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Misleading unit prices on Tesco’s website

Looking at the unit price of two different-sized items is helpful to work out which is cheapest, but it’s not so useful if those prices are wrong. That’s what has happened for a number of products on Tesco’s website.

We checked the price per kilo, per 100g or per 100ml on 127 products on the Tesco website – looking at types of foods where errors have been spotted in the past. We found a quarter were wrong. In some of those cases, trying to buy the ‘cheaper’ product according to the unit prices displayed would have led to you actually buying a more expensive item.

In some cases, products were listed as cheaper than they actually were. A 150g punnet of Tesco Finest Raspberries costing £3 was priced at £15/kg, but the actual cost was £20/kg. A 125g punnet of Tesco Organic Raspberries for £2.50 was displayed as costing £16.67/kg, instead of the correct price of £20/kg.

Strawberries were a baffling case – of two 400g punnets, the cheaper one was listed as having a higher unit price. 400g of Tesco British Strawberries costs £2, so is clearly pricier than 400g of Tesco Everyday Value Strawberries costing £1.75, but the former was listed at £5.72/kg and the latter at £5.84/kg. The correct unit prices were £5/kg and £4.38/kg, respectively.

We also found incorrect unit prices on cereals, mayonnaise and tinned fish.

Tesco must fix errors

We asked Tesco why there were so many errors, and how it calculated the unit prices on its website. It said:

‘We’re urgently addressing these technical issues and would like to reassure customers that no one would have been charged more than the item price for any product they’ve bought on tesco.com.’

Though supermarkets have committed to making unit pricing clearer, there’s no excuse for unit prices being completely wrong. We’ll be checking back to make sure that Tesco corrects these errors – and will take further action on this issue if they don’t.

Have you noticed incorrect unit prices on Tesco’s, or any other shop’s, website?

Comments
Member

I may have gone off road but I experienced a further example of Tesco’s ineptitude when I used a store receipt to get my discount off fuel when filling up at one of their outlets. The receipt stated that my savings were 5p off every litre but was told that the discount was only in 2p increments and I therefore only qualified for 4p off.
Bemused, I rang the relevant Tesco department and I was told that the 5p figure indicated that I was on my way to the higher discount of 6p but by how much would mean me totting up previous receipts to find how much more I needed to buy to reach the £50 qualifying amount.
Confused? I certainly was and the Tesco advisor apologised for the complexity of the offer and said I was not the only one who had questioned this misleading information on receipts. I afterwards read the T& C on their website where the offer needed the longest paragraph I have ever seen to explain the process.
Next to get to grips with the seasonal minefield of points, coupons and voucher ‘benefits’ which we lucky Clubcard members qualify for and which require a IQ of at least 140.
I wonder if the person responsible for all these surreal concepts is among those who have recently been asked to resign?

Member
Frances Clarke says:
4 March 2015

I order fairly regularly from Tesco online and over the years have occasionally had a pricing policy issue with the price quoted in the online store not being held when the food has been delivered. However, the bizarrest situation happened a week ago when my online order was as follows;
2 Tesco Courgettes Loose £0.50 £1.00
1 Tesco Charlotte Potatoes 1Kg £1.00 £1.00
2 Tesco Low Calorie Indian Tonic Water With Lemon 1Ltr £0.45 £0.90
4 Tesco Everyday Value Unsweetened Soya Drink 1 Litre £0.65 £2.60
2 Tesco Meat Free Vegetarian Mince 454G £1.75 £3.50
1 Counter Salmon Side £10.00 £10.00
3 Tesco Everyday Value Noodles Spice Curry Flavoured 70G £0.35 £1.05
1 Tesco Boneless Sea Bass Fillets £5.76 £5.76
1 Tesco Everyday Value Bananas Min 8 Pack £1.15 £1.15
2 Tesco Aubergine Each £0.75 £1.50
1 Yutaka Tofu 349G £1.59 £1.59
1 Tesco Everyday Value Italian Style Hard Cheese 200G £2.30 £2.30
2 Tesco Meat Free Meat Style Balls 400G £1.75 £3.50
1 Tesco Everyday Value Closed Cup Mushrooms 350G £0.79 £0.79
2 Tesco Meat Free Beef Style Strips 300G £1.75 £3.50
1 Tesco Meat Free Thai Green Curry 1Kg £3.00 £3.00
1 Linda Mccartney 2 Vegetarian Deep Dish Country Pies 380G £2.00 £2.00
Total: £46.59 and no substitutions requested.
Upon delivery, when I looked at the bill presented with the food, and started to unpack, I had been charged £19.30 for salmon which should have cost £10, and £1.53 for courgettes which should have been £1.00 or thereabouts as loose, but was charged £1.53.
I rang Tescos and have received a refund for the difference on the salmon, but not for the courgettes as yet, but this was a £10 overcharge on an account which should have cost £46.59!!
Also, with my previous order to this one, I ordered some sea bass but it wasn’t delivered. I did get a refund, after I brought it to their attention, but essentially Tescos, this is nothing short of theft in my opinion and countless others are probably being ripped off as well.

Member
Joe Godfrey says:
21 August 2015

I notified Tesco that loose bananas were displayed at 12p on 26-July-2015 however they were 12.25p and an adviser said they would give me a £1 voucher, still to receive.So later in the month I have another camp for Scouts and the price still chops of the fractions and no change other than perhaps today, 20/8/15 they may have tweaked the price to 12.23p, why can I tell? because I have another scout camp and my spreadsheet does not add up, bunch of plonkers. I recall a person or more who scamed companys for lots by taking pennys in each small transaction. Tesco phone staff were oblivious to this kind of crime.

Since then I have found red onions at 18p but they are NOT since ~£0.1775 seems to be what they are actually being sold at on their website, why not display that, it only requires two other digits and they are being honest

Ok now really wasting my time Carrots loose 8p each, hmm no probably 7.75p each?

This has wasted my time at £80ph and I will send a bill to Tesco.

They now seemed to have adjusted the loose bananas to £0.1223 but they are not answering the phone now…

I still have a few hours of completing my basket and will be annoyed be persistent messages about keeping my slot which I booked, again £80ph will be invoiced which is good value.

Member

It pays to Be Prepared.

Member

Joe, I think you’re worth more than £80 an hour – £80.027 would be more appropriate. I think, judging by Which?’s lack of confidence in British people’s ability to do maths, pricing something to four decimal places would defeat them. Presumable the bananas, carrots and onions are all slightly different sizes, so some would be better value than others. And you can’t pick out the biggest ones on the website like you could in the shop. It’s a tough life. Do you still make Modge at camp?

Member

Let’s not get obsessive-compulsive about 0.0001p errors which will understandably lead to the shutters going down on communications with supermarkets. I dislike the .99p psychology that permeates the retail industry and I always round up the price in my mind. Keeping pricing clear and plain is the way forward to avoiding misleading customers and creating trust.

Member
Jessica says:
14 November 2015

I just compared Tesco online prices of own brand oranges (1.50 per bag) and Jaffa oranges on sale (1.85, two bags for 2.50). The unit price given for the Jaffa oranges is based on the sale price, not on the unit price for oranges in a single bag.

Member

The choice of units matters. 100 gram or 100 ml pricing can often be rounded to only 1 decimal place, then when it is multiplied up to the kg or Litre any rounding down is multiplied by 10 thus causing an overcharge.
If I buy say a 10 litre pack of coke and the item price per 100ml had been rounded down by 0.049p per 100ml which is = 0.49p /Litre, then that rounding down is multiplied by the pack volume to almost 5p overcharge.
That is not a significant overcharge per customer, but it may become a significant fraud if considered over the total volume sold in uk.