Here at Which? Convo we’ve often talked about special offers that aren’t what they seem. But how about the deals that you order online for a snip, then turn up with a price tag that’s higher than you expected?
I’ve often lauded the benefits of online supermarket shopping – the lack of queues, the convenience and the fact that you might save a bit of money as you’re not so easily tempted or distracted by other ‘goodies’ or ‘bargains’ as you wander around the aisles.
But it does have drawbacks – the famous substitutions, missing items, and now, it appears, the annoying phenomenon of having to pay full price for stuff you ordered on special offer.
Why? Because the offer expires before you get it delivered.
We’ve recently had contact from a disgruntled customer who ordered 12 bottles of wine and 12 bottles of Prosecco from Sainsbury’s for a Christmas party. The wine was on a good deal – buy six bottles and get 20% off. So imagine her surprise when her order turned up almost a week later – charged at the full price!
Special offers expire
It turned out that she should have clicked on the ‘special offer’ icon next to the product to find out that the offer would actually expire before her delivery.
Now, having had a play on the site myself, you have to be ultra-vigilant and check your bill to find this out. At no other point does it notify you, even when you type in those credit card details. And in any case, if you’re just rattling off your shopping and are happy with the final total, why would you check each item if you trust what’s on the screen?
Some online supermarkets are more helpful than others in this regard. Tesco, for example, will flash a screen up right before you pay to let you know if your offer will expire before your delivery date. It then gives you the option to remove your products or change the delivery so you can still benefit from the deal.
Supermarkets – make it simple
But surely it would be less confusing if supermarkets honoured the offer when you order it, regardless of the expiry before certain delivery times? If it’s featured on the site then you can get the deal. If it’s not, you can’t. Seems simple to me – and a lot easier for shoppers who choose online for an easier shop, not one where you’re having to check all sorts of catches before you start?
Have you taken advantage of an online supermarket’s special offer only to be stung when it’s delivered? Did you pay the full price or send it back? Which supermarkets are the best at letting you know in your opinion?