rules different to what you agreed to as a service provider. They have total control of your information offering limited information to the accommodation provider. They run promotions that you are not aware of. . What people don’t realise is that the well know advertised online booking agencies are actually owned by overseas companies who have a stranglehold on the industry worldwide They operate to their own country laws not Australian laws. They don’t pay gst. I would always recommend booking direct with hotels/motels to save yourself money as these online booking agencies always charge commissions to the accomodation providers. They bombard the public with advertising offering discounts that realistically don’t exist, it’s just false promotions they offer to get you in to make money. Look at the accomodations own website first for rates and book direct.


I usually scan these sites for the prevailing offers and ring the property. The property will usually start with a high-ball insulting offer. When called out on the web prices they will usually meet or beat them by a dollar or two. A few times the property said they were unable to match the web prices and I should just use the web. Could be in their contracts, but go figure.


My efforts in dealing with the Qld Office of Fair Trading in the past has been a total waste of time, in my opinion this dept if any should be closed down for what effect it has in resolving anything and I am not alone in that opinion.

Hi, I recently joined the Fiftyup club following listening to the advertising hype on TV to see where it went with gas and electricity. Like everyone, Im concerned with rising power supply costs. ThisFiftyUp Club site was advertised extensively with energy savings offered at 37% discount by Click Energy a go between apparently of three suppliers in NSW for electricity… Too good to be true but thinking what did I have to lose… Phoned and enrolled after some discussion, told I could only get 37%discount on electricity and not gas in NSW. 10 DAYS cooling off period. Ah, I say, I’m in. Then feeling a level of concern I asked questions, did a cost comparison with Click Energy to my current supplier of which I get 24% electricity discount and 14% off gas with pay on time. Turns out this cost comparison with new supplier only saved 26 cents a day, 37% off their rates!!!. Then advised the gentlemen I wanted to cancel the enrolment. Advised sorry, you cant do that you have just joined up. Then advised you cant have a lock on the gate and no dogs in the yard. 5 day window of having the metre read. Sorry, I told the young man, I can’t leave the yard unlocked for 5 days and to keep the dogs out of the yard. Sorry I was told, we don’t use universal locks to access your yard, you have just joined up and cannot cancel the contract, expect your welcome pack in the mail. Rather that argue the point, I waited, phoned and emailed Click Energy over the next few days, no response. Becoming frustrated with no response after several attempts at phoning them I then went onto their website to go through their terms and conditions. It advised you can only cancel through a particular email address. Time is running out. Not a good start to a new customer relationship. Sent another email to this new cancellation address for Click Energy, a few days later received a phone call with message left. Returned phone call and unable to get through. Continued to phone several times until I managed to speak with a pleasant and helpful young lady. She advised yes, you can use a universal lock. But hey, my level of frustration at trying to even speak with someone, let alone get a response to my two emails was not worth it. Moral of this story as we all know, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s a dud. Stick with the tried and tested. Deceptive advertising yes.

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Yes I second that werehab! I’m fortunate to claim hotel costs for holiday on my salary package however hotels booked through booking.com do not issue tax invoices for me to do so. I have noted on their email confirmation that tax is collected in the overseas country e.g. VAT tax not Australian GST. I will be booking directly with the hotel next time and have had no trouble getting a tax invoice from direct bookings.