An actual legal question - consumer / financial services

Ultimate first club world problem: BA/Amex have just announced they will raise the spend needed for the 2-4-1 voucher on the BA Amex Premium Plus Card, from £10k to £15k. Big deal. But, they are imposing it on everyone from 1 November 2024 not from card anniversary.

Anyone know anything about unfair variation clauses / unfair exercise of them ? Is FG18/7 still representative of (FCA's view of) the law ?

The T&Cs for earning the voucher state they can be varied unilaterally on 3 months' notice. November is more than 3 months away but that's not the correct measure is it ? Seems to me this is actually retrospective to the start of my card year - I allocated spend to the card from that point on the promise of getting the voucher for a given level of spend. So not reasonable notice / not transparent ?

Thoughts/abuse ?


You have a consumer contract

This might be an unfair term - and therefore invalid. 

Speak to the CMA or the CAB or BA or BA (but he aint getting on no plane you crazy fool)

I am not saying it is. You could argue that it might be because you took out a contract based on a particular commercial deal (and presumably the spend is within a particular period and within the contract there is provision for the provider to change that term.) A unilateral variation in a consumer contract has to be reasonable and the test for reasonableness is a high bar. 

Complain to Fos then. I think youll get short shrift. 

More than 90 days notice for variation of a product is more than reasonable. If customers dont like it, they can get a pro-rata refund on the product. 

Wombat, I appreciate you can get a pro rata refund of the annual fee, but you can't get a pro rata refund of the partial accrual of entitlement to a voucher, and it's the voucher that induces everyone to sign up for this card - the voucher IS "the product" as far as most people are concerned.

Provision of a voucher is not a financial service. Although the fos have some leeway I doubt you’ll win. However the threat of incurring a case fee might make them move.  

“From 1 November you will need to spend £15,000 within each membership year to earn a Companion Voucher. For example, if your next anniversary date is 1 Feb 2025 you would need to either spend £10,000 by 31 October 2024 or spend £15,000 by 31 January 2025 to earn your Companion Voucher for this membership year.”

So you do have until your next card anniversary to spend the 15k, which is surely not an issue. if you spend £300 a year on fees for the card, surely you are putting a minimum of 3-4k a month on the card.