Tesco has been fined €600 for charging more for goods at the tills than the price displayed at the shelves. But much like you or I would be oblivious to a one cent piece at the back of a drawer of odds and ends, Tesco won’t miss this €600.
Ireland’s largest retailer was convicted for breaches of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 after an action was taken by the National Consumer Agency. The fine is a pittance, but at least it’s an embarrassing slap on the wrist to Tesco, right?
Not really. Tesco have massive buying power in Ireland, and a massive marketing budget to boot. The Tesco behemoth will brush off this tiny embarrassing gnat, which only got decent coverage in The Irish Times and thejournal.ie, and business as usual will resume.
In a dismissive statement, Tesco said: “It is our policy to have clear prices in place at all times. Across all our stores, we have 2.7 million price labels up every day; last year, the NCA found mistakes in 8 of these. This was as a result of human error during a time of major change in our stores. It should not have happened and we greatly regret it. Improvements have been made to our processes as a result.”
Except of course, it’s not an isolated incident. There’s a compelling book of evidence to show that Tesco – intentionally or not – regularly misleads its own customers:
- Earlier this year, Tesco significantly increased the prices of well-known products just weeks into the new year before reducing them as part of their latest promotion. This also happened in 2009.
- Cheapeats readers regularly complain that Tesco promotes a “special offer” on a product, when that product was recently sold at a cheaper price.
- Pricing errors are common; you need to be constantly vigilant against Tesco.
- Tesco have been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for displaying a special offer, not honouring it at the checkout, and then scribbling out the offer on the packs.
- Tesco’s 2009 “Change for Good” plan, which promised to match prices in Northern Ireland, did nothing of the sort.
- And let’s forget my personal favourite: when Tesco denied to the national media that it was putting up prices across the board following correspondence sent to this website.
I’m under no illusions that this post will make an impact on Tesco’s lucrative bottom line. The Irish Times is one of the few mainstream publications to consistently highlight swizzery at Tesco, and yet the supermarket’s profits continue to rocket. Both shoppers and producers will continue to be fleeced by them.
I’m quite baffled as to why, despite repeated evidence that Tesco cannot be trusted and are bad value, people flock there. But I may as well be the Skibbereen Eagle wagging my finger at the Russian Tzar.
So, I’m really interested: do you shop in Tesco, and if so, why?