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Tesco special offers past their Sell-by Date

Penny Brooks

13th February 2017

If you go into a Tesco store today, you are likely to find that all the staff are out on the shop floor checking their Special Offer labels on the shelves. They have been caught out by a BBC investigation, triggered when a BBC employee found that the price they had been charged at the till was higher than the price advertised on the shelf. The team from BBC's Inside Out decided to follow up with a series of filmed shopping trips to buy items labelled as special offers, and found that, at the till, they were paying a higher price in 33 out of 50 stores they visited.

This is a mistake that the Chartered Trading Standards Institute say could amount to breaking the law, which falls under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. When the discrepancy was pointed out to them, Tesco staff apparently always honoured the advertised price, saying that the store was too under-staffed for them to have kept up to date with the prices that the labels should have been showing.

The UK's biggest retailer has faced massive problems over the last couple of years, losing market share to Aldi and Lidl, forced into price wars, and facing shareholder pressure after a £6.4billion loss in 2015. Not surprisingly, one response has been to cut costs, and this is what the staff in stores suggest is to blame for the errors.

Whatever the cause, as Martin Fisher from the Trading Standards Institute says, stores will tend to get away with the mistake because "...Very few people remember [the price] from the shelf to the till, so complaints are extremely low". However, Tesco's spokesperson has said that they are very disappointed that the errors occurred and that it would be double checking the accuracy of the price labels at all its stores as a result of the BBC's investigation.

So if you want an out-of-date bargain, get down to your local store fast!

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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