Does anyone else hate it when a company insists you contact them by letter or phone, rather than email? If you do, then my search for an email address to contact Tesco Credit Cards may cause extreme distress.
So I had a small problem with my Tesco credit card, and I needed to get in touch with them to sort it out.
Working for Which?, I know it’s usually easier to get things in writing in case you need to refer to your discussions at a later date. So, I went to the contact page of their website to find an email address.
I was surprised to find there wasn’t one – not even a contact form – just a postal address and a phone number. This struck me as odd – I applied for the card online and I manage my account online, so why can’t I contact Tesco online? A bit of digging found their Twitter account, so I tweeted asking for an email address.
Their answer? They couldn’t give me an email address for ‘data protection reasons’.
Am I getting too personal?
I was completely nonplussed. For a start, I see no reason why sending them an email would be a breach of data protection. Is their email address extremely personal to them? Should it not be in the public domain?
Furthermore, I was horrified that even though I could apply for a credit card, pay the balance and change my direct debit details online, I couldn’t drop them a quick email to ask them to fix a simple problem.
I got in touch with Tesco, and here’s what their spokesperson had to say:
‘At present, credit card customers can’t contact us by email. We ask customers to contact us by phone or in writing as this allows us to confirm their identity by asking them to provide their unique security credentials or signature.’
I’m afraid that, to me, that’s just not good enough. I spoke to someone at the Office of Fair Trading who pointed me to the European e-commerce regulations which state that a company selling goods and services online must provide an email address. This, apparently, includes companies who sell financial products, such as credit cards.
No, I don’t want your phone number
I also spoke to our in-house lawyer, Chris Warner, and here’s what he had to say:
‘If a website provides or enables you to purchase a service, the e-commerce regulations mean an email address must be provided. As you can apply for a Tesco Credit Card online, and you’ll be told straight away if your application has been successful, I think Tesco needs to include a contact email on its site.’
We’ve been in touch with Tesco on this matter, and I’m hoping that very soon we’ll see a handy email address displayed prominently on their contact page. Customers should be able to get in touch with them quickly and efficiently – without having to rack up a phone bill or faff around at the post office.
But, in the meantime, I’d like to know whether you’ve also struggled to track down a company’s email address.
When I raged about this in the office, Which? Convo editor Hannah Jolliffe pointed out that she’d spent a long time trying to find an email address for McAfee – they did have one, but it was buried deep in their website in a way that suggests they’d rather not receive any emails. Have you had similar frustrations?