If you shop for food online, you’ve probably had to deal with ‘substitutions’. But what happens if the substitutions are just smaller versions of the products you asked for, while the prices stay the same?
I like to do the bulk of my food shopping online, and most of the time it’s straightforward and hassle-free. But I was recently unimpressed when, as part of Which? research into online shopping, Tesco sent me smaller versions of several products I’d ordered.
I received a 900ml tub of Carte D’Or Light Vanilla ice cream instead of the one-litre tub I ordered; a 330ml pack of Magnum ice creams instead of 360ml; and a 592ml bottle of Ariel Excel Gel with Febreze in place of the 667ml bottle.
I could even have forgiven Tesco if it had informed me that I was getting smaller packs for the same price. But neither the receipt nor the delivery man made any mention of these changes.
Easy to miss errors like this
When we asked Tesco why this had happened, it told us:
‘Our suppliers are required to inform us of changes to their products, so that we can update our customers. We are sorry that this hasn’t happened in a small number of cases, and are reminding all our suppliers of their obligations.’
My research may well have unearthed an isolated incident, but unless you check your groceries against your receipt immediately – which is almost impossible to do, as in my experience drivers are keen to drop shopping off as quickly as possible – there’s no way to spot this kind of error until it’s too late.
It can also be difficult to keep track of shrinking products, as many don’t display clear unit pricing. With no standard way to compare products by weight, it can be easy to miss when your favourite ice cream suddenly gets a bit lighter in your shopping bag.
Do you always carefully check your receipt when you do food shopping online? And have you spotted size discrepancies in the products you’ve ordered?