Tesco in Price Crackdown After Undercover Investigation Reveals Widespread Short-Changing

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14 Feb 2017 --- A secret shopper-style investigation by the BBC has unveiled shoppers are being overcharged by out-of-date offers, some of which have been wrongly displayed on the shelves for days, if not weeks. 

An undercover reporter for the BBC’s Inside Out visited 50 stores around the country over three months. In 33 supermarkets, multi-buy promotions that were marked down on the shelves had actually expired and the discounts were not applied at the tills. 

The BBC investigation started after a member of staff noticed discrepancies in receipts. According to the BBC, some of the multi-buy deals on display were days and in some cases, weeks old. 

The BBC has reported some examples of how its reporter was overcharged. They include Rustlers Chicken Sub: Offer price - Two for £3 (original price £2.31 each) Price paid at till - £4.62; Schwartz Barbecue Sauce Mix: Offer price - Two for £1 (original price 85p each) Price paid at till - £1.70; Old El Paso Guacamole: Offer price - Two for £2.50 (original price £2.09 each) Price paid at till - £4.18.

In every case where the discrepancy was brought to the attention of Tesco staff, they honored the offer. 

The BBC reports one of the worst examples was at a Birmingham Tesco Express store where staff failed to remove labels showing produce at a discount when the promotion had expired. The reporter had pointed this out to staff but one month later the labels were still showing produce on offer.

The short-changing story has caused a stir since it was aired on the Inside Out program last night (February 13) with some claiming the Tesco mistake could amount to breaching The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  

The retail giant has now pledged to review pricing at 3,500 stores up and down the UK as shoppers start to question just how widespread the short-changing has been. 

In a statement sent to FoodIngredientsFirst, a Tesco spokesperson says: “We are extremely disappointed with these findings and would like to apologise unreservedly to our customers for these errors. It’s really important to us that we offer clear and accurate price labels for all our customers, and we have since conducted a comprehensive and detailed review of our processes in store, including double-checking every price label to make sure they’re correct.”

“Where pricing errors have been brought to our attention we have honored the lower price and refunded customers.”

“Actions taken following Inside Out investigation include; We are double-checking the accuracy of the price labels in all our stores; We have asked all colleagues to re-focus on ensuring price label routines are always followed and a Duty Manager will now attend all price labelling complaints to make sure we act immediately.”

by Gaynor Selby

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