Tesco - Breaking the Law and Own Policy? ~ Tesco-Complaint

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tesco - Breaking the Law and Own Policy?

Over the last five weeks it has been well documented by many Tesco customers on various internet forums that most branches of Tesco nationwide have been displaying misleading price indications on computer games consoles. These problems appear to have affected all branches nationwide and have originated at Head Office level.

Stores have displayed promotional Point Of Sale material on the shelves stating:

  • "Save £20 when you buy an Xbox and Game Of The Week" and
  • "Save £10 when you buy a PSP and Game Of The Week".

However, as many customers have discovered, the advertised discounts have not applied by the tills when customers have purchased the relevant items. This is caused by the "Game Of The Week" posters being out of date or incorrect, although this is not apparent to any customer who reads the poster.

At present most branches of Tesco are also displaying Point of Sale material offering "10% off all Pay As You Go mobile phones". Once again, many customers including myself have found that no discount is applied to the original price when a number of the mobile phones are purchased. In the case of the Motorola L6 Virgin Mobile phone, staff have claimed that the current sale price of £69.99 has already had the 10% discount deducted. However, this is untrue as the phone has never been on sale by Tesco for more than £69.99.

As you may already be aware, all Tesco stores nationwide have a sign on display in their stores (usually behind the Customer Service desk) entitled "Our Promise", which states the following:

"In the unlikely event you are charged a higher price than on the shelf or the product we will refund your money and you can keep the product" (This 'refund and retain' policy statement does not have any conditions or small print attached to it).

In my own experience, and in the experience of hundreds of other customers across the country, Tesco have refused to honour this policy on games consoles or other items of a high value when they have overcharged for them.

Some of their implausible and often ridiculous excuses have included:

"The policy only applies to food and drink items."

"In the case of multisave offers (i.e. buy two or more items and receive a discount) which fails to be deducted at the till, we have not actually overcharged you - we have just forgotten to give you your discount."

"Our policy is at the manager's discretion, and the manager says no."

"Each customer is only entitled to have the benefit of the policy on a maximum of one/two/three products." (the amount varies from store to store)

"You noticed you had been overcharged before you left the store, and therefore the policy does not apply".

When some customers have elevated their complaints to Tesco's Head Office after the branch refused to honour company policy, individual store managers have taken the decision to issue a lifetime ban on that customer entering their store.

I have myself been issued with such a ban by my local store. Tesco have insinuated that by me trying to obtain a refund on a games console after they overcharged me for it, I am in some way committing fraud. I entirely refute their allegation since it is Tesco who committed a criminal offence by overcharging me in the first place, and I have simply tried to obtain a refund under their advertised policy.

The real reason for these banning orders is that managers feel threatened by observant customers who are aware of their legal rights. It is far easier for them to ban these customers rather than to operate an honest, law-obiding business.

There are two issues here:

  1. The numerous and widespread breaches by Tesco of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 by displaying misleading price indications. These are criminal offences.
  2. The misleading policy statement on display in every store, which Tesco frequently refuse to honour. This is currently under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Over the last five weeks I have been overcharged on a total of 18 occasions by several Tesco stores. In all but two of these cases, the stores have refused to honour their advertised policy on overcharging. I have been astonished at the ignorance of the law displayed by some of the managers and duty managers of the above stores. When I have explained the legalities of the situation, they have denied that they are doing anything wrong by displaying incorrect pricing information.

The rudeness of the staff (including managers) has at times been absolutely shocking.

The forum section of the website Moneysavingexpert.com contains hundreds of customers' examples of Tesco's overcharging and subsequent refusal to honour their policy.


Richard Eisner said...

Thanks for your post and welcome to the site! Great to see people posting on this blog so quickly - there must be a lot of disgruntled Tesco customers out there... I've added some pictures to your post - hope that's okay!

You make some very valid points about Tesco policy. I set this site up for a friend who has now wasted many hours dealing with Tesco over some cheese that was mis-sold and grapes which were charged for twice.

It seems to be very common that Tesco makes mistakes and overcharges and so they should have a refund policy. They should also stick to it. Pathetic that they don't.

Please encourage other complainants to drop their complaints to this site by email - it's a pretty unique feature of this blog that it has been opened up for all Tesco customers to blog on. Hopefully this way the site will grow and become useful in exposing Tesco.

Anonymous said...

Re. the games consoles. I work for Tesco (unfortunately) and in my store a customer was overcharged as mentioned at the beginning of the post.

The store manager refused the full refund as the customer should be entitled to (it was XBox 360) but head office told the manager to refund the total amount and the customer could keep the product.

The customer was also issued with a LBO for his troubles. Totally out of order.

tesco-complaint said...

Hi anonymous, welcome to the blog and thanks for posting :)

The manager where you work was just being petty not giving the refund since clearly the policy is defined. Perhaps this is the common problem that the store managers are the ones not following the policies probably because they have targets to meet and will get in trouble for it. Why give their customers the runaround like this? Are they unsatisfied with their jobs at Tesco so abuse customers? It is unacceptable. They are meant to be servants not disservants!

Whats an LBO?

Anonymous said...

Ah, sorry, an LBO is a lifetime banning order. Does what it says on the tin.

Anonymous said...

I thought LBO's could only be given to people that had shoplifted from the store or committed an offence such as assaulting a customer or member of staff. Issuing one of these to someone who has claimed a legitimate and legally entitled refund sounds dodgy. Surely its an implied unfair contractual term?
The best option would be to refuse the refund and retain offer IF it comes with a LBO and report them to trading standards and the small claims court. Its a longer route to get refund/item but if the court enforces your right they cant issue a LBO as it would ammount to contempt.

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