The ACT Government’s ChooseCBR discount voucher scheme has been suspended for at least a week due to technical difficulties with the website since its launch on Wednesday 9 June.

A text and email sent to all registered consumers yesterday said the site has been taken offline to “address the issues and ensure reliability” and noted all businesses and customers have been made aware. Initially the website was expected to be fixed by 7am today, 11 June.

A follow-up email sent this morning at 6am said the scheme would be “paused” a further seven days.

“We had hoped taking the site down would allow us to fully resolve these issues and prevent further frustrations for businesses and customers,” it read. “Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to fully resolve the issues.

“Out of an abundance of caution — and so as to not cause further disruption and uncertainty — we have made the difficult decision to pause the program for a further seven days.

It is anticipated the website will be back online and fully function by the morning of Friday 18 June.

In a statement distributed on Facebook yesterday, Minister for Business Tara Cheyne said despite applying a number of significant fixes overnight on 9 June, a new issue emerged on day two, Thursday 10 June, with the database.

“We know this news is incredibly disappointing. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this has caused and that your experience with the scheme so far has not been what it should have been,” she said.

“Where businesses have accepted vouchers from customers but not yet been able to redeem them, we will be honouring these and instructions on how to be reimbursed will be sent to businesses via email.”

Over $300,000 in vouchers have been claimed in the first two days since the scheme went live on Wednesday 9 June, which far exceeds the $30,000 a day claimed in the December 2020 trial.

choosecbr down temporarily suspended
IGA Deakin put a sign in their window yesterday 10 June to inform customers they are no longer accepting the vouchers due to technical difficulties. Photo: Facebook.

Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley criticised the ACT Government for having to suspend the ChooseCBR scheme just two days in.

“All we have heard the last two weeks from the Business Minister is how great ChooseCBR is and how the government has improved it,” she said.

“Let’s not forget this is the second attempt at launching the ChooseCBR program and on both occasions there have been significant problems.

“It is simply not fair and unacceptable for business owners, staff and customers to be put in this position.”

Prior to the formal announcement, numerous businesses across Canberra were forced to fabricate signage to notify customers they aren’t accepting the vouchers.

Deakin IGA put a sign in their window yesterday saying they aren’t accepting vouchers due to the system being “unreliable” and causing “too much distress for our staff and customers”.

“We apologise for trying to participate in this program,” it read. “Please understand this is out of our control.”

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