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Tesco FeatIs it just me, or are some of Tesco‘s woes down to the way that they treat their own customers? They say that they stand for value and convenience but their marketshare has fallen 2.1% in the last three years (to 28.8%), they’re besieged by the likes of Aldi and Lidl and then of course they have their little accounting issue to deal with as well.

That being the case you’d think the least they’d do would be to look after their customers but I don’t feel loved and cared for by Tesco.

Overcharging by 16%

Yesterday I visited the Newbury Tesco for some pretty basic goods: Apples; Carrots; Grapes; 6 x Tins of soup; A loaf of bread; 4 x 1lt cartons of Orange Juice (bargain at £3.50); and a bottle of household cleaner. The bill came to just over £18, but somehow Tesco calculated that with their price match they’d overcharged me by £3.03. That’s a 16% overcharge, Tesco obviously aren’t delivering the value that they promise. How can Tesco possibly be 16% more expensive on such mundane items and why?

The reason is of course they won’t give the £3.03 off at the checkout or even let you redeem it the same day. It’s Tesco’s idea of a customer loyalty program – charge inflated prices but only offer a refund if you revisit them to pay their inflated prices again.

I wasn’t that happy with my 16% overcharge, but at least I had a £3.03 voucher to spend, so today I decided to buy lunch from Tesco. I selected a sandwich, packet of crisps and bottle of orange juice on a £3.00 meal deal and went to pay. Of course Tesco no longer employ enough humans so there’s a self service option but the self service option still requires a human to verify a voucher.

No we won’t let you forget the 3p

That’s where the problems started, remember it was a £3.00 meal deal and I had a £3.03 voucher, Tesco refused to let me forget the 3p, you have to spend more than the voucher amount in order to redeem it.

That’s just crass, how many of us have paid and said to the shop assistant don’t worry about the 1p/2p/5p change? I certainly didn’t care! All I wanted to do was buy lunch and recoup some of the 16% overcharge from the day before. Even the assistant didn’t have the power to use their common sense and just override the 3p.

Searching the store Tesco don’t appear sell anything for as little as 3p (not that I could find), so I ended up with a 10p chew. It turned out to be Cola and Lemon flavoured and was revolting. It left as sour a taste in my mouth as how I felt Tesco had treated me as a customer and certainly didn’t make lunch any better.

Frankly Tesco would have been better off charging me whatever they liked, leaving me to realise I’m paying over the odds which I’d never have noticed… and I could have had a much nicer lunch from Greggs without having to find something to spend 3p on.

Why do we put up with these large companies treating us like this? What happened to the common sense “Don’t worry about a couple of odd pennies”. More to the point don’t they realise that the reason that they’re losing market share is because of the way they make their customers feel?

Would you tell your customers you’d just overcharged them but if they shopped with you again you’d give them their money back (and probably overcharge them again and give another voucher for yet another visit)? Are Tesco mad, or is their overcharging, voucher giving, loyalty scheme a stroke of brilliance to keep customers coming back for more?

22 Responses

  1. Morrisons are just as mad (bad)! Their recently introduced scheme has a form of loyalty card called ‘Match & More ‘
    Basically each till receipt tells you that if you had shopped with another gang the bill would have been £xx less. If you have joined up to the scheme they give you redeemable points to reflect the difference.

    I keep telling them that I am going to take their hints at face value and shop with another gang.

  2. Many of the large Supermarket Chains became Large Supermarket Chains because their policy in times gone by was ‘Pile it high-Sell it Cheap’.

    Perhaps if they had remembered that policy they would not now be experiencing drop in market share and losses of profit with such as Lidl and Aldi now employing the ‘Pile it high-sell it cheap’ (German Style) and Poundland and the other Pound and 99p companies also employing ‘Pile it high-sell it cheap’ policies.

    So Chris D have you tried the Lidl, Aldi, Poundland etc alternatives? After all if Tesco and the rest of the Big Supermarket Chains continue to lose Market Share perhaps there will be more Mothballed Supermarkets(I understand that Tesco have 2 New Supermarkets Mothballed so far).


