A discount card scheme that operates nationally was described as “a scam” by the University of Lincoln Students’ Union yesterday (16 September).

The Local VIP Cards were slurred on the official Facebook account of SU President Brian Alcorn, where they were also accused of upsetting freshers, making them give away “personal details”, and causing them to be “out of pocket”.

However, the director of the scheme, Anthony Chadwick, refuted what he called a “libellous claim”.

“We have many hundreds of offers around the country, all of which are backed by signed, yearly contracts,” he explained. “We have a dedicated offers manager who visits all of the venues annually to get the offers renewed, updated and most importantly the contracts signed by the manager of every venue.”

Ulsu Prez's Local VIP Card warning post (screencapped from Facebook)
The above message was posted on the official Facebook account of the Students’ Union president, and a shortened version was posted on Twitter (click here for full size)

The Linc was also told that promoters of the cards, which have been running since 2008 across 27 cities, have a laminated copy of all the local offers used to help buyers make an informed purchase.

These local offers include discounts at local bars and clubs such as Moka, Trebles, and Kind, as well as retailers like Pizza Express, The Laughing Buddha, and tattoo studio Blazing Guns.

Contesting the claim that the free entry to clubs the card provides “proved not to be the case”, Mr Chadwick noted: “There are occasions where a new member of staff at a venue may not be aware of our offer; we state very clearly that the card holder should ask to speak to the manager, who will be aware of and honour the offer stated. If this is not successful, our card holders can contact us and we will contact the venues directly.

“If it is found that the venue is still not honouring their offer, they will be removed from our website.”

After contacting local traders who appear on the card’s website, The Linc can confirm that the scheme is accepted in several of the retail outlets advertised.

Finally, Mr Chadwick added that the company would be contacting the Students’ Union “and informing them that they must remove their libellous comments or the matter will be referred to our solicitors”.

The SU later clarified that their problem was with the promoters of the scheme, who were seen as aggressive and deceiving towards unwitting freshers as they had suggested the cards would work with ‘all the clubs’ in Lincoln, rather than the cards themselves.