/ Shopping, Technology

Tesco – I can call, I can write, so why can’t I email you?

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?

Comments
Tim Musson says:
5 December 2011

For some reason large organisations seem to think they are above the law. I once received a phishing email purporting to be from EasyJet. I thought I’d be helpful and let them know about it. So I went to their website and looked for en email address. All I could find was a contact form – I can’t remember the precise details, but there was no sensible way I could send this information through the contact form. It was set up to take very precise categories of information and nothing else.

Good article – keep fighting for this!!

The financial outfits I’ve dealt with usually have a section that dealt with
all other matters not falling within their defined categories.

Its funny that some organisations insist on instructions in writing “for security or data protection reasons so we can be sure they are genuine” even when they have no validated signature to check the letters one against.
A letter is completely untraceable and is easy for anyone to forge or produce , at least with an email there may be some traces of the actual sender available and you do need some skills to cover your tracks..

I did manage to contact Tesco Customer Services a while ago by email, but I seem to recall it not being easy!
I also bought a network drive lately, and it was really quite difficult to set it up. I did not find out that there was no telephone support from Synology till it was far to late to take the item back to the shop!

I cannot find an email address for Tesco credit card enquiries, but here is a page with showing other Tesco contact email addresses. I cannot find a link to this page on their website.

http://www.tesco.com/contact.htm

My biggest frustration is companies that provide a Web-based form for messages, rather than providing an email address.

With Web-based forms it there is no easy way to keep a copy of the message. Even if you know how to keep a copy you have to remember to do this (I tend to forget) and it is much less convenient than having it in your sent mail box.

I can understand why companies use Web-based forms but they are only thinking of their own convenience and not that of the customer.

Web-based forms reduce the amount of SPAM generated when email addresses are harvested.
However a “send me a copy” facility would I agree be useful.

Absolutely, but not many organisations think of that, even though the form may ask for an email address. Automatic harvesting of email addresses can be prevented, for example by putting them in as images.

Phil says:
5 December 2011

My experience is that if you need to complain a letter is more likely to get a response than an e-mail so I wouldn’t get too excited.

I find that many organisations that do provide an e-mail address nevertheless insist that complaints are handled only via hard-copy letter sent to a postal address. This is clearly a policy to discourage customers from complaining by making it cumbersome and inconvenient to do so.

Ronnie C says:
6 December 2011

Not directly relevant to e-mail experience. However, I have had similar problems with contacting Tesco bank as a result of bogus account set up in my name. Could not contact by e-mail since I hadn’t set up the account. Had to repeatedly call on a premium rate line despite having asked for a direct dial number and been informed that there wasn’t one then later being given one.
Have had the diametrically opposite problem with Virgin when I wanted to put my complaint in writing, I was informed that I could only do so by phone or by e-mail. Short of writng to Sir Richard himself, there is no customer contract address on any of their documentation that I can find.

If enough people contact the webmaster Virgin might realise the need to do something about this:

webmaster@virgin.com

Just had the same problem with Debenhams after an online purchase I ordered failed to turn up. Their ‘contact us’ page for online ordering gives the option of an 0844 number or a postal address. I replied to the original email that they sent when I placed the order in the hope that that would work, but no response so I’m guessing it’s not a monitored email account. Frustrating!

Hmmm. Will someone explain to Debenhams that a Web-based form is not email, and that it should not need detective work to find how to get in touch.

I prefer to write a letter – I have heard too many cases of e-mails being forwarded without consent by recipients and of multiple blind-copies being circulated by senders. That is less likely to happen with a proper letter. E-mail proliferation and spamming are bringing the whole internet into disrepute, largely because of the “desire” [fostered by “social networking” etc] to share everything with everybody.
Slightly off-topic perhaps, but this conversation has made me think how naive some companies are – they still haven’t made a list of the names of all the Which? researchers and editors on this website in order to ensure that their customer service response is nuanced and tuned to ensure favourable outcomes when Which? staffers contact them. Every time a Which? writer says something in their own name a bell should ring in head office.

