Supermarkets and customers love ‘25% off wine for 6 bottles or more’ offers but where do you stand when not all six arrive.
When a This is Money reader wrote in after Sainsbury’s failed to deliver a bottle and she ended up £7.44 out of pocket, the Consumer Fightback column stepped in.
When a grocery delivery arrives and items are missing there’s not much you can do, but what if the missing object means that you miss out on a promotion?
Sometimes it is the principle of the thing. It really is.
I hear a lot of reasons for people not complaining to companies when something goes wrong. This can be because it is too time consuming, people don’t know their legal rights, they get fobbed off or the amount just seems too small.
But the trouble with this last excuse is that if that same issue is experienced by many customers then shouldn’t the business know what’s going on?
Don’t we owe it to the business to put matters right for them and for us? And also, if they do know, then isn’t it right that the issue should be highlighted?
When I took Tesco to court a few years ago about £40 of double-up vouchers (and won, obviously) I was contacted by numerous people who had encountered the same issue and were left out of pocket.
When I told the judge I was standing up for the general public he smiled and said ‘Good for you’ and awarded me the full amount, including the fees and goodwill gesture that Tesco had also refused to pay, despite saying it would.
This story is in a similar vein.
Many of us love the supermarket ‘25% off wine for 6 bottles or more’ offers, don’t we?
This is Money reader, Alison, thought she had lost out on the discount of Prosecco and wine that she had bought due to Sainsbury’s only sending 5, so she contacted me for advice.
Bear with me, as this took some working out.
She ordered three bottles of Canti Prosecco 75cl at £6.50 and three bottles of Pinot Grigio at £5.75 a bottle. This was therefore six bottles in total. At the time of delivery the ‘25% off 6 bottles or more’ offer was running. This meant that she was quoted £14.62 for the Prosecco and £12.94 for the bottles of Pinot Grigio. The total was £27.66.
However, when the delivery arrived it contained only two bottles of a different Prosecco and three bottles of the Pinot Grigio. The sixth bottle was missing.
Sainsbury’s Substitution Promise Terms and Conditions state ‘If goods are out of stock or otherwise unavailable we’ll offer substitutes wherever we can unless you’ve asked us not to.’
She had not opted out of substitutions. She was charged full price for the five bottles which did arrive. This was NOT pointed out at the point of delivery.
Alison was charged a total of £29.75. So, she was charged the full price for the two bottles of Prosecco (£12.50) because the full price of the substitution was £6.25 a bottle. However, this should have been £9.37 had the 25 per cent discount been applied, a difference of £3.13.
The Pinot Grigio was charged at £17.25. Had the discount been applied this would have been £12.94, a difference of £4.31.
The total saving from the offer should have been £7.44, a discount which should have been applied. She was not offered a substitution when wine must have been available and the discount was not honoured.
I think it unlikely that there were only two bottles left from two different types of Prosecco, considering all the Prosecco Sainsbury’s sells?
So, I helped Alison with drafting her email of complaint which outlined the facts above and the apparent breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, for not providing services with reasonable skill and care.
Alison received an apology and refund of the £7.44. No explanation was given of how this happened. It was a quite standard email:
‘Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry that due to wine being substituted you missed out on the 25% off promotion.
‘We hate to disappoint our customers and know how frustrating it is when you can’t get something you want. I appreciate that the wine we delivered meant that your order didn’t meet the terms and conditions of the wine promotion and as a result you did not benefit from the discount and I’m keen to put this right.
‘I understand our colleagues didn’t get it right for you on this occasion and I’ve shared these details with our store management team, who can remind colleagues of picking suitable substitutions for our customers. I’ve popped a £7.44 evoucher into your voucher wallet to refund the price difference of the wine you received.
‘Thanks for taking the time to get in touch, we rely on our customers to let us know when things like this happen and I hope you have a great day.’
I contacted Sainsbury’s Press Office for a statement on the issue to find out what should happen in this instance. A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said:
‘If any items in a customer’s groceries online order are unavailable, our colleagues are trained to offer suitable alternatives through our substitutions service.
‘We understand this process was not followed when we prepared Mrs L’s order and we have apologised for the inconvenience this caused. As a gesture of goodwill, we have arranged for her to receive an e-voucher which reimburses her for the saving she should have made with our Buy 6 promotion.
‘We’re also investigating Mrs L’s experience with the store so that we can prevent this from happening in the future.’
I pointed out that the refund was what she was legally due and not goodwill and asked why Sainsbury’s didn’t provide a goodwill gesture in light of the inconvenience.
They then offered Alison a goodwill gesture of £30 on top of the refund. When asked why it took contacting the press office to get this they commented: ‘Our care line team reviewed Mrs L’s case when we brought it to their attention. They recognised her experience did not reflect the high standard of service our customers rightly expect and so in addition to the reimbursement we offered to provide a gesture of goodwill.’
Yes, it’s not a great deal of money but remember, it’s the principle of the thing. If you have been left out of pocket through no fault of your own, challenge it.And, if you need assistance, with anything, whether it’s a few pounds or thousands of pounds, the principle and usually the method are the same.
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