Tesco has been fined £300,000 for a misleading special offer on strawberries – our research and your input have helped with this case. Have you spotted any similarly misleading supermarket special offers?
In November 2011 we published an article about misleading special offers – including a Tesco strawberry offer. The discounted strawberries were £2.99 or £1.99 for the 12 weeks we monitored the price, and yet we never managed to buy them at the ‘full price’ of £3.99.
Birmingham Trading Standards were tipped off to the dodgy offer by Daphne Smallman. Trading Standards then asked us for the evidence we had collected. We submitted a witness statement with the receipts and packaging we had collected and Birmingham Trading Standards went on to successfully prosecute Tesco.
The court ruled that the offer was misleading as it ran for 14 weeks, whereas the higher price was available for a much shorter length of time. You can read Tesco’s reaction to the fine in our news story.
A victory for the late Daphne Smallman
Daphne, who tipped off Trading Standards, shared the offer with us on Which? Convo at the time in 2011:
‘I have been purchasing Tesco’s strawberries throughout the summer season at £3.99 – half price £1.99. Irrespective of whether they were ever on offer at £3.99, or for how long, I feel it wrong that at the height of the strawberry season, when supplies were plentiful and prices much lower, they were still stating the basic price to be £3.99. If, at the height of the strawberry season they were still buying at price of £3.99, surely they were buying in the wrong market or they needed to replace their marketing manager!! The price would not have remained at £3.99 when strawberries were in season and plentiful.
‘I did take this matter up with Trading Standards and they were looking into it but don’t know if they got anywhere with it.’
Sadly, Daphne didn’t get to see the victory as she has since passed away. However, a number of you have already paid homage to her in our previous post.
A victory for all UK consumers
We’ll continue to fight on her behalf and all consumers to ensure that special offers really are special.
We hope that Tesco’s hefty fine will act as a wake up call to other supermarkets – they need to commit to simple prices and not mislead shoppers with dodgy promotions.
Have you seen any misleading supermarket special offers recently? What more do you think should be done to ensure supermarkets play fair?