Tesco Clubcard pricing 'could be breaking the law', warns Which?

The consumer group said it has reported the supermarket giant to the UK competition watchdog, but Tesco has hit back at the “ill-founded claims”.

Tesco’s “confusing” pricing on Clubcard promotions “could be breaking the law”, Which? has claimed.

The consumer group has reported the supermarket to the UK competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), for not including unit pricing – such as the cost per 100g – on products with Clubcard promotions.

Unit prices can be used by shoppers in stores and online to compare the amount they are paying for products.

The supermarket added it is “disappointed” by the “ill-founded claims” by Which?

How does a Tesco Clubcard work?

Shoppers with a Clubcard collect points every time they spend money with Tesco – 500 Clubcard points, would typically be worth £5 to spend in the shop.

Consumers can use their Clubcard points for discounts instore – these are the Clubcard Prices shown by a yellow label.

Could excluding unit pricing ‘mislead’ customers?

Which? says not to displaying unit pricing on some offers could be “misleading” under the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

They used the following example.

Heinz ketchup / Credit: PA
  • The standard price for Heinz tomato ketchup in Tesco costs £3.90 (or 55.7p per 100g) for a 700g bottle.
  • The Clubcard price for the same battle is labelled £3.50, with no explanation of the unit price, which would be 50p per 100g.
  • A 910g bottle of exactly the same ketchup is £3.99 standard price, or 43.8p per 100g.

Sue Davies, Which? head of food policy, said: “Tesco’s unclear Clubcard pricing is at best confusing for shoppers struggling with soaring food inflation and at worst, could be breaking the law.”

The consumer group wants Tesco to introduce unit pricing on Clubcard Prices as soon as possible.

How has Tesco responded to the allegations?

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We always take care to ensure we are compliant which is why we asked Trading Standards to review our approach on Clubcard Prices.

“They formally endorsed our labelling, confirming it meets the current legal requirements and guidelines.

“Given that we are complying with all the current rules, we are disappointed that Which? has chosen to make these ill-founded claims against our Clubcard Prices scheme, which helps millions of households get great value week-in, week-out, and could save shoppers up to £351 per year.”

A spokeswoman for regulator CMA said: “Our current review of unit pricing is considering the issue of how supermarkets provide unit price information for products on promotions, including loyalty promotions. We will set out our findings in July”.

What are the latest changes to the Clubcard scheme?

Rewards value slashed

In less than a fortnight the value of Tesco’s Clubcard rewards will be slashed.

Previously the points were worth three times their value when customers cashed them in.

From June 14 Clubcard points will only be worth be twice their value.

The Clubcard rewards can be spent at over one hundred retailers, attractions and other hospitality industry services are part of the loyalty scheme, including Legoland, Hotels.com, Cineworld and Pizza Express, these are known as ‘reward partners’.

The end of paper vouchers

Tesco stopped sending Clubcard vouchers or paper statements through the post from May 5.

Customers can opt-in for physical coupons by signing in to their MyClubcard account online, and clicking on “statement preferences”.

New app

In April, Tesco’s existing Clubcard app closed down and was replaced with a new Clubcard and Grocery app.

Customers needed to download the new app to continue earning points as they shop. They can also continue to use their physical Clubcard.

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