Tesco shows that it pays to complain. What are my legal rights as a customer?

Tesco shows that it pays to complain. What are my legal rights as a customer?

Yorkshire man Jonny Spencer got a free blender from Tesco after complaining about being short changed in their "2 for £2" drinks deal. This complaint (and Tesco's witty banter) has become an internet sensation.

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Jonny was distraught when his local Tesco Express in Scissett charged him £2.58 Mars bar milkshake drink and his Volvic water came to £2.58. This was because there was a sign up promoting a "2 for £2" deal, which he thought meant any two drinks. However, when he complained to staff at the till, they pointed out the small print on the sign, which stated that you could only get "2 for £2" on the same line of drinks (e.g. 2 types of water or 2 types of milkshake, rather than mixing and matching). He vented his frustration on the Tesco Facebook page, stating, "How dare you try to scam a Yorkshire man!". He even said that the promotion on the milkshakes in particular made Tesco "responsible for the increasing number of ADHD diagnosis in children" – a light-hearted comment that should be taken in that particular context.

Tesco's customer adviser representative, Jamie responded to his complaint on Facebook. He said, "As I understand it, both products are currently on a 2 for £2 offer, so you can buy two Mars milkshakes for £2 or 2 Volvic waters for £2. Sadly, this is a coincidence and doesn't allow for them to be mixed and matched". To compensate for Mr Spencer's dissatisfaction, he agreed to "send something in the post to apologise". Jonny ended up with a brand spanking new blender! However, his efforts to gain some free Clubcard points so he could buy milk and chocolate to whisk in his blender did not succeed – perhaps he was pushing his luck a bit! Clearly Tesco know how to do good customer service. You can read their witty exchanges (including Top Gun references to Goose and Maverick).

What are my legal rights as a customer?

From a dispute over 58p (as Jonny had) to £5.80, you have various legal rights as a customer. This is because when you buy something you are effectively entering into a contract with the seller. The seller has certain obligations that they must fulfil. These are known as statutory rights. When you buy goods, they must be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and durable. Clearly Tesco fulfilled the brief on these fronts – although Jonny paid a little more than expected, there was nothing wrong as regards the quality and description of the goods.

Where Tesco went wrong was the small print on their signs. The fact that the promotion covered two different lines rather than one product line ( a standard drink ) should have been made clearer. As Tesco stated, it was a coincidence and they will make the signs clearer in future.

If you do have an issue, make sure that you complain as soon as you are aware. Not complaining in a timely manner can sometimes mean you may lose your rights. Shops do vary, but generally you have a fixed time period from date of purchase in which to return your goods. Alternatively, you can complain at point of purchase regarding an overcharge like Jonny did in the example above.

Unfortunately with offers, it can be a case of "buyer beware" and you must always make sure you read the small print! If you fail to do so, as Jonny did in his jaunt to Tesco, make sure you have your voice heard on social media – you may even get a freebie out of it!

UK Consumer Rights

To find out more about your consumer rights please read our handy Unlock the Law guides below.

Related: UK Consumer Rights Guides

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