Had an exchange of emails with Tesco customer services that
concluded two years ago… for top Honcho guy, can do by
slo-mail only……

Cath Barratt says:
8 December 2011

I also have an issue and I need to inform Tesco Credit Card of an illegal transaction that has left me £210 out of pocket plus a £12 charge!
Unfortunately for me today of all days the weather is Scotland is awful and the staff have been allowed to leave early – the customer helpline is based in Scotland. However, I have managed to speak with an employee of the company who have benefitted from my misfortune so hopefully I may be able to have my problem addressed tomorrow.
so much for 24/7 and reporting a problem immediately.
Not impressed.

Michelle G says:
21 December 2011

I’ve had a similar problem with an illegal transaction. I’ve tried to report it but their I/V phone system is not working today. You get all the way through the interactive menu and then eventually get a message saying they are experiencing technical difficulties. Luckily I’m using the 0800 number from saynoto0870 to contact them, but I’d like to email them to let them know.

Keelymac83 says:
12 April 2013

tried this, got email sayig they cannot contact bank on our behalf.

Michelle G says:
21 December 2011

Thanks for the reply. I saw the email address higher up the thread and emailed them just in case there were any more illegal transactions – at least I had a record of when I notified them. However, I finally got through on the phone this afternoon and hopefully it is sorted. Worryingly, the number that was out of action was the same number as I would have had to use to notify of a lost or stolen credit card.

nikki

good article

agree most communications need documenting as telcons etc give too much wriggle room.

emails are fast, clear, self documenting and give lay people space to consider the issues , think and reflect.

most of us are no match for the trained professionals staffing the (expensive and tardy) telephone call centres.

how often do we think later we didnt get the right outcome?

one simple reason these companies dont do email is cost – they would have to setup email centres and they would have to provide better service which means better outcomes for customers and reduces their profits.

i had a long dispute with birmingham city council ( who do do emails) .
it took several months even by email and would have been impossible by post and very disadvantageous by ‘phone.

tesco have recently admitted their customer service needs to be better – perhaps you could encourage them to encompass emails.

Jim Maas says:
20 March 2012

As of today, still no email address or even a mailing address on their website so only way to contact them is by a chargeable phone number. Just legalized theft really!

Has anyone else found an email address or mailing address?

Thanks

Jim

Tim has provided an email address in an earlier post. I’ve used this a few years ago.

The mailing address is on the back of every receipt. There’s plenty of them on the ground near any Tesco store, so no purchase is necessary.

Jo says:
21 May 2012

Still on hold with tesco for 45 minutes now, problem with my card refusal so worried about fraud but still cant get through, as no email do I write and take the risk of unauthorised use of my card which will be down to them i assume.

jo

try 0800 406050 ( free from landline ) or 01268 508027 (cheaper than 084x/087x)

Jim Maas says:
22 May 2012

Nikki,

thanks for the suggestion, Tesco might say that. I emailed them weeks ago, still now response! I think they have no intention whatsoever to answer any emails.

J

MessyJess says:
24 May 2012

Tesco have just updated their credit card website. Still no email address. The new site is unable to provide me with recent transactions and has forgotten my debit card. As the site was a new format and didn’t have current information I didn’t want to give it debit card details without some form of verification that it wasn’t a phishing site. After 25 minutes on hold, racking up the bill, it was answered by someone who told me they were to busy to answer my questions and would ring back. They didn’t ring back. I don’t want to repeat this experience, so I guess it is pen and paper time.

alf stone says:
10 June 2012

Just had the same experience as Jess and I had to ring and pay my bill over the phone. The young lady was helpful with the payment but when I complained about the website she clammed up, I suspect they know about the problems and have told their staff to say nowt. A snail mail has been written and will wing its way to them first thing tomorrow. The most annoying thing was that the notice telling me of the changes insisted that it would benefit the customers.

Joe says:
27 June 2012

I looked up a couple of the top dogs by searching for the CEO on google, Philip Clarke and Benny Higgins were the first names i found so i guessed e mail addresses using @tesco.com, @tescobank.com and putting a . between the names. Low and behold, within a couple of hours I received a reply from the CEO complaints team to advise they have been asked to investigate my complaint on behalf of both Philip Clarke and Benny Higgins.

The e mail came from Tbexbankcomp@i.tescobank.com

Not an easy address to guess but one to save if you need it!

My complaint was closed within a day by these guys, good luck with yours…

I just used this email address…will see what happens ! Lol