  3. Tesco play games with prices like all the other supermarkets.

    Take Morrisons laughable points card scheme.

    At least Asda will go 10% below the other stores in its comparisons.

    But it does beg the question, why not simply make the groceries cheaper?

    If you keep telling customers they could have got their groceries cheaper somewhere else, they will eventually shop there instead.

  4. They wonder why their old customers are now shopping these recommended supermarkets.

    If they can check rivals prices on a daily basis, just match them like for like & offer the discount at the till.

    Luckily I live in a Tesco free zone, with the nearest one being 15 miles away

  5. I think almost all supermarkets are offering some kind of price match now, which suggests they are all manipulating prices to suit themselves rather than the customer. Person I feel sorry for is the one at the bottom of the food chain – the minimum wage packer, the farmer losing money on milk, the small supplier trying to make a living.

    I shop online with Tescos and get a refund voucher 3 weeks out of 4. I’d suggest your 16% was very unusual. Mostly they work out around 1-2.5% and you will always be subject to a sudden change of pricing by a competitor. I agree though, it sends a bad message.

    However, throughout the year I receive other discounts that are not price matched, and the current petrol deal is fantastic. Collect your Tesco points and I am paying about £1.05 a litre in a high cost petrol area. The gain more than makes up for other failings.

    The only reason we chose Tescos for online is that the produce locally at least is far better from Tescos than other options. Now we are set up it must save us 2 hours a week on shopping which is substantial. However, Tescos can’t explain why from time to time they have several weeks when they simply can’t supply some pretty basic items – Andrex loo rolls in a particular colour or a specific size of Cornflakes package as examples. And then there are the Tuna and Smoked Mackerel pates that haven’t been available for months with no obvious substitute. It calls into question their whole supply chain, but are other supermarkets more consistent online?

  6. at one time tesco even bought gold their buying price was very poor even a one horse set up like ourselves could beat them on price offered it was great business saying to prospective customers check out tescos price and we will beat it

  7. strange how people manage their expectations…

    not two days ago you found out you were charged more than double for an item, and were more astounded at your own stupidity for not checking around, and accepted the fact you werent going to see that money back. that was fine

    today you’re not really overcharged, you picked a price you were happy with, they come forward to say “we done the checking for you and you would have saved £3 if you drove 25 miles to one certain store you were never ever going to drive to anyway, so here’s the £3 back”. and this is a major issue.

  8. “I wasn’t that happy with my 16% overcharge”

    That’s the problem customers now think they have been overcharged, when in fact they have got what they paid for.
    The supermarkets have dug a great big hole for themselves. They have setup a scenario and fed consumer a way of thinking and it is now backfiring.

    Customer thinking is often warped, in Scotland we now have to pay for carrier bags even in mccdonald’s. To me it makes no difference as I can remember paying for them as a kid, then the supermarkets started to give them away free. Of course some people now moan they have to pay for them lol
    And as a kid I remember there being old empty cardboard box’s available if you did not want to use bags. Now with the capitalist society we live in some shops do not make the boxes available so you have to buy bags

    Its the old ebay postage scenario. lol

  9. Years ago when I worked there, Tesco tills ued to have the facility to put a manual amount onto a department button, it was used when price reductions never used to have barcodes on them, so in the old days a supervisor could have just put 3 pence on Grocery and added it to the bill. But its probably not the same with the self checkouts.

  10. Sainsbury’s told me today that if I’d gone to shop at ASDA it would have cost me 3p more. Guess if I’m passing ASDA next time I need something I’ve absolutely no need to be loyal to Sainbury’s then seeing as 3p is neither here nor there!

    Somewhat amusing that Tesco wouldn’t let me write off 3p from their voucher but Sainsbury’s think that a 3p saving is so fantastic it’s worth shouting about!

  11. Sainsbury do the same as tesco by giving you the money off your next shop. Seems completely bonkers to me. Like you Chris, it puts me off shopping there in the future.